Our initial idea is to open a Texas Pie Kitchen storefront as a small non-profit business in a low-income neighborhood in the Rundberg/I-35 area of Austin. The Pie Kitchen will be an investment in the surrounding community enabling economic growth, offering job training and opportunity to those with barriers to employment. In the meantime, we share and sell our pies throughout the Austin area working to establish a diverse client base. So, when it comes time to open up the storefront it will serve to bring together people from all over Austin. In keeping with the world-renowned Austin tradition of live music, we will draw on a rich, regional musical heritage by featuring in-store performances from a range of artists as diverse as our client base.
It all started back in 2000 at Waterloo Records down on 6th and Lamar. While in graduate school I was working at Waterloo for a little extra cash and for the perks of a record store job – discounted CDs, free tickets to shows, and the occasional run-in with stars like Lyle Lovett and Willie Nelson, as they sometimes signed autographs after playing an in-store show at the store.
When I heard that my favorite, Lyle Lovett, was coming to do an in-store performance and realized I’d get the chance to meet him, I thought to myself, “I bet Lyle would like a homemade pecan pie.” I’m not sure why I thought he’d like pie, but I made a pecan pie and stood in line for the autographs and presented the pie to him and he generously responded by saying, “Thanks for the pie, Jen.”
A few weeks later Willie Nelson came to the store to do an in-store and my co-workers said that if Lyle got a pie, then I had to make one for Willie too! Soon after that it was a coworker’s birthday and I brought them a pecan pie. After eating the pie, someone said that I should try and sell them. And, thus, became the Texas Pie Kitchen.
I took orders and started making pies – first for Waterloo employees, then to those at my other jobs such as Austin Resource Center for the Homeless and Caritas. As I moved around a bit in the past five years I’ve made pies and sold them in Houston and Knoxville, TN, but Austin has always enthusiastically welcomed the Pie Kitchen and Waterloo Records employees have been some of the most faithful customers.