Open 7 am weekdays, 8 am on weekends;
Closes around 11 pm.
If the apple pie at Lauretta Jeans were a film it would receive the Palme d’Or and honorable mention for best application of heirloom fruit.
At such an award ceremony, Lauretta Jean’s owner and chief baker Kate McMillen would wear flattering tones of mutsu and pink lady and thank her maternal grandmother, Lauretta Jean, for imparting inspiration and high standards during McMillen’s growing up years in Lewiston, Idaho.
At the morning after party (isn’t there always an after-party?), McMillen might serve her popular red lentil soup or flavor-packed Lekadia’s Hash (delicata squash, brussel sprouts, potatoes and arugula salad with bacon vinaigrette, over-easy farm egg) with mimosas or bloody marys . . . and all you can eat buttery golden-crusted pie.
Pie-for-breakfast is the rallying cry at Lauretta Jean’s. There is also biscuit and sausage gravy, quiche, roasted cauliflower salad with farro, arugula, and olives and other items of interest including a cocktail list because, for some folks, the perfect accompaniment to a slice of pie in the evening is an Irish americano with a shot of Jameson whiskey.
Several kinds of pies and other baked goods of the day are displayed daily in the vintage wood and glass case which serves as the place to order and pay. Food and drink is delivered to the table.
Now back to the apple pie: McMillen’s apple lady in Ridgefield, Washington makes regular deliveries of heirloom apples to her in just the right combination for a Lauretta Jean’s pie.
“They are the ugliest apples you’ve ever seen,” McMillen says. “but I’ve come to love them.”
It’s important to use a variety of apples in pie since some apples cook down quickly, some are sweet and others are tart. McMillen and her team of three hand-chop the apples so the filling is moist but not mushy and there’s just enough crunch of fruit with every bite.
McMillen, who has been a baker for more than a decade, bakes her pies for an hour covered with foil, then removes the foil and continues to turn them at regular intervals, checking them every five to ten minutes to achieve an even golden color and flakiness.
She jettisoned an office job in Lewiston several years ago because she didn’t like sitting still and she wanted, as she says, “to have a happy coffee shop, to serve delicious pie every time and have a good time doing it.”
When McMillen appears in the dining area in her flour-flecked apron and a fresh baked pie in hand beaming that “once again, perfect crust” smile you just know that this is someone you want making your pie.
Owner Kate McMillen and barista Stefan Ransom