Each city has its own recipe for quirky food delivery. New York City’s got its grilled-cheese guy who drives around the city in a van, handing off brown-bagged sandwiches to customers at street corners before speeding off into traffic. And now, Seattle’s got its UW students who cycle around the U-District, sharing their homemade pies and loaves of bread.
Friday and Saturday, 6 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Max Kraushaar came up with the idea for the Piecycle when he was late to a dinner party.
The UW senior had some pies he wanted to bring but had no idea how to transport them on his bike. So he cut them into quarters, packed them into Tupperware containers and then cycled over to his friend’s place. The pies stayed intact, and an amazed Kraushaar joked to one of his buddies that “biking pie around was easy.” And that he should start a business.
Kraushaar, who enjoys both cooking and baking and has worked in the kitchen of the former Curios — a U-District shop that was known for its “adventure baking” — put his idea into action. For the past eight weeks, Kraushaar’s been biking his homemade pies around the U-District area every Friday and Saturday night.
Rather than a traditional business, Kraushaar considers Piecycle to be a way to share baked goods with friends, who find him on Twitter or Facebook and text him when they get pie cravings. His friends also just happen to hand over some money in exchange. The pies go for $3 a slice or 20 big ones for an entire, custom-made pie. Those who want whole pies have to order them in advance, though.
Donning his Piecycle uniform — an old UW cap and a stained apron — Kraushaar whizzes through U-District streets, delivering pies as late as 3 a.m. On average, Kraushaar bikes 20 miles a night, leaving a pie trail from his home (which he fondly refers to as the “Pie Cave”) to the dorms and all around the U-District. His mileage, though, is no surprise considering he’s delivered to places as far as Capitol Hill — a one-time thing, he insisted — and the Wedgewood area.
Despite the late nights and rainy weather, Kraushaar doesn’t complain. For him, Piecycle is about delivering great pie and building a strong rapport with his fans, which has earned him recurring customers.
“It’s maybe an hour or two of furious work, and then it’s just a lot of wait time. Then I bike around, which is always fun. And then I meet new people,” Kraushaar said. “The best thing is that I have a good two minutes while I’m cutting [people] a slice of pie to shoot the s---.”
Freshman Conrad Berkompas is one of Kraushaar’s recurring customers, often ordering from Piecycle every other weekend — he thinks Kraushaar’s pies are the best.
“$3 for a slice of pie, maybe that’s a little expensive. But then you see that the Piecycle guy is the best person ever,” Berkompas said as he and his friends were receiving their delivery of sweet potato and apple pies from Kraushaar late Saturday night. “Some of the pies are vegan. I’m willing to pay for that service.”
And as for the future of Piecycle? Kraushaar said, jokingly, that he might consider following the Jimmy John’s delivery guy around — after all, what better way to finish off a meal than with a slice of pie.
SPREAD LOVE, LOVE BREAD
Josh Cowgill came up with the idea of Spread Love, Love Bread while riding a camel.
“It’s kind of a goofy name, but I think that giving bread helps spread happiness. I use ‘spread’ not only with bread, yeah, but as in to spread love,” Cowgill laughed, explaining his rather philanthropic concept. “Love the bread I give you, but mostly, spread the love, man. You know? Like hippie s--- … but I dig it.”
Cowgill, currently a sophomore, had originally taken a year off from school with his best friend to bike from Seattle to San Francisco. A little later, Cowgill found himself contemplating life while on a camel in India.
“I really enjoy cooking, but what I really love is baking a loaf of bread and bringing it to a friend’s house and waiting to see their reaction,” Cowgill said. “I feel like food is always a comfort thing, and my ultimate comfort is really yummy, kind of dense bread.”
Cowgill’s love of bread then led to the Spread Love, Love Bread project.
“I had a lot of time to think, and I thought, ‘Wow, what do I want to do with my life?’ And the idea of a bakery came up,” Cowgill said. “I was thinking of different ideas … and then I got the idea of bicycle delivery.”
Cowgill, who started baking bread — mostly ciabatta and French bread — a year and a half ago, said that the month-old Spread Love, Love Bread is only in its beginning stages. That is, he pointed out sheepishly, most of his customers are his friends or friends of friends.
But Cowgill hopes he’ll have more people to share his dessert bread with. He delivers them in the mornings, between 8 a.m. and noon Saturdays and Sundays, so he gets cracking in the kitchen as early as 6 a.m. He’s got a rhythm to his bread-making and has become a better baker. From experimentation, he knows which ingredients to add to the dough to make his bread taste better. He adds homemade yogurt to moisten his loaves and even offers a pumpkin-and-candied-ginger loaf, a spicy, tangy take on a fall favorite.
Although Cowgill’s loaves go between $8 to $10 — $8 for the banana, $10 for the seasonal — he said he’s open to trade.
“I’m having fun. It’s not all about money. In fact, I feel really bad about collecting money for the bread because I feel like I should just give people the bread.”
Reach reporter Kat Chow at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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