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Nyack People & Places: A Pie Lady & Son Thanksgiving

by Mike Hays

Wil and Bri Tyler at Pie Lady & Sons


No matter how you slice it, a Nyack Thanksgiving is not complete without a pie from the Tyler family’s Pie Lady & Son. Warm aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, nuts, syrup, and apples in the kitchen will make anyone hesitate before reaching for seconds in order to leave room for at least one piece of the awaiting pies.

The Pie Lady

The origin of the Pie Lady business is the stuff of Nyack legend. Deborah Tyler began making and selling pies from the family home in 1995. The business grew through word of mouth. Customers who purchased a pie always came back for another at her back porch door, at 35 Burd Street in Nyack. Villagers began to call her the Pie Lady, and the name stuck. Word spread quickly that her homemade pies were simply the best in the region. By 2001 so many customers were coming to her door that she made the decision to stop selling pies. Like bees without a hive, Nyack villagers were soon wandering the streets looking for pies.

Growing up with pie

Pie Lady’s son, Wil Tyler, remembers thinking that it wasn’t unusual to have so many pies in the house, nor was it unusual that his bedroom was turned into a bakery. He thought it was something that every family did. Bri, one of his younger sisters, remembers Wil as a kid asking, “Mom, will you teach me to bake pies.” Little did she know that it would be Wil’s entrepreneurial drive that created a new pie business.

It’s back: Pie Lady & Son


Wil Tyler worked in marketing for a small business after graduation but he always dreamed of starting his own business. Realizing that his family already owned a recognized brand in Pie Lady, and with his primal pie DNA, Wil decided to revive the business in 2010. The naming of the business was natural: Pie Lady & Son. Simple, yet catchy.
Wil and his father first started selling pies at the Nyack Farmers Market. The next step, and part of Wil’s original plan, was opening a retail presence in Upper Nyack. At this point, Deborah was still involved in the business but only as a master taster and quality control expert. Wil’s sister Bri, who is also involved in the business, remembers that their first baking efforts needed work, at least according to mom. Ever since, with her master guidance, quality has been a given.

What makes a good pie?

The Tylers may be holding back on the secret formula, but Wil claims that the secret is in the butter crust, that anybody can make a good filling. Those with favorite fillings as well as home bakers will probably disagree.
The homemade pie menu focuses on a consistent group of 11 favorites, including a variety of fruit pies, pumpkin, chocolate, and pecan, in differing sizes. From time to time, Pie Lady tries new flavors. For a while, pineapple in fashion with customers. The retail store, driven by Bri’s sunny presence, serves coffee, slices (with or without ice cream and whipped cream), and scoops of Janes ice cream, a Hudson Valley favorite. To top it off, there are homemade cookies.

Thanksgiving at Pie Lady & Sons

Thanksgiving, of course, is the busiest period for Pie Lady, which churns out some 1,000 pies for Thanksgiving. Pumpkin is a top seller, followed by apple crumb. It’s a pretty hectic time for Bri and Wil and their staff of 10. Their youngest sibling, Carly, often returns from her marketing job in NYC to help during the season (as well as helping them in social media marketing). Advance orders for Thanksgiving pies closed November 9 but Pie Lady & Son continue to sell available fresh and frozen pies for walk-ins until the day before Thanksgiving.
Nyackers’ attempts to keep Pie Lady pies a local secret have been for naught; the company also sells pies at 6-8 Farmers Markets in Westchester and Brooklyn.
How do the Tylers manage their own Thanksgiving, given that they have been around-the-clock busy getting others ready for the holiday? True to their Nyack roots, they go to Hudson House’s Thanksgiving Day meal where, just maybe, they will sample a Matt Hudson-made desserts.

What’s next for Pie Lady & Sons?

The secret is out. Pie Lady & Sons is moving to Riverside Plaza, 125 Main St. in Nyack in January. Wil and Bri are looking forward to being in the center of the village. Having been a drive-to business tucked away in Upper Nyack, they will now be able to create a stronger customer experience for walk-ins.

Pie Lady & Son is a family affair

While Deborah Tyler created the original pie formula and Wil revived the brand into a retail presence, the business is really a family affair. Dad is there every day to see if he can help in any way. Mom continues to be the master taster. Carly is helping with their social media presence. And since Wil and Bri spend so much time there, it’s natural that their good friends Devin and Robert end up helping at times as well. With the Tylers’ exuberant presence, you would guess before tasting that the pies are good. In this case, your eyes are as big as your stomach.
See also

Photo credits: Mike Hays, Tyler family portrait courtesy Mr. Tyler
Michael Hays is a 30-year resident of the Nyacks. He grew up the son of a professor and nurse in Champaign, Illinois. He has recently retired from a long career in educational publishing with Prentice-Hall and McGraw-Hill. Hays is an avid cyclist, amateur historian and photographer, gardener, and dog walker. He has enjoyed more years than he cares to count with his beautiful companion, Bernie Richey. You can follow him on Instagram as UpperNyackMike.

HRHCare Community Health logoNyack People & Places, a weekly series that features photos and profiles of citizens and scenes near Nyack, NY, is brought to you by HRHCare and Weld Realty.

 
 
 
 


Nyack People & Places, a weekly series that features photos and profiles of citizens and scenes near Nyack, NY, is sponsored by Sun River Health.


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