Is it a bit cliche to say justice will finally be served?
“It’s been a super long time coming with a lot of delays,” Maya-Camille Broussard says. “I’m sort of relieved that people raring at the starting line ready to go.”
Broussard is a Chicago native, a superstar baker who founded Justice of the Pies in 2014. The name honors her father, Stephen Broussard, a criminal defense attorney. During her bakery’s nine years of existence, it’s never had its own home, taking up space in shared kitchens to bake bombastic pies like the signature strawberry-basil Key lime pie. The pie’s been featured at the Chicago Gourmet food festival as well as the James Beard Awards. Broussard also gained attention as a breakout star on Netflix’s Bake Squad featuring Christina Tosi.
Beyond those special events, some of Chicago’s best restaurants, like Frontier in Noble Square, would serve Broussard’s desserts. But as her profile soared, it became harder to find the pies. Something had to be done.
In 2021, Broussard purchased a 4,000-square-foot building in Avalon Park. As her bakery’s name honors her father, the space, which includes a test kitchen and production facilities, honors her mother, Camille Billingslea. It housed her mother’s childhood dentist's office. Delays snarled the project, but the bakery will begin to welcome customers on Friday, July 7. Broussard stresses this is a soft launch. They’ll have a scaled-back menu, one that includes slices of pie like German chocolate bourbon pecan. They’ll serve a thick and custardy vanilla soft-serve ice cream. The toppings will change, but they’ll debut with lemon-ginger honey. Also, look for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, ginger & cardamom lemon bars, and fudge brownies. And don’t forget the shokupan cinnamon rolls.
That’s a pretty stacked menu, but Broussard says when they’re at 100 percent she’ll also offer savory items including quiche and pot pies. There’s no opening date, yet.
Bringing attention to Chicago’s South Side is one of Broussard’s intentions. Even without her own space, the James Beard Foundation named her a finalist in 2022 for a national award, outstanding baker. She’s overcome adversity, having been outfitted with a hearing aid at age 2. She didn’t start speaking until 4. Her perspective has pushed her to advocate for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, pointing out the large number of Black people who are disabled or mentally ill who have been fatally shot by police officers.
So keeping busy has never been one of Broussard’s problems. She even released a cookbook in 2022. Still, Broussard wants more, and opening her bakery is yet another step.
“I’m excited,” she says. “I just want to make up for lost time.”
Justice of the Pies, 8655 S. Blackstone Avenue, soft opening from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, July 6 through Sunday, July 8. Full opening date TBA.