Pi Day ‘Comes Full Circle’ at Cafe in Brooklyn Public Library

March 14, 2014 Updated: March 5, 2018

NEW YORK—It’s a day for people who love puns—or just love desert.

Friday, March 14 is International Pi Day. Across the English-speaking world, restaurants and cafes are serving up pie with a little extra fanfare.

“As pie-makers, we appreciate that a mathematical symbol references pie, and there’s this fun overlap,” said Emily Elsen. She and her sister Melissa co-own Four and Twenty Blackbirds cafe in Brooklyn’s Gowanus neighborhood.

They decided to open up a second cafe inside the Brooklyn Public Library. And today seemed like a particularly rational day to do it.

“We decided to open on Pi Day because we are a pie company,” said Emily Elsen.

That seemed to make sense for customers, too. They lined up to get a slice of one of four varieties of pie for $4.75 (not, unfortunately, for $3.14). 

Among them was Albert Wilklow, owner of the Wilklow Orchard in upstate New York. Four and Twenty Blackbirds is one of his customers.

Wilklow and his family came down to Brooklyn to enjoy a slice of salted caramel apple pie made from his own orchard’s apples.

“It’s come full circle,” he said, probably not intending the math pun. “It’s just exciting to grow something and sell it to these guys and actually see it in a cafe in Brooklyn.”

Pi Day’s official history began in 1988. Larry Shaw, who worked as a physicist at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, made a visual pun by serving pie on 3/14 to a small group of museum staff and visitors to celebrate the mathematical value pi, whose first three digits are 3.14.

Now Pi Day is celebrated around the world.

Even in China, where the pi/pie pun makes no absolutely no sense in Mandarin, the (Australian-owned) “Two Guys and a Pie” cafe is offering free pie toppings to celebrate the holiday. Many customers there may not get the double meaning, but who can say no to pie?