Dangerously Delicious Pies founder Rodney Henry first combined pie with rock ‘n roll while touring with his rockabilly band, the Glenmont Popes, from 1995 to 2003. Hitting the road as a touring musician barely covered the necessary expenses, so he started pushing pies at his merch table to pay for gas. He’d hit up local friends, fans, and other bands, then bake pies in their kitchens, exchanging his baked goods for a place to stay.
In 2008, Henry, bassist Stephen “Stevie” McKeever, and McKeever’s wife Sandra Basanti opened Dangerously Delicious Pies. Henry says it was his dream from the get-go to open a full-on pie shop and concert venue, “but you’ve got to sell a lot of pies to make that happen.”
Now, finally, they’ve sold enough pies through their storefront, two food trucks, catering business, and farmers market appearances to make that a full reality. After four years of renovations to their H Street Northeast building, they opened an upstairs concert venue and rooftop patio in mid-July. The opening act came from the same band that started it all: the Glenmont Popes.
The 60 to 70 person space is filled with barrel tables and barstools. McKeever, who built the stage himself, and the rest of the team wanted the space to feel cozy, with virtually no barrier between the band and the audience.
“Pie is a social food. It should be unpretentious, comforting, and enjoyed by folks from all walks of life,” says Basanti. “Concerts have the same philosophy.”
The owners don’t want to be pigeon-holed into hosting one genre of music. The Pie Shop—the name of Dangerously Delicious Pies’ bar and music venue—will host everything from indie shows, americana, punk, alt country, singer songwriters, ska, and DJs. Basanti, who’s in charge of the majority of the booking, wants the venue to support the DC music scene—and possibly a little bit of Baltimore too. Henry is helping with the contacts he’s accumulated throughout his decades-long career in the music biz.
For people who want to go local, bands Thaylobleu, BOAYT, and Shagwulf will be playing on September 8. DC garage rockers will be happy to hear that Jake Starr and the Delicious Fullness, along with Baltimore’s Lazlo Lee and Philadelphia’s Dominy, is taking over the stage September 22. Comedy lovers can also get their fill of pies and laughs every first Wednesday of the month with $5 comedy nights.
Those itching to stuff their pie holes during the shows can order downstairs, and the staff will bring their food up to them while they enjoy the music. Of course, musicians will also be treated to pie.
“When you’re on the road, food is the most important thing,” Henry says.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story stated that Rodney Henry is in charge of the majority of bookings. In fact, Sandra Basanti handles it.