The destruction of the Hubig's Pie bakery by fire last month has inspired a profusion of new T-shirts benefiting the bakery's rebuilding efforts, it's triggered a run on other official Hubig's merchandise and has even inspired a tribute cocktail from bartender Chris Hannah at Arnaud's French 75.
It also has ignited cravings for the iconic pies, which has led to some scenes at the counter of Bud's Broiler (citywide; www.budsbroiler.com) restaurants around the area.
"People come in here shakin' like bacon, looking for the pies," says Shannon McGuire, owner of the Bud's Broiler franchise in Mid-City (500 City Park Ave., 486-2559). "People are addicted to Hubig's Pies and they're calling all day, saying, 'I hear you have pies, do you have pies?'"
Bud's does have pies. They're not Hubig's Pies, but these Bud's Broiler desserts do bear a striking resemblance to the more famous local staple. They also have their own long history, their own cult following and their own recent recovery tale.
Like Hubig's, the Bud's pie is an oblong, fried pie with a sweet crust encasing a fruit filling. They're served hot from the fryer, with an optional dusting of powdered sugar. The pies come in cherry, peach and apple flavors, and they cost about two bucks.
Bud's Broiler has been around since 1952 (the City Park Avenue location was its first restaurant). The pies have been the signature dessert since 1962, though they until recently, they also were unavailable. Like other supplies for the Bud's Broiler menu, the pies are made at a central commissary and distributed to the company's franchisees, says Joe Catalano, owner of the Bud's Broiler company.
Before Hurricane Katrina, the commissary was in Mid-City, but it was wrecked by flooding after the levee failures. It later reopened in a new location in Kenner, and in 2010, after a five year hiatus, the pies returned to the Bud's menu.
"This year makes 50 years that they've been around," Catalano says.