They’re pies with a purpose.
Ulonda Payne, founder of Akron’s Sweet P’s Pies, is all about raising money for good causes. She donates the ingredients and her labor, and the proceeds go to nonprofits.
Last month, she struck a deal with Louisiana Famous Fried Chicken, which opened in 2017 at 61 E. Waterloo Road in Akron’s Firestone Park neighborhood, to put her lemon pineapple chiffon pies on the menu for $4.29 a slice. She’s contributing the money to women’s health care causes.
“I’m a helper,” Payne, said on a recent day at the restaurant. “I’m so excited. That’s what God created me to be — a helper.”
Payne’s pies are creamy, multilayered decadent delights with graham cracker or chocolate wafer crusts. You can buy a whole 9-inch pie for $15 to $20 directly from Sweet P’s by calling 330-338-2090.
Flavors include lemon pineapple chiffon, cookies and cream (with traditional or vanilla Oreos), coconut cream, banana cream, Bahama cream (walnuts and pineapple in the crust and on top, along with white chocolate) and French silk (three kinds of chocolate topped with chocolate shavings).
She also makes banana split (layers of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry); rocky road (walnuts, marshmallows, chocolate chunks, chocolate cream, fudge sauce) and strawberry delight (sweetened cream cheese topped with strawberry cream and fresh strawberries).
Payne, who makes the pies in a commercial kitchen, moved to Akron in 1998 from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, where she made pies to benefit church programs.
In Akron, where her husband, Kent, owns a State Farm insurance agency and she manages the office, she was approached by people seeking donations, and decided to leverage her pie-making skills.
She would suggest: "How about I make 10 pies instead of giving you $50, and you sell the pies and the donation turns into $150,’” she said.
In 2007, she took first place in a “Women Cooking for the Arts” contest.
Her husband helps with the shopping and often with making the pies. Her friend Julie Ann Hawkins helps connect her with fundraisers and "is a huge spiritual inspiration."
Rogers H. "Dino" Taylor, manager of Louisiana Famous Fried Chicken, said the Sweet P’s lemon chiffon pie is a great ending to the restaurant's down-home chicken, shrimp and fish dinners. The name Louisiana Famous Fried Chicken doesn't do justice to the menu, which also includes po'boy sandwiches and gumbo.
The restaurant serves breakfasts all day that do the Louisiana in the name proud. You can get grits with fish or shrimp, fish and waffles or wings and waffles.
Specials include Chicken & Seafood Combo Tuesday (one piece of chicken, one piece of fish and four shrimp with choice of a small side for $11.99) and Seafood Combo Friday (two pieces of fish and four shrimp with choice of fries or slaw for $12.59).
Melvin Ellis, a former Akron resident who lives in California, owns the eatery. Taylor says Payne’s pies mesh with Ellis’ desire to give back to the community.
Restaurant hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. See https://lffc-akron.com/.
Shopping with dogs
Opening day of the Countryside Farmers Market is April 20, and this year the market is going to the dogs.
Well, at least for the last hour of the market, which runs from 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays through Oct. 26 at Howe Meadow, 4040 Riverview Road in Cuyahoga Falls.
"Yappy Hour" will be 11 a.m. to noon, when shoppers can bring their dogs; they’ve traditionally not been allowed at the market.
This season, 73 vendors, including 12 new ones, will set up at Howe Meadow to sell produce, meats, cheeses, eggs, baked goods, handcrafted gifts and more. New vendors include Front 9 Farm, Nosh Butters, Peaceful Fruits and Sixth City Sauce.
Each week will feature live music, cooking demonstrations and children's activities organized by Spring Garden Waldorf School of Copley Township.
Celebrate Earth Day during the April 20 market by bringing food scraps for composting at Full Cycle Organics, and check out Countryside's new Co-Bags program aimed at reducing waste through sharing and reusing shopping bags.
Countryside also hosts farmers markets at Will Christy Park, 1175 W. Market St. in Akron’s Highland Square neighborhood — 4 to 7 p.m. Thursdays, June 6 through Aug. 29 — and Countryside Public Market from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays year-round at Northside Lofts, 21 N. Furnace St., Akron.
