By Wendy Kilmer
Photography by Beth Dukes
Lifetime Abilenians Leslie and Cory Bivens had tossed around the idea of expanding their home baked pies beyond their home – maybe food truck or a restaurant – and they already had the name, Life of Pie, picked out.
“But, we just thought, ‘no one will spend money on pie,’” Leslie said.
In June of 2017, Cory entered the Cisco Pie Fest with his original pie creations: Honey Habanero and Cinnamon Roll Pecan. “We are foodies, and we’re ones to not just go with the norm,” Leslie said.
Cinnamon Roll Pecan won third place, and the Honey Habanero captured first place and Grand Champion. Still, they thought it just wasn’t the right time. But after visiting her mom, a piece of art at the Canton First Trade days inspired Leslie.
“I just realized then, God is saying ‘Jump!’” she said. “So I wrote a business plan, and I took it to the Small Business Development Center and then to First Financial Bank.”
On Good Friday of 2018, Life of Pie opened to the public, offering around 10 pies based on Cory’s creations or family recipes.
Growth and Expansion
Ten different pies seemed like a good variety. But on the second day of their grand opening, the Bivens had to close early; they had sold more than 800 slices of pie in the first two days.
“At that point, we knew we needed more pie options,” Leslie said. “Different ideas and flavor combinations. We also needed more staffing. We want to make sure customer service comes first.”
Life of Pie now has a rotation of about 50 different pies, including sugar free, gluten free, dairy free, and Keto-friendly. You can also enjoy quiche, chicken pot pie, shepherd’s pie and Frito pie at lunch Wednesday through Friday.
“At first, we had no idea when people wanted pie,” Leslie said. “We learned later hours are best.”
Life of Pie is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. You can order slices or whole pies, and you can eat in or take it to go. A boutique in the front of the shop offers goods from various Texas small businesses.
Private events also take place at the restaurant, offering a location and menu for showers, parties and other community gatherings, such as monthly Meet the Artist events, where guests enjoy meeting a local artist and eating pie flights – a half slice of three different varieties.
“The response has been overwhelming,” Leslie said. “This community loves uniqueness. We’ve seen an amazing outpouring of people praying over our business. Not just Abilene, we have people who come in from San Angelo, Clyde, Dallas. The Chamber of Commerce has been amazing. We have loved being part of charity events, providing for family, taking care of our community and using our God-given talents to give back.”
During the busy Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season, when pies are in high demand, Life of Pie will have some standard pies on hand every day, including a few rectangular slab pies to feed a larger group. Typically, however, plan on 24-48 hours notice for your holiday pie orders. Hours will be modified on Thanksgiving week; check the website or Facebook page for updates. Seasonal pies include Pumpkin Turtle, Snickerdoodle and Gingerbread.