Ashland Chefs Raise the Bar on Pies

ashland chefs and pies

It may be a simple case of dueling pies in Ashland, Oregon, but the night and day contestants ring the dining bell just around the corner from each other. With Pie+Vine, owned by restaurateur couple Chef Tom Beam and Lisa Beam, and Smithfield’s Pub and Pies, launched by Chef Neil Clooney and Claire Clooney, diners can travel across the European continent from Britain to Italy, and back again, to have their pie and eat it, too.

Wood-fired oven at Pie+Vine, Ashland, OR.

With a desire to bring something new to the Ashland dining scene, the Beam’s re-imagined their much-loved Italian eatery, Pasta Piatti, into Pie+Vine. The new wood-fired trattoria, with Chef Sam Jackson at the helm of the kitchen, features dishes infused with deep flavors from the newly built 6-foot oven.  The Neopolitan-style (thin crust) pies hold sway with diners thanks to the clever use of classic Italian ingredients, such as herbed ricotta, house-pulled mozzarella, prosciutto + truffle-dressed arugula, and wild mushrooms with goat cheese.

Pie+Vine pizza
Basil Pesto, Langostino and Herbed Ricotta Pizza at Pie+Vine, Ashland, OR.

Although the kitchen has always been known for their handmade doughs, stocks and sauces, it is now bringing house-made mozzarella and Italian sausage to their pies. If pie isn’t your kind of dish, their other classic, but approachable, dishes were also infused with new life. Truffled Fettuccini Alfredo, Shredded Pork + Beef Bolognese over soft, wide Pappardelle, and Saffron Cannelloni with Langostino, Asparagus, Ricotta and Rosso Sauce, among others, are simple yet complex.

On the wine side of the restaurant’s new name, the Beam’s will start pouring their estate grown Tempranillo and Pinot Gris this Spring.

Pie + Vine
Open 7 days a week 11:30am-9pm

Smithfield’s Pub and Pies.

Chef Neil Clooney, the meat master behind Smithfield’s Restaurant and Bar, Ashland’s first snout-to-tail dining spot, had a long-held dream of opening his own “pie” shop, similar to those in his British homeland.  With the success of his first restaurant firmly in place, Chef Clooney launched Smithfield’s Pub and Pies in 2015, extending his meat-centric focus to single serve, flaky, comforting, and flavor-packed meat and vegetarian pies served up in a casual, friendly pub atmosphere.

Smithfield's pub pie and peas
Sweet Potato, Spinach, Red Onion, and Goat Cheese Pie at Smithfield’s Pub and Pies.

Focusing on the highest quality ingredients, Chef Clooney’s wife and business partner, Claire Clooney, developed the pastry recipe, re-created from one she learned over many years watching her grandmother in the kitchen. The use of Claire’s secret blend of butter and leaf lard, the latter of which is harvested from around the kidneys and loin of hogs, produces a knock-your-socks-off flaky crust. By sourcing many of the ingredients sustainably, including organic flours from Bob’s Red Mill, local meats and vegetables, and the leaf lard from Willow-Witt Ranch near Ashland, Smithfield’s pies are hands down the flakiest in town.

British “pies” of meat and vegetables were known as a “cottage pie”, and where lamb comprised the filling the pies were aptly named “shepherd’s” pie. At Smithfield’s Pub and Pies, the Shepherd’s Pie is laden with ground lamb, peas and mashed potatoes. His other pie fillings hue closely to British tradition, including a hearty Steak, Fullers ESB, Crimini Mushroom, and Rosemary Cheddar; Cod, Fennel, Peas, and Tarragon; Chicken, Bacon, Crimini Mushroom,  and Leek. Tradition calls for a pour of Parsley “Liquor”, and the milky sauce made from vegetables, cornstarch, and stock accompanies each pie.

Smithfield’s Pub and Pies
Open Daily Midday-12 Midnight

The introduction of new cooking styles by the Clooney and Beam clans have clearly raised the pi(e) bar in Ashland, where diners can eat local…and global.

Images: The Local Dish

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