Thirdspace: Bang Bang Pie Shop

September 13, 2012

As turmoil swirls across our city and around the world, I have to admit that I hesitated to share my current favorite thirdspace: Bang Bang Pie Shop.

As you may know, a thirdspace (aka third place) follows home (first place) and workplace (second place) as your main social environment and community anchor.

At Bang Bang, it's not just co-owner Megan Miller's pie — three she changes weekly, always including a seasonal fruit, chocolate and cream-based pie — that keeps me coming back for more. (You can vote for next week's pie, a good indicator of their community consideration.)

Nor is it just the biscuits, introduced by co-owner Michael Ciapciak, a young vet of the old Mobil Travel Guide and Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group. The biscuits are served with or without Smoking Goose ham, and (most importanly) access to the butter and housemade jam jars. On a recent day they held the already signature black-pepper honey butter, chive butter, cherry jam and blueberry lavender jam.

It's not even just the coffee (hot or iced, both help-yourself, with simple syrup in an upcycled Dom Pérignon bottle) which seems to be the lifeblood of thirdspaces these days. Co-owner Dave Miller (Megan's husband) formerly owned Ipsento and continues to roast his own beans for BB.

Nor is it even just the bacon, omnipresent these days, but here made with a candied glaze.

 
No, with thirdspaces it's the people who make the biggest difference. At Bang Bang, it's the regulars who stop by every day: the elderly neighborhood woman who tried to sign the Squared iPad with an ink pen; the orange-vested Streets and Sans guy carefully cradling his slice to-go.
 
Maybe because Bang Bang started as a food truck, they connected to the community first. (They also overcame unforseen construction costs with an overwhelmingly successful Kickstarter campaign to create a beautiful exposed brick and hand-restored wood space.) Their urban-idyllic side yard, shared with the brick apartment building above, planted hopefully with plum, apricot, peach and nectarine trees, was recently the scene of their inaugural Sideyard Supper.
 
This is my thirdspace. What's yours?