Let’s start with the bad news about the newly opened Keen Eye Coffee in South Minneapolis: the decor and signage can charitably be described as “dire.” Bare walls, a crudely drawn exterior sign written on the glass door, and a general sense of stark disarray pervade the place. It looks like a coffee shop abandoned by a married couple in the midst of an acrimonious divorce — she took the paintings, he took the awnings.
There is good news, too, however: the baked goods are largely made in-house (or, more accurately, off-site by the Keen Eye team). We were tempted by the pumpkin pie ($2.75) they had on offer yesterday, and we thought it would be decent based on its appearance. It was not merely decent; it was fabulous, and we really know from pumpkin pie — if we had to retroactively rank it among our 2011 great autumn pie challenge champions, it would likely be at the top of the heap, neck-and-neck with the Stockholm Pie Company and Becca’s Dulce de Pumpkin.
The crust is workaday, merely a vehicle for the filling. But, that filling! Rich and thick, not insubstantial and foamy (or worse, watery) like so many commercial pumpkin pies. Touched by caramel, but not overly sweet. Great depth of spice, without any harshness or unpleasant bite.
This is a pie worth driving cross-town for — it’s the sort of pie that captures autumn in a single bite.
(Keen Eye Coffee, 2803 E 38th St, Minneapolis)