When Hoosier Mama Pie Co. opened in 2009, owners Paula Haney and Craig Siegelin always planned to expand and offer more than one window booth inside their West Town bakery. Now eight years later, Hoosier Mama is poised to finally open their new coffee bar where they’ll serve savory pies and more at 1618 W. Chicago Ave. They’ve torn down the east wall to add two more window booths and could open as early as Saturday, pending city inspections.
The room was dedicated Hoosier Mama office space. Siegelin built the new display case for the pies and the counter — everything except the electric and floor work, said Haney. Customers can enjoy a snack or pick up a pastry and coffee before they dash off the work. Siegelin said they’ll offer two to four savoy pies every day in flavors including chicken pot and pork apple sage. Customers can see the offerings via a new menu board that hangs over the coffee bar. They’ve also shifted the layout of the existing space. The old table, to the left of the register, is gone and replaced with counter seating.
Hoosier Mama co-head baker Ursula Siker, the mind behind Hoosier Mama’s limited-edition Malört pie, has been working on other new items with her team. They’ll have more cookies including throwback pinwheels. Most Chicagoans are familiar with the cookies made by Maurice Lennell, the Northwest Side bakery that relocated to Indiana and stopped production in 2015. Hoosier Mama’s pinwheels are bigger and don’t offer the same red food dye as Lennell’s. Haney said growing up that her mother forbid her from eating Lenell’s cookies, as she feared any chemicals in the food coloring.
Siker said the extra room has afforded her bakers and extra station and they’ve got more menu idea. Siker has created a savory ham and cheese galette with stone-ground mustard, and Hoosier Mama will also sell a potato and rosemary variety. Siker said they’ll offer a commuter special consisting of a baked good and cup of Metropolis Coffee. The coffee bar is a big deal, as Hoosier Mama used to only offer drip coffees. They’ve brought on Joaquin Castro, who formerly worked at Bow Truss, to develop a seasonal drink list and syrups made on premises. Right now, Castro is serving a pumpkin-spiced latte that he hopes isn’t too sweet and satisfies more than the basics.
The extra room will be welcome during the holidays when customers line up outside on the sidewalks and wait to pick up their Thanksgiving and Christmas pies. Siegelin said they also plan on extending weekend hours and could stay open as late as 8 p.m. They want to test out customer demand before committing to staying open late.
A visit to a Chicago pie institution is about to get that much more sweeter. Stay tuned for updates if Hoosier Mama gets the green light from the city to open, as planned, on Saturday. Even if they open on Saturday, espresso service have to wait and will start on Tuesday.