Fireman Derek’s key lime pie

The best pies are layered with fruit, sugar and interesting stories, just like the one our son Charlie sent his dad for his birthday.

The first layer is the gift and the fact that a thoughtful son in New Jersey sent a pie from Miami to his dad in Wisconsin. Dads can be a tough crowd when it comes to gifts and all they really want for any occasion is to hear that you are healthy, happy and safe. That pie was perfect.

So perfect, in fact, that we put it in the freezer and saved it for a special occasion.

So, the second layer is the special occasion, which turned out to be Father’s Day in a full house crawling with pie-loving boys. The oldest boy (who happened to be the dad, foster dad and father in-law) got the first slice and he loved it.

The third layer is the cool back story of the sweet pie and the gentleman who makes them. Fireman Derek first started making key lime pies out of his father’s apartment in 1999. Then 15-years old, he squeezed the limes by hand and tweaked his recipe until he came up with a pie so tasty he sold miniature versions on the street.

Later, as a Division I college football player, Derek supplemented both his income and his diet through his own cooking, and developed a reputation for his excellent pies.

His reputation and repertoire grew when, in 2006, he became a firefighter at Station 1 in Miami. Naturally, he became the firehouse cook. Back then, he cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner for his 20 fellow firefighters during 24-hour shifts and he baked pies on the side to supplement his income. His dad helped with labeling, taking orders and preparing crusts.

“I don’t go out much,” Derek said in a 2010 Miami New Times article. “When friends call me and ask what I’ve been doing, I’ve been baking, but I enjoy doing it.”

Three years later, he opened a small shop (600 square feet) in Miami’s artsy Wynwood Neighborhood. He kept working as a full-time firefighter until 2016 when he retired to devote more time to his bake shop.

In 2019 he opened a second, larger location in Coconut Grove Florida and both his brick and mortar and online businesses continue to thrive.

I love Fireman Derek’s story as much as I loved his pie and I’d like to thank Charlie for introducing his dad and me to both.

Fireman Derek has expanded his menu to cakes, cookies and savory items that sound absolutely delicious. But, his signature item is still that sweet and tangy Key Lime Pie.
We took ours out of the freezer to celebrate Father’s Day.
It was a popular choice!
Fireman Derek knows how to whip up the perfect treat. I thought I’d have another slice but I didn’t think fast enough. The slice I did have, though, was perfect.
They share a love of tie-dye shirts, key lime pies and each other.

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