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Hyde Park, Woodlawn, South Shore

Who Makes The Best Pie On The South Side? Bakers Face Off This Weekend In Hyde Park

The contest kicks off Saturday in Hyde Park, where you can taste dozens of pies and see who is crowned the winner.

South Side Pie Challenge
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HYDE PARK — Bakers and pie enthusiasts of all ages are gearing up for Hyde Park’s sixth annual South Side Pie Challenge this weekend. 

The amateur bake-off was launched in 2012 by Hyde Parkers Julie Vassilatos and Kate Agarwal, who both had a desire to see a baking competition on the South Side after Agarwal competed in a pie contest up north.

Vassilatos, a food blogger, tagged along. 

“[Kate] entered the Bucktown Apple Pie Contest on the North Side [in 2011],”  Vassilatos said. “She didn’t win, but it was a great time, and I thought, ‘This is awesome. Why don’t we have something like this on the South Side?’” 

And so the South Side Pie Challenge was born. Each year, proceeds from the competition support the Hyde Park and Kenwood Hunger Programs.

To date, the South Side Pie Challenge has raised $20,000 forthe cause.

This year’s goal is set at $6,000, Vassilatos said.

Entries are being accepted through Friday, Nov. 2 at noon. To enter, register here and pay a $30 entry fee. You can drop off your two identical pies for judges Saturday morning. 

The South Side Pie Challenge includes four categories: fruit, nut, cream and sweet potato/pumpkin. As of Monday, there were 45 entriesfor the contest. Vassilatos expects to have 60 by the entry deadline on Friday.

The competition draws about 300 people each year who come towatch and taste entries from the competition. Slices of pie will be sold for $4 a piece.

There will also be live music, coffee, and activities for children.

What Vassilatos looks forward to each year is “seeing so many happy people chatting and enjoying themselves and neighbors coming together and having a fun and positive time.” 

The South Side Pie Challenge will be hosted at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club, 5480 S. Kenwood Ave., and will be open to the public from 2-5 p.m., or until pie is sold out.

Pie drop-off for registrants is from 9 a.m.-10:30 a.m. Saturday.

Doors will open to the public at 2 p.m. after a panel of judges makes their selections. Winners will be announced at 3 p.m.

This year’s judges include: Chef Cliff Rome of Peach’s on 47th and Rome’s Joy Catering;  Hyde Parker and Master Chef Jr. alum Evan Robinson; chef Belinda Brooks of Kendall College Culinary; Jan Holt of Mesirow Financial; author and pastry chef Gale Gand; Fabiana Carter of Fabiana’s Bakery; Bombay Breakdown pop-up chef Yoshi Yamada and Kirsten Esterly of the Medici Restaurant and Bakery.

“I always look forward to watching the judges work,” Vassilatos said. “It’s very serious and studious work I love to listen and watch.”

To see complete details for the South Side Pie Challenge, visit their website here.