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LMNO'Pies

 

Update: LMNO'Pies has closed, but still operates a food cart.

Further update: The LMNO'Pies cart is no more, but they still do catering.

LMNO'PiesIn a word: LMNo'Thanks.

The specs: #0332
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Forward our Motto, Knits in Public, Madison Brunch, 77 Square; commercial on YouTube; nice shot of blogiversary pie bites by atbozzo; official web site.

JM ate the individual chicken pot pie with chipotle cheddar taters and a lemonade.
Nichole ordered and threw out most of the dinner special combo - spinach quiche, side salad, turkey vegetable dumpling soup, and a caramel apple pie bite with a diet Dr Pepper.
The bill was $15, or $7.50/person.
JM gave LMNO'Pies a C+; Nichole gave LMNO'Pies a C- (see our grading rubric).

Latest LMNO'Pies news and reviews

Chicken pot pie and cheesy chipotle potatoesIt is hard to know where to begin with LMNO'Pies, another place for which we had really high hopes. Pie is awesome, right? Well, upon entering the store, JM was immediately overwhelmed by the femininity of the place. The "cute" old-timey candy jars. The homemade soap on sale, which harkened back to the difference between undergrad women's dorm wing activities (making soap, painting murals) to men's dorm wing activities (N64 Goldeneye tournament, chasing each other around with rubber bands).

As for the food, his pot pie had a very tough and disappointing crust, which had either been nuked or insufficiently heated to begin with.  It may have been OK when it was piping hot out of whatever oven it came from, but this was not it. The potatoes were just plain cold and not very chipotle. Quite disappointing.

Pretty, yes?

Quiche, salad, apple pie bite

Tasty, no. The crust on Nichole's quiche crust was also disappointingly chewy, and though the interior was only warm, the top was burnt. The side salad of supermarket-quality spring green mix was overdressed in a goopy raspberry vinaigrette. The caramel apple "pie bite" was the most disappointing, with a gummy filling, a vague apple flavor, and no detectable caramel. Pie crust should just not fold.

Pie crust should not fold(Compare the "pie bite" with Vanessa's berry galette and see how much better the same basic idea can be executed.)

Turkey dumpling soupHaving ditched most of her dinner, Nichole tried the soup (which she'd originally hoped to have for lunch the next day). It was decent, but suspiciously full of perfect cubes and too-tender turkey and broccoli stems, indicating industrial influence.

Every single person we've talked to about LMNO'Pies has seen one or more toddlers wandering in and out of the kitchen and staff area, or even in a sling on Mom's back while she worked. The idea that it's the norm for these kids to be in a potentially dangerous professional kitchen bothers us, not because kids should never be in the workplace, but because they ought to more often be in a caring situation with more undivided adult attention (or at least, not toddling around a place where there are hot cooking surfaces and ergonomically placed knives). We hope this isn't considered a drive-by Mommying but is taken in the spirit in which it's offered - a curious observation.

Another thing that bothers us is the runaround our vegetarian friends have gotten when they ask whether there's lard in LMNO'Pies' crusts. Sometimes they've been told that all the crusts are made with lard; other times, they've been told that unless meat is listed as an ingredient in a quiche, the crust is vegan. Sometimes the answer has changed midway through a single conversation. Caveat vegetus.

Yet another thing - their hours are neither posted at the store nor on their web site. After our first failed attempt (Sunday lunchtime, doors locked, lights out, but we saw three preschoolers playing in the dining area while somebody presumably worked in back) Nichole called and pinned them down, and suggested the web site as a fabulous place to post hours, to which the response came, "Yeah, we kind of lost access to updating the web site for now." Oof.

On the other hand, these cupcakes are adorable, and it was nice of the guy behind the counter (very helpful, by the way) to take them out of the case for this picture. Case in point, people for whom cute heals all wrongs would probably like LMNO'Pies just fine. Their quiche may be better when you grab and go to heat at home, and their pies are a hit at local farmers' markets. But as a place to dine in, LMNO'Pies leaves much to be desired.

