February 1, 2018

Kyle, Texas wants Their Piece of the Pie - Officially

Kyle, Texas wants Their Piece
of the Pie - Officially

Back in April 2017, Kyle Texas City Manager Scott Sellers mentioned that the little town between Austin and San Marcos, Texas was going to make an attempt to be known, officially, as the "Pie Capital of Texas." (from the Hays Free Press). The Free Press reported about the application for that designation with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

In the first few weeks of 2018, seems that media picked up on the notion that Kyle had a real chance of becoming the Pie Capital of Texas. The City of Kyle held a "Procla-pie" on January 23, 2018 where Mayor Travis Mitchell proclaimed that day as "Pie Day" in Kyle. Several news outlets outside of Kyle ran stories (here, here, here, and here). This official announcement brought this idea to the forefront of conversation among several small business owners and residents in Kyle.

Photo by Sean Claes

Some have the argument that Kyle is a one-pie city. And honestly, they might have a point. Texas Pie Company, which has been in Kyle since 2000 is well known in the Hill Country for both their amazing pies and the ginormous slice of cherry pie that graces the building where it's located (designed by Kyle's Great Big Signs and has been featured on sites such as "Roadside America") PLUS they were the Grand Prize winners of the HEB 2016 contest "
2016 Quest for Texas Best" with their Original Pie Dough Puck. If you think of pie in Kyle, Texas, at least in the last 18 years, you're thinking of Texas Pie Company. 

Although they might have a point.... I think going after this designation is kind of brilliant. For a city to brand itself (and apply for a patent) as The ____ Capital of Texas" is a bold forward step. And nobody in Texas has taken the Official Pie title? Well... that's just awesome. NOW... in order to get the designation from USPTO, it seems the businesses and folks of Kyle are going to need to work to make it happen.

And it's been happening, too. In the last few years the city has worked on embracing their association with all kinds of pie... and have made some moves to branch out from just a one-shop-stop relationship with pie in this city to a few other things.

Photo by Sean Claes

In 2017, Kyle established what they hope to be an annual hot-air balloon festival that happens over Labor Day Weekend called "Pie In The Sky." It included a pie baking contest, pie eating contest, pie baking demonstrations... as well as tons of booths and several musical acts. 

In 2016, Wallace (Kyle) and Barton (Buda) Middle Schools in Kyle  established an annual 5k run for a school fund raiser. They called it the "Pi Run" (Get it... it's like 3.14 miles!). According to race director and local community fitness non-profit For The Love Of Go's founder Jennifer Crosby,  2017 they actually renamed it the "Pie Run" and had pies at the refueling stations and participants took home pies. Neat.

For the last decade, the Kyle, Texas neighborhood of Plum Creek has held a Pie Contest as part of their "Front Porch Days" celebration.

The city is even asking locals to jump in on their own terms to commemorate March 14 (3.14 - Pi Day) by baking a pie for someone.

And, of course, it's not too much of a stretch to include savory pies which opens the door a little further for those reaching for a slice.  Kyle is not "pizza" poor by any means local pizza pie places like Pizza Classics and restaurants like Centerfield Sports Bar & Grill should get in the game, as well as the many chain pizza shops in town. There's also Milt's Pit BBQ that serves an amazing Frito Pie called the Haystack.

Since local businesses heard about the city desire to get the official pie distinction... some folks have decided to jump on the pastry bandwagon... even if they don't directly sell anything pie-related. One local realtor, Allen Deaver of Sky Realty,  is handing out personalized pies to every customer who purchases a home from him. Hampton Inn of Kyle hands out pie-shaped scented candles. Others are trying to find their piece of the pie. In fact, the City of Kyle has a new promotion where they are asking businesses to become CertiPIEd

Personally, I think right now is a crucial time for Kyle. The city has a chance to be known for more than a water tower and a childhood home of Katherine Anne Porter (a great author whose home is a landmark that hosts regular monthly literary readings).

I am a huge fan of Texas Pie Company (their peanut butter pie is amazing) and have been a resident of Kyle, Texas since 2001. I've watched this city grow from a modest size (about 6,000) to a city of over 34,000 residents in the last 17 years. Through the growth, I've seen the city try to hold on to that small-town feel. What's more small-town and friendly than pie?

If the business community and citizens embrace the idea with some creativity and don't "piffle and poo" this idea away, this could be a really great thing for the city.