If you’ve been missing Mr. Dye’s Pies, I’ve got very good news to share. After shutting down his business for five months, owner Johnathan Dye is back at it again, making some of the most delicious pies in the city.
This time, he’s making and selling his pies at 3rd Street Market Hall, 275 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Keeping his eyes on the pie
“The last two years have been challenging, to say the least,” says Dye, noting that – like so many small businesses – they lost out on farmers market sales as well as a significant number of wholesale accounts during the height of the pandemic.
“To get by, we started making sea moss gel and elderberry syrup to sell,” he says. “We also began making deliveries, despite not really having the manpower to do so. Despite it all, we survived.”
But survival became harder when – about a year ago – the owner of the building which housed Dye’s commercial kitchen space sold the property. The new landlord tripled the rent, forcing Dye to begin looking for a new commercial kitchen.
Unfortunately, before he was able to secure a new base kitchen, he was evicted from his existing commercial space. So, in August of 2022, he made the tough decision to shut down his business while he searched for another kitchen where he could resume making pies.
Months passed. The holiday season – which is normally an extremely busy time for the pie business – flew past with not a pie being sold. But Dye kept moving forward.
When one of his regular customers, Jonathan Newby, reached out and suggested they consider moving into the 3rd Street Market Hall, Dye decided to check it out. What he found, he says, was an ideal situation which not only offered him the commercial kitchen he needed to make pies, but also a retail space in a buzzing high energy food hall where he could sell them to his customers.
“We spent 11 years making pies and driving them across the state,” says Dye. “And here we are in a space where we can finally have customers come to us. I’m really excited about that.”
Mr. Dye’s Pies will be serving his freshly made pies from the western-most hawker stall in the Market Hall located down the hallway to the right of Dairyland Old Fashioned Custard & Hamburgers.
Customers can expect to find a rotating selection of pie slices (and half or whole pies) in flavors like sweet potato, Pecan Delight, Purple Monster, N’Awlins Pecan, Key Lime, Carver Peanut Butter Pie and Blueberry Hill. (Pro tip: head around the corner for a scoop of Dairyland’s sweet cream custard to enjoy on top!)
Dye will also be selling his popular banana nut bread, sea moss gel and elderberry syrup. In the coming weeks, he will also introduce new savory menu items including a hearty chicken pot pie and a pasty featuring Okinawan purple potatoes. A selection of gluten-free pies will also be available for purchase as time moves on.
“I’ve been grateful for the good energy I’ve found among the people at Dairyland,” says Dye of his experience at the Market Hall so far. “And it’s been great to work with them. I love being Downtown and I’m happy to be able to keep my business in Milwaukee.”
Mr. Dyes Pies will be open at 3rd Street Market Hall Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.