Hester Street Fair Profile: First Prize Pies

Roni Sue and Allison Kave.

Our friends at the Hester Street Fair are gearing up for another fun-filled Saturday on the Lower East Side.  You may have already heard the Snap Food Truck, a new venture featuring Chicago-style hot dogs, will be part of this weekend’s fair.  Today, we profile another food-centric vendor: Allison Kave of First Prize Pies.

Allison’s mom is Essex Street chocolate maven Roni-Sue Kave. Her brother, Corwin, is the executive chef of Fatty Crab (yes, you want to score an invitation to dinner at their house!)  Growing up, Allison says, Roni-Sue’s kitchen improvisations made a big impact on the family. Experimenting with different cuisines provided her mom with a creative outlet and instilled in Allison and Corwin an appreciation for imaginative cooking and baking.

Three years ago, Allison was ensconced in Manhattan’s art world, working in a Chelsea gallery and baking only sporadically, when she needed a distraction or to satisfy a sweet tooth.  When the economy crashed and the art market cratered, Allison (like so many others in in the past few years) found herself in transition mode. On a whim (and with a little encouragement from her boyfriend) Allison entered her bourbon ginger pecan pie in the 2009 Brooklyn Pie bake-off — and won!

A short time later, First Prize Pies was born. Allison began selling her creations at the Hester Street Fair.  She bakes her pies during off-hours in Roni-Sue’s space at the Essex Street Market.  In the past year, Allison has been a media darling (who doesn’t like to write about pie!). The positive reviews have helped build a robust wholesale business. Allison’s pies are now sold at Dean & Deluca, 88 Orchard, Fatty Cue in Williamsburg and other locations.

What’s next? Allison says she looking for a space of her own (mom’s generosity has its limits!). Hopefully, it’ll be on the Lower East Side. She enjoys the Hester Street Fair because it offers an opportunity to interact face-to-face with customers. Allison isn’t there every weekend, but you’re in luck — she is scheduled to be at the fair this coming Saturday, pies in hand.

The Hester Street Fair is held each Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, visit their web site.