Republic of Pie: Berry Cobbler

If nations were built on the Principles of Pie — flaky crust, freshly made filling, everything baked with dedication and love — we'd likely have a more contented, albeit fatter, populace. Until then, there's Republic of Pie, a newish North Hollywood cafe.

Open since mid-January, the cafe is spacious, warm and welcoming. There are small tables in front for those who want to write their masterpiece and a more open, convivial space in back with a bookshelf and couches for those who merely want to pretend they're writing their masterpiece. This is the kind of cafe where one comes to pen Cannibal!: The Musical (jazz hands, everyone!) or a biopic of an obscure Arctic explorer, not the live-action adaptation of Hot Wheels.

Republic of Pie has Handsome Coffee Roasters on tap and a makeshift stage for earnest singer-songwriter types. It even serves pie.

Despite its name, