This article is part of “Greek New York’s Finest,” our series dedicated to supporting Greek American-owned businesses in our home base of New York City that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This series of unique stories aims to bring these businesses more attention, publicity and support.
In the heart of a neighborhood in Lower Manhattan, internationally known for its boutique fashion stores and upscale shops, a hub of artisanal Greek cuisine has quietly become a local favorite.
Pi Bakerie greets every visitor with the enticing scents of traditional sweet and savory delicacies, including pastitsio, moussaka, baklava and portokalopita (orange pie) — one of its signature desserts.
The store opened in 2014 under the guidance of Regina Katopodis, a Brooklyn native with decades of experience owning bakeries throughout the city and a strong connection to Lower Manhattan.
Katopodis’ father and grandfather served a total of 50 years as the parish presidents of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, just a brisk walk downtown from Pi Bakerie. The church was the only house of worship destroyed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and Katopodis has remained actively involved in its lengthy rebulding process.
“I think of myself of Greek descent but with an American soul,” she tells The Pappas Post. “And I love Manhattan. The energy in Manhattan is like no other anywhere.
Katopodis decided to open Pi Bakerie following requests from countless customers who had fallen in love with its unofficial “sister store” in Astoria — Artopolis.
Although Artopolis remains closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the same authenticity and homemade-style approach which turned that store into an Astoria staple have yielded similar success for Pi in SoHo.
“All of our recipes were out of somebody’s home,” Katopodis says. “It was more than just a store. I wasn’t looking for a fine-tuned chef; I was looking for someone who would make our recipes the way they’re supposed to be made.”
Like all small businesses, Pi has faced its share of difficulty due to the pandemic. Katopodis says her business is down approximately two-thirds compared to the same time in 2019.
The store used to see most of its income from office catering and large corporate events, which ran in abundance before New York City’s lockdown in March. But as the coronavirus lingers, the timetable for a return to normalcy remains uncertain.
“The lower energy level is hard for me. There’s no office or corporate events happening,” Katopodis says. “I’m just hoping that when Corporate America comes back our profits will bounce back.”
Photographs / Darden Livesay, The Pappas Post
Pi Bakerie’s name incorporates a linguistic play on words, as “pi” simultaneously refers to the Greek letter as well as the English baking term “pie.” Katopodis says this sense of deeper meaning is a “must-have” in any of her business ventures.
“I could never just run a store; it has to have meaning,” she says. “Every cookie has a story; it’s a genuine Greek meal made from scratch.”
Pi Bakerie is located on 512 Broome Street in SoHo. The menu includes savory items such as spanakopita, tyropita, hortopita and kolokithopita. The store sells a variety of sandwiches, salads, soups, dips and desserts as well as coffee, beverages and other items. Imported Greek coffee, wine and olive oil are also available for purchase.
Video footage by Darden Livesay; video editing by Maria Wilson.
Through an exclusive partnership with Olive Grove Market, Pi Bakerie ships to any address in the continental United States. Click here for the complete line of available desserts.
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