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There's a New Slice of Pie in Town

Republic of Pie brings a fresh new flavor of coffee and pie to the NoHo Arts District community.

It’s 8 a.m. on a Wednesday morning and I’m standing outside of Republic of Pie admiring the big frosted-white logos on their front windows. I am by no means a marketing expert, but it’s a fresh, clean example of great graphics and branding: modern fonts on a solid circle shaped like a pie.

I walk in and immediately feel like I’ve been or to L.A.'s own Silverlake (minus the hipstery pretentiousness). The high ceilings, exposed concrete and reclaimed wood paneling remind me of the quirky cafétaurants up north. In the back, there’s a wide-open lounge area of tables, couches and a performance area set up with a stool and microphone.

I order a six-ounce cappuccino for $3.25 and watch as the barista, Jon Stovall, pours the milk into a perfect rosetta design atop my coffee. There’s nobody behind me in line, so I strike up a conversation with him and he tells me the café had its soft opening last Monday. The owner and chef, Jon Stocking, is still perfecting his pie recipes, he says, but in the meantime they’re giving their coffee menu a test run. When I later check out their reviews on Yelp, Republic of Pie has already garnered a five-star rating in its first week without a full menu.

When I catch Stocking outside of the kitchen, he jokes he’s “the Jon without the hair.”

“I love this area and what they’ve done to it,” Stocking tells me when I ask why he picked the NoHo Arts District for his restaurant. A Burbank resident, he says he chose NoHo because of the location’s proximity to his own home and its creative community. The restaurant will also serve as a venue for local artists and musicians to showcase their work.

“Why pie?” I ask him.

In today’s economy, it’s hard for coffee shops to survive, he says.

“I wanted to do something interesting… something organic and healthy,” he tells me, and that’s why he chose to pair homemade pie with coffee. Come next week, they’ll be offering everything from sweet pies (think the classics like cherry or apple, and artisanal types like chocolate-pecan-caramel) to the savory (chicken pot pie, shepherd’s pie).

Nearly everything in the restaurant is reclaimed or second-hand — the bar’s counters come from an old northern California dairy farm that closed, and the lights over register are made from glass telephone pole insulators. Most of the equipment was purchased used, as were the tables and chairs. The wood paneling is from a demolished home in Beverly Hills; Stocking was driving by the house when he asked its construction crew where they’d be recycling the wood. They told him they weren’t, so Stocking took it with him to repurpose for the restaurant.

Republic of Pie reflects Stocking’s personal and business philosophy — It’s evident in the space that he believes in creating a sense of community and maintaining a commitment to the planet’s well-being. The chef-slash-businessman wants his restaurant to be all about serving its customers, whether its through exceeding their expectations with great service or feeding them quality food and coffee from local sources at a price better than those major coffee places. He adds that customers will be able text their order for pick-up, and that he’s petitioning the city to remove the parking meters in front of the shop to create a loading zone.

Though the glass bakery case displays only one tart for now — half of a chocolate-pecan pie — and I’m the only customer there, the place is somehow still warm and inviting. Maybe it’s the community bookshelf and the comfy sofa against the back wall or perhaps it’s the windows to the pastry kitchen that welcome customers to watch pies in the making.

By the time I get back to my car, I’ve already enjoyed my cup of cappuccino to its last drop. I'm eagerly awaiting next week, when I can return for another cup of joe and savor it with a slice of pie.

Republic of Pie is located at 11118 Magnolia Boulevard in the NoHo Arts District.  Their current business hours are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. all week; after their grand opening business hours are expected to be from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Republic can be contacted at (818) 308-7990 for more final details on their hours or for live performance booking.

Jean Jeunet January 19, 2012 at 02:00 AM
Totally loving the decor of this place. It's totally my style and my living room! I had no idea this place opened. Looking forward to trying it out.
Danielle Directo-Meston January 19, 2012 at 02:33 AM
The decor is awesome, right?! Everyone there is super-friendly and I think it's great we're also getting more independent coffee shops. Indie Coffee & Tea down the street has been able to survive despite the Starbucks & Coffee Bean, so I have a feeling Republic will do just fine too.
David Rivers January 19, 2012 at 06:09 AM
Just walked by the place tonight based on your article. Unfortunately, they were closed, but the place looks amazing. These independent coffee shops are a perfect fit for NoHo. I saw 2 signs on their window though. 1) Republic of Coffee and 2) Republic of Pie. Which is the official name?
maria muse January 19, 2012 at 05:57 PM
This is good...really food. Sort of how I pictured Noho to be designed like. I want to see Lankershim and Mag as an extension to Ventura Blvd, only funkier.
Danielle Directo-Meston February 29, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Just wanted to share this email (edited for clarity) I received from Darrin Smith, who helped create and design Republic of Pie's interior. Smith was heavily involved in the process along with fellow collaborator Andy Nevil and shop owner Jon Stocking, and his email gives much more insight into the hard work that goes into designing interiors from salvaged parts: "The interior fit-out of Republic of Pie was a creative collaboration between Jon Stocking, Andy Nevil and myself, Darrin Smith. The barn, which the oak for the countertops came out of was, in fact, from Iowa. The corrugated iron we used for the rustic wainscoting throughout the space was from the same barn, which was cool. The Douglas Fir that we used for (the bakery's) siding was out of a home built in 1925 in Beverly Hills. The small tables were also Douglas Fir out of another home in Pacific Palisades built in1962. The coffee table at the back of the space is spruce flooring from the Pacific Palisades estate. The corrugated glass, on the front of the counter, was salvaged from a derelict glaziers workshop, in Culver City...saved from landfill, as per the original brief at our very first meeting on what Jon's vision was for Republic of Pie. I believe we achieved that, as well as creating a unique space that provides the homely atmosphere and complements Jon's exceptional pies and coffee."

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