Turns out more than just quirky FBI agents and Twin Peaks fans like cherry pie.
“All people love pie, especially old folks,” says Kyle Twede, owner of Twede’s Cafe in North Bend, recently on the phone. “A lot of folks who come in here for pie don’t know about the Twin Peaks connection. They see a pie sign from the street and will turn around for it.”
In the cult series that ran from 1990 to 1991 on ABC, his restaurant served as the Double R diner, and was frequently praised in the show for its “cherry pie that’ll kill ya” and “damn fine coffee.” Advertised in oversized letters on the storefront—”Home of Twin Peaks Cherry Pie”—his cafe and the pie within are ground zero for the area’s daily influx of visiting pilgrims.
Fans are in a frenzy over the recent announcement that Twin Peaks will return in 2016 with nine new episodes in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the end of its first run. There’s no official word yet if creators David Lynch and Mark Frost will double back to North Bend and the Snoqualmie Valley, where some of the show’s iconic scenes were captured, but the buzz alone has perked the attention of the business owner who says he sees about “one or two tables a day” who come in specifically because of the show.
On a recent visit I counted four of the eight tables having cherry pie and coffee, and multiple tourists taking pictures in the parking lot. In addition to the photo opportunity offered by the diner’s facade, with Mount Si looming in the background, there’s a mural on the side of the building where fans can pose in front of a mock “Welcome To Twin Peaks/Population 51201” sign.
Photo by Morgen Schuler
Remodeled after a fire in 2000, Twede’s interior bears little resemblance to the campy lumber-town hangout portrayed onscreen. Look closely enough, though, and you’ll see its bones are still intact: that row of booths on the left, the lunch counter, the door and window to the kitchen in the back. If you’ve never been in before, your server can spot you a mile away. “Cherry pie and coffee?” ours asks on a recent visit.
Tourist meccas not being known for quality fare, the pie and coffee were pleasantly surprising. Twede’s brews coffee from the Pioneer Coffee Roasting Company in nearby Cle Elum, and it was fresh, hot, and strong when ordered during the atypical mealtime of 4:45 p.m. on a Sunday. (I successfully restrained myself from specifying how I take it—“Black as midnight on a moonless night.”) Also good was the pie, which, if you can get over the canned filling, has an excellent crust: dense and buttery with just a little flake, more like a tart crust than a traditional homemade shell.
Twede’s approach to piemaking has evolved since he took over the business in 1997. By then the series was off the air, but offering cherry pie was still “something I had to do.” After trying different recipes for years, he finally settled on the nine-ingredient winner his landlord gave him; he’s been using it for about 12 years. The pies are made by hand by a baker onsite. “I can’t tell you the ingredients, of course,” he jokes, but explains he opts for canned filling over something more artisanal because of its visual punch. “Real cherries have the tendency to look off-color,” he says.
He’s quick to talk up other items on the menu. “Pie is not a money-maker,” Twede says. “It’s labor-intensive, and you need multiple ingredients. If [David Lynch] calls me, I’m going to tell him, ‘Let’s do a damn fine pancake this year!’”