The Mustard Seed Market & Cafe at 3885 W. Market St., Bath, will host “A Night in Spain” wine tasting 7 to 9 p.m. April 26.
It will feature 20 red, white and rose wines from Spain, along with tapas, cheeses and a sweet treat from the store's bakery.
Cost is $35 in advance and $40 at the door. Call 330-666-7333 or see http://tinyurl.com/y42kf3gl to reserve.
Open at Scratch
Scratch Kitchen & Catering has opened at 137 East Ave. in Tallmadge.
Almost everything on the menu is made from scratch, said co-owner Missy Hatch in an email. On the menu are wraps, burgers, large salads, entrees and appetizers.
Hatch said in the email the 24-seat restaurant serves "hand crafted artisan food with a twist."
Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday. Call 330-805-4888 or see eatscratch.com.
Make Easter plans
If you want to eat out on Easter — April 21 — you may want to get your reservation in.
Locally owned places offering Easter brunch buffets or specials include: Beau's On the River in Cuyahoga Falls, Beau's Grille in Fairlawn, Kent State Hotel and Conference Center, Ken Stewart's Grille in Akron, Fleming's in Copley, the Blue Heron Event Center in Montville Township, the Galaxy Banquet Center in Wadsworth, 35 Brix in Green; Blue Canyon Kitchen & Tavern in Twinsburg and Tangier in Akron.
• Blue Canyon Kitchen & Tavern in Twinsburg, in celebration of its 15th anniversary, is rolling back its prices on select dates to what they were when the place opened.
The dates are Sunday and Monday, April 22 and April 28-29. For reservations, call 330-486-2583. The restaurant is at 8960 Wilcox Drive in Twinsburg.
• Five Guys Burgers and Fries, 3863 Medina Road in Bath, has closed temporarily for remodeling.
No official word at press time on how long the shutdown would last, but a representative of an electrical contractor on site last week said work was just beginning and the remodeling usually takes about a month.
• The 45 Panera Bread bakery-cafes in Northeast Ohio are selling puzzle-piece cookies for the "Pieces of Hope" campaign, raising money for the Cleveland Clinic Children's Center for Autism. The cookies will be sold through Sunday.
Over the last seven years, Panera Bread and its Northeast Ohio franchisee, Covelli Enterprises, has donated more than $450,000 to the center through the sale of the shortbread cookies.
Mark your calendars
• A Party Pop-Up at the Whisker Space at the Saalfield Building in Akron will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday and feature food trucks, art, music and more.
The event marks the first anniversary of Whiskertin Lighting Studio + Showroom and is organized by 720 Market. The Saalfield Building is at 1145 Getz Ave., off East Miller, south of downtown. For more information, go to the Whiskertin Lighting Facebook page and 720market.com.
• 720 Market also is organizing the Local Wine and Maker Expo, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 20 at the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Field Turf, next to the museum in Canton. Wine, beer and mead from Northeast Ohio will be available, along with art and more.
Tickets cost $45 and include 10 tastings. For tickets, go to https://bit.ly/2CZqRH1.
• The Ramp Up Peninsula festival runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 27 in downtown Peninsula. It will feature ramps in all kinds of foods, as well as artists and crafters and more.
The ramp is one of the first edible plants to pop up in spring. Some call them "little stinkers" because of their garlicky aroma.
For information, go to explorepeninsula.com or email questions to email@example.com.
• The fourth Grapes on the Lake will run from 5 to 9 p.m. April 27. The event benefiting Lake Anna Park in Barberton and the Special Olympics will be at the Tadmor Shrine Center, 3000 Krebs Drive in Coventry Township.
Cost is $20 presale, $25 at the door and includes 10 wine tastings. Tickets are available at the Barberton Parks & Recreation offices inside the YMCA building, 500 W. Hopocan Ave., by phone at 330-861-7135, or at the door.
I am out of the office through April 23. If you have events or foodie news that can’t wait until I get back, send the info to my editor, Lynne Sherwin, at firstname.lastname@example.org.