Changes at Bragg's Pie Factory Include Smaller Gallery Spaces and (Finally) Pie
At long last, there's pie again at Bragg's Pie Factory.
A new vegan cafe, Bragg's Factory Diner, has opened in the very spot out of which the Bragg family originally sold cakes and pies in the '40s and '50s.
- Lunch Under $10 at Bragg's Factory Diner
Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the 15,000-square-foot cast-in-place concrete Pie Factory was erected in 1947 by the Bragg family. They ran a bakery out of the tiny, pie-wedge-shaped front store at 1301 Grand Avenue; in the cavernous space behind, the family baked pies and cakes and sold them to restaurants, groceries, and other bakeries.
The Braggs relocated their business in the late '60s, and the building remained vacant for years following Phoenix's failed urban renewal and the advent of newer freeway systems. Reclaimed by Grand Avenue doyenne Beatrice Moore and her partner Tony Zahn nearly a decade ago, the factory now houses artist studios, a tattoo shop, and a photography collective.
Laura Hahnefeld Vegan apple rosemary pie at Bragg's
Its façade remains largely unchanged: The distinctive glass-brick clerestory windows remain, as does the rounded-glass corner where the bakery once operated. Glass doors have been added on the Grand Avenue exterior; inside, original concrete floors and painted-brick walls remain. The space has operated as a colossal art gallery for several years, overseen by Moore. Recently, she and Zahn split the space into three smaller galleries.
"It just wasn't financially viable to keep it open as one big gallery space," Moore says. "Having three smaller art spaces creates more activity, because more art can be shown by more and different people."
The mainstay among the three smaller galleries is The Frontal Lobe, where Moore plans to host her popular annual Mutant Pinata Show; the other two are for-rent galleries where guest curators will present exhibits throughout the year. The building's makeovers have been part of Moore and Zahn's years-long effort to transform Grand into a trendy arts district, although lately Moore is taking a more relaxed approach to the project.
"I no longer think of myself as a gallery person," she says. "There are so many other projects I want to work on. That said, I want art galleries on Grand Avenue. But I want galleries run by other people, who know what they're doing and can take care of themselves."