Campus News Society & Culture

Every day is Pi(e) Day at the Georgia Center

Baker Kelly Cramer puts the finishing touches on a strawberry ice cream pie at the UGA Center for Continuing Education & Hotel. (Photo by Peter Frey/UGA)

An ordering mix-up leads to a signature dessert at conference center

Bulldogs don’t have to look far for a delicious treat to celebrate Pi Day on March 14. The strawberry ice cream pie at the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education & Hotel’s Savannah Room restaurant is one of the most sought-after bites on campus, all thanks to an ordering mishap.

In the 1960s, kitchen staff at the Savannah Room accidentally ordered 600 pounds of coconut instead of 60 pounds. In a frantic effort to use all the food, chefs created a macaroon crust, which uses coconut as its main ingredient, as the beginnings of a new dessert. They topped it with strawberry swirl ice cream that at the time was made on campus at The Creamery. They added browned meringue, and the strawberry ice cream pie was born.

Customers can purchase slices of pie at the restaurant or order full pies in advance, but they must be prepared for a wait as pie production takes 48 hours from start to finish.

The dessert is a staple for Savannah Room patrons, with the restaurant serving 150 slices in a busy month. It even brings a bit of nostalgia for some.

“I’ve spoken to people who’ve been coming here since they were children and getting the pie,” said Darrell Goodman, director of food and beverage at the Georgia Center, a public service and outreach unit. “It’s become a signature item we have, and over the years people on campus and in Athens have come to appreciate it.”