Critter cupcakes

It all seems like such a good idea, but seems in practice to be poorly handled.

Comments

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all the way through the review, i'm still chuckling at "LMNoThanks." clever!

The pasties here are really good! Sorry to hear that you had a bad experience, but we've had more than a few really nice meals from here.

Diasgree, the pasties are pretty much on par with what you can find in the freezers at Woodman's.

People with "animal product" hangups are annoying. If it can't see that it's meat, theres's not enough "animal product" to be concerned.

I'm totally bummed about this. I'd been hearing good things about LMNO Pies and was hoping for the best. I mean, who doesn't love pies?

Especially as a vegetarian, it's troubling to hear that their lard-or-no-lard claims are hard to verify.

To above commenter: I'm sorry we annoy you, but seriously, why? If I don't want any animal products in my food, it's simple enough for the place providing said food to indicate what they put in it, even if "you can't see that it's meat." Sheesh.

"Kind of lost access" = "didn't pay our web designer", I'd guess.

My one experience with this place over a year ago was very similar: as a person who loves to bake (especially including pie), thinks pasties are a fascinating bit of regional cuisine, and is a sucker for frosted cookies (heck, anything with frosting), I really wanted to like the place. I think I had half a pasty and a pastry or two. I haven't returned... which says it all.

I believe I read recently that this is their first year at the DCFM on the Square. Given the lengthy wait for new vendors, I hope they'll put their best crust forward.

I have to agree with the above, I REALLY wanted to like this place, being a fan of pies in general and meat pies especially. But the times I've eaten there have been remarkably pedestrian affairs. The cooks could really use a course in pastry making or perhaps a subscription to Cooks Illustrated. Their stock crust, which should be the highlight of their affair and the foundation of any good pie was thin, doughy and tasted of undercooked flour. A complete disappointment. I pride myself in good pie crust and honestly, I'd rather have pre-made store bought to this. Ladies, please, please, please... read up on frissage, there are wonderful videos on YouTube from King Arthur Flour on how to make pie crusts. I want to like you and I want to be a regular patron.

"Kind of lost access" = "didn't pay our web designer", I'd guess.

That website had a designer?

(piling on)

I think you guys are, at least to some degree, unnecessarily picking on LMNOpies. Its a decent bakery and a decent place to pick up a to-go meal. Certainly no China Palace (still reeling from that one), but by no means as bad as some people are painting. When they were on Johnson Street I used to pick up breakfast quiches all the time and they were quite good. Perhaps freshness has become an issue at the Fitchburg location?

Hmm, Timmy.

My criticism stems from the fact that I'm a home baker and that I can turn out tasty goods nearly every time I put my hand to a mixing spoon or spatula. Ten years of baking projects in 4-H helped foster my love and talent for the baking and pastry arts. Beyond that, I care about choosing sound recipes, making things that taste good and balanced, and learning from old techniques and recipes. To me, that makes a difference.

On the other hand, because I have experience in commercial kitchens, I understand that home baking and commercial baking are usually quite different. It can be very difficult to re-create the best homemade flavors on the larger scale. Conversely, some flavors and items are best created in a commercial kitchen.

Finally, taste is subjective, and I'd be remiss to leave this point out. I didn't care for the flavors of the food I had at LMNO'Pies, simply put. The tastiest baked goods I've had in the Madison area have been from Lazy Jane's and from Barriques (specifically, if you can get a fresh-from-the-oven sun-dried tomato scone from the latter, DO IT).

I do appreciate the fact that LMNO'Pies has a sunny, eclectic environment. It's not fair for me to comment much further, given that I've been there just once. In the end, 'decent' bakery goods aren't enough reason for me to patronize any bakery -- if I'm spending money on something I can likely make myself, I want baked goods that are full of honest flavor.

