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Pie Slayer Set To Open Late-night Bakery Downtown

By Audrey Elsberry, posted May 10, 2024
Pie Slayer, a wholesale bakery in Wilmington, will open its storefront on Princess Street by the end of May, said owners Lauren Wright and Keala Yu. (Photo by Audrey Elsberry)
Lauren Wright and Keala Yu plan to close a culinary gap in downtown Wilmington once their wholesale bakery, Pie Slayer, opens its storefront on Princess Street at the end of May. 

Their spunky take on traditional pies will be available for walk-in purchases within weeks, Wright said. The bake shop will be open late, putting a spin on the conventional bakery model. Few places in downtown Wilmington accommodate night owls with a sweet tooth, Yu said.

“We just realized it was missing from Wilmington,” she said. “Going out places and wanting food at like 10 o’clock, and everything’s closed on a Friday night, which makes no sense.”

They knew if they were going to branch out from wholesale — offering catered pastries and scheduled pick-up orders — the business had to provide something different for the community, Wright said.

The bake shop's hours will run from early afternoon until 10 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on weekends, they said, and the shop will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

A late-night bakery also solves the problem of competition between Pie Slayer and the coffee shops downtown that dominate the early-morning market. Not to mention that multiple of those coffee shops, like Bespoke Coffee & Dry Goods and Hidden Grounds Coffee, also sell Pie Slayer pastries. 

Partnering with local businesses helped boost sales while Pie Slayer was purely wholesale. It is also a cornerstone of their vision for the business, Yu said. 

“That was one of the things we talked about when we first started, was wanting to be as involved in the community and other businesses as possible,” she said. “Just being friends with everybody and collaborating.”

For the past year, Pie Slayer operated as a pseudo-ghost kitchen. Wright and Yu worked in the kitchen of a winery formerly occupying the storefront at 129 Princess St. When the unit owner said they were selling it, the two had to decide to buy the space and make it their own, or find a new kitchen to bake in.

The pair joked about buying the entire space for the year they baked in its kitchen. The same way they’d joked about starting their own bakery while working in catering together for another Wilmington restaurant, Salt and Charm. Needless to say, they weren’t really joking.
“Every time we joke, something happens,” Wright said, laughing.

For the past few months, Yu and Wright have been tearing apart the front end of their Princess Street space. Luckily, they’ve been using the kitchen in the back for the past year so it did not need many changes. The entry space needed a makeover because the past tenant was a winery, they said, plus they’ve cultivated a specific aesthetic for the Pie Slayer brand identity. 

"Girly goth" would be the best way to describe Pie Slayer’s branding, including its unique name and logo, Wright said. The juxtaposition of the heart-laden pie slice punctured by a brutalist dagger drives that point home. 

While online customers can still order Pie Slayer menu offerings like Chocolate Hand Jams, Slayer Cookies, a Party Pie or Yu and Wight’s favorite, the Banana Stranger, the shop will facilitate the purchase of whole pies, or pies by the slice to walk-in customers. 

Handhelds will be available at the shop too, in addition to drip and cold brew coffee and an assortment of beer and wine — accouterment of a late-night bakery. 

"Everyone's been super welcoming to us coming downtown," Wright said. "So it's been really good, and everyone seems excited for us, which makes us more excited."
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