- SWEET AS HONEY: Sharon Woodson has a hit on her hands with Honey Pies.
Honey Pies started out a couple of years ago as a small vendor of pies at food truck festivals. Founder Sharon Woodson said she'd just put up a little sunscreen and a table and sell her pies. She dreamed of the day she'd sell 30 a week.
That day has come, and Woodson, 34, is going for an even bigger slice of the sweet-tooth market. She opened Honey Pies bakery and coffee shop in a storefront on Bowman Road (once home to Bruno's) in July 2016, and is now remodeling the suite next door to accommodate a bigger seating area, a space for baking classes and other events, and soft-furniture nooks. The menu will expand a bit, adding brunch. Her effort has paid off with the public, which awarded Honey Pies the Best New Restaurant prize.
For the time being, Honey Pies is a cozy place with cute white metal tables and aqua metal chairs and beadboard walls and framed aprons — her grandmother's — on the wall. The two food cases display pies big ($25) and small ($5), including (on the day we visited) peach, apple, cherry, chocolate, coconut, key lime and possum (of the meringue and chocolate pudding, rather than marsupial, variety). She also had sweet rolls and oversized chocolate chip cookies and savory egg pies when we visited. The bakery menu varies: Some days there will be cupcakes and blueberry pies and cakes and chocolate peanut butter pies. She serves strong pour-overs in nice, heavy breakfast cups and has specialty coffees as well. She used to serve milkshakes, but the milkshake machine fell off the counter recently. There's Loblolly ice cream to be had, however, so no harm done. The coffee bar serves Leiva's Coffee of North Little Rock (for the regular java) and Blue Sail Coffee Roasters coffee (for espresso). There are also house-made syrups. Along the back wall are gifts, like pie plates and cups and dishtowels, from Me and Mcgee Produce on U.S. Highway 70. The overall ambiance is one of old-fashioned coffee-and-pie joy, a different world from the real one outside of the Bowman Heights Shopping Center.
Woodson recently hired Mindy Mitchell as executive chef. A "solid group of bakers" handles kitchen duties. "Now my job is to grow the company," she said. Part of that growth will include providing pastries to the new Blue Sail coffee bar in the Little Rock Technology Park at 417 Main St. Honey Pies has and will continue to act on suggestions from customers, Woodson said. Growing is a little scary, she added. "I have a lot to learn. I worry about what I don't know about what I don't know." But she's proceeding slowly, and if the result is as good as her crusts, she'll be fine.