For a pie place, the pies have been pretty disappointing to me. Ditto for the pastries I've tried at their westside market stand last year. Sounds like the rest of the menu in-house won't be any improvement. Thanks for the review.

Oh, and I think having children running loose in the kitchen is a violation of the health code. Unless of course they are wearing hairnets and sanitizing their hands...

Sorry Emily, I take it back. I guess "annoying" is a strong word. I just find it such a trivial matter.

And I don't think anyone's picking on LMNO'pies unnecessarily. I live nearby and, like the other commenters, I REALLY wanted to like it. Seriously! What a neat little niche. But no ... I'm all about a place being run as a person's passion first and business second, but for a place that's run in such a sporadic and harebrained fashion, LMNO'pies would have to be a couple orders of magnitude more delicious ...

Much like Parintachin (i.e., my better half), I really wanted to like this place, too. I'm a whore for good savory pies (much moreso than sweet pies), but theirs are just dry, dry, flavorless and dry. Such a disappointment.

To Kyle: You know, it's sad really... that site is 10x better than the one they had a year ago.

I smell something fishy here.

Speaking of savory pies... is it time for Teddywedgers yet?

Sounds like Gordon Ramsay needs to go in there and tell them, "Bollocks, ladies, now we're in the shit!"

LMNOPIES RULZ!

Sorry Emily, I take it back. I guess "annoying" is a strong word. I just find it such a trivial matter.

That's probably because (I'm guessing) you eat meat. It's not so trivial for those of us who don't, and that's what I was trying to point out. Thanks for the apology, though. Appreciated.

I got a warmed pasty to go and ended up throwing it out the car window. I thought at least a coyote could eat it but later a friend chastised me for luring a coyote to the road.

Gotta agree with you, LMNOPies is awful. Just plain awful.

Not to mention the health code nightmares with the toddler sticking fingers in the pies when mom wasn't looking. (Swear to god!) That made me sick.

Well, my experience was totally different...of course, that was a good while ago. It almost sounds like a different restaurant than the one I visited. Hmmmm, maybe they are a bit overwhelmed w/the extra traffic...?

I'm ok with the toddlers in the kitchen. I know there are some issues involved, but I just have to put my two cents in. Kids being with parents is great.

Kids who are with their parents all the time do not get 100% undivided attention all the time. When it comes to the theory of "quality time," I MUCH prefer "QUANTITY time."

Kids who get quality time are sometimes alternately neglected and then babied/smothered. Kids who get QUANTITY time have plenty of fun times, but also plenty of time to relax and have togetherness without the stress and pressure of trying to make every minute count.

Oh, yeah, this is a food blog--sorry. :}

As the owner / proprietor of LMN O'Pies, I have to say mostly I appreciate being able to read every ones comments about my establishment.

I am VERY Disturbed, but VERY GLAD about the answers I have for a few of the things I have read in the previous comments. And seeing that I have the opportunity to voice my opinion / answers to the ridiculous ridicule I will take a minute to do so ..

My Web Site is something my father helped me design 5 years ago .. since then I have taught my self ( between baking, running a business, managing a business, bearing 3 children, and raising 3 children) new .. improved methods of web design. When I told the caller that I "Did Not have access to my Web Page. I meant I DID NOT HAVE ACCESS TO MY WEB PAGE .." Me modem had crashed, and AT&T (my service provider .. due to lack of other options) could NOT figure out what was wrong .. 4 weeks later At&t figured it out .

As far as toddlers running around the kitchen. My children being / growing up at the bakery has been completely monitored by health inspectors from DAY 1. Any one who has children knows day care is a very expensive proposition, not to mention with with 3 under 5 years of age. MY CHILDREN ARE MY LIFE, it has Never been easy for my , but I do EVERY THING in my physical power to take care of and provide my children with everything they need. I am Very gratefully able to say that all of my children are in daycare now. We regret it took so long.

As for Lard in our crusts. There is Lard in all crust .. EXCEPT Vegetarian Quiches .. They will never be vegan (unless ordered) because we use Butter in place of lard. If you receive a different answer it is my fault in not FULLY BRIEFING my staff. I aplologize.

As for NOT KNOWING how to make a pie crust.. Our ONLY issue is that I used to allow employees to be in charge of baking , and occasionally under bake products. This is NOT an ISSUE any more. My crust is out of this world, and completely from scratch and mouth watering.

OK, Hours... You caught me at a point when I had my entire night / weekend staff inform me (with 10 days notice) that they were going to be participating in spring sports. So in a matter of 10 days I had to figure out how to maintain bakery hours, and take care of my children. NOT a feaseable thing to do. SO .. I did the only thing I could , I closed on Sundays and reduced my week night hours. As for children in the bakery on a sunday (when the author called) I was cleaning, my children have a right to be present and I see everything they are doing always. However Not until learning some very hard lessons about a few new employees, that butchered our food. We have now reduced our hours so that I can guarantee that EVERYTHING is being handled PROPERLY when we are OPEN.
We ALWAYS post our Hours on our Door, and Web Site (when possible)

I personally would like to apologize to any and all who have had a bad experience at my establishment. LMN O'Pies is everything I have, and I will be the first to admit that sometimes doing EVERYTHING becomes overwhelming, but I strive Daily to provide my customers with an exceptional experience. I appreciate comments about our food, however realize that NO ONE can please Everybody. We can ONLY guarantee that everything we make is FROM SCRATCH, and as fresh as humanly possible. If you think it seems "commercial" I invite you to step into my kitchen at any time, as nothing we do is "commercial" . every batch is small, hand made, hand processed .

THANK YOU to all of my wonderful customers for your support.

To everyone who responded .. this is the first somewhat negative review I have encountered in 4 1/2 years. Thank you for all of your comments, we are working hard to remedy any existing issues.

Sincerely,
Lindsay Gehl (owner / proprieter / web designer / baker / MOTHER)

Oh, if you think Barriques bakery is more homemade than any one elses .. you can thank Elegant Foods for their selection. There is an example of pulling frozen product from the freezer and baking it.

At least at LMN O'Pies we make everything from scratch.

From scratch to us means ..
Not pre - made or from a bag.

Thanks for the linky love. Pie is an ephemeral substance. It's best within an hour or two from the oven, unless it should be chilled. I'm not a big fan of lard crust only because good lard is difficult to find but good butter is more plentiful (yet in this dairy state we still don't have any delicious, killer local butter...but I digress). I've had LMNOPie's Bumble Berry pie and the filling was good...crust, not so much...but I always order pie when I'm out and I'm rarely pleased with the crust. Now I wish I had baked a pie today.

Lindsay, thank you for your comments and explanations. It's really great when restaurant owners join the conversation.

Lindsay,

Thank you so much for what you said. I can sense pretty clearly from your post that you are upset by what was said. Let me take one second to speak to the tone of the posts that proceeded you. Please remember that this is the internet and people have the nasty habit of forgetting that ANYONE can read this, including the subject of their observations. If they remembered this, some of them might consider that what they are being so flippant and casual about is somebody else's bread and butter, their baby and their pride and joy. With that thought they may just temper their comments accordingly. Or they might not, people are like that.

For my part, let me say that I am very glad you had the, ahem, fortitude to post a reply. I am also very impressed with your little joint and I think the decor, the way you've joined your shop with the community and the sheer originality of your place in a time of boring sameness and big box retail is an inspiration to foodies and pie lovers all over. I love your fillings, they are sublime.

What I said about your crust, however, remains my observation. I hope you will take it in the spirit it was intended. It is only my opinion and I am just a single consumer. However, per your assertion that your crusts have indeed have changed, I will be happy to give your place another shot. Like I said, I WANT to like your store.

this is all starting to sound like a family feud of some kind, with too many oddly creepy and personal comments directed at a quiche.

My one experience at LMNOPies resulted in a mixed review. I stopped in on a Saturday about a year ago to redeem the certificates I had purchased via Charter Mainstreet.
It seems I'd picked the one day that the owner wasn't there so some of my questions went unanswered. But I bought one chicken pot pie(frozen), one pecan pie and one door county cherry crumb pie.
After folowing the re-heating instructions on the pot pie the center was still cool so I left it in the over for another 30 minutes. While the flavor was good, I was disappointed in the consistancy of the filling. It had the texture of stiff mashed potatoes. I tend to like my pot pies to be a bit more runny when cut into. But that's a minor quibble, as I said the flavor was good. Crust was ok but not as good as my wife's pie crust. Overall grade: B.

The pecan pie was, to say the least, one of the best I've tasted. A+ on that one.

I can't comment on the cherry pie myself as I'm not a cherry pie fan. But my wife and mother in law are (them being from Michigan) and all I can say is they each had one piece and did not finish the pie before we had to throw it out.

My wife and mother in law are both excellent pie makers do there's no real need for me to drive across town for apple or cherry pies, but I keep intending to return for more of that pecan pie but as we live in Stoughton my travels rarely take me to McKee road.

I work only a 3 minute drive to LMNOPies. Its a work favorite. When we can't think of a new place to eat, we usually go there. Its SUPER affordable. Six bucks for a small sandwich, a side, and a soda? Absolutely worth every penny! I love the surprise potatoes! Yum!

At the end of a very long (not Crab House long, but...) comment thread, LMNO'Pies has closed.

(Linda's got a pretty exhaustive list of openings and closings in the 12/26 issue, so I won't comment on each one that shuttered)

I would greatly appreciate it if anyone reading this god awful review about a wonderful little bakery that was going through a horrible tumultous time would please disregard these extremely bias opinions. By the grace of god I have been able to take my 5 years of experience (vs 30 months) and turn it into a really spectacular new creation. The quality of every product I send out my door is truly at the peek of fresh and made to order. The Food Cart which operates on the Capitol Square has been judged by a large panel of people and has been deemed worthy of it's location. I would grealty appreciate, as would my 3 little girls (including my 6year old who was diagnosed with leukemia on 9/4/08), if you could please judge us in the future by what we are doing NOW. To relate this article to The NEW Company of LMN O'Pies Carryout & Catering (a Sunshine Girls, LLP) is to link 2 different restaurants to each other based on a "common" employee. That is a very unfair relation. I understand you are having fun with this web site, and I understand and respect that. however it would be kind of you to be more repectful of how your "reviews" can effect the people behind the businesses you are reviewing now and in the future. Some times in life we are fortunate to learn from our mistakes and create amazing new adventures. Being linked to ones mistakes forever is a very rotten thing to have happen. It would be very kind of you to consider this in your life and actions.

Puh-leeze. Only nice things should ever be said, and anything bad that happens to anyone should never ever be discussed?

Lindsay, I respect your passion and have no judgment for or against you (having never patronized your establishment), but really--have you no respect for or comprehension of journalism? Objectivity?

The proprietors of this blog are in fact too nice and decent to tell you what I'll tell you: toughen up. Sometimes people don't like what you do, and sometimes they'll talk about it. It has nothing to do with you as a person, or your daughter's health, or what other people think about LMN O'Pies.

It's up to intelligent people to read this for what it is: two people going to a restaurant and writing their honest thoughts about the experience.

Also: "extremely bias opinions" is not only grammatically incorrect, but redundant. Everyone's opinions are biased. That's what makes them opinions.

Let the review stand, but perhaps the cart deserves a new review of its own, especially since most of the prior reviews seemed to come from disgruntled ex-workers or Fitchburg restaurant competition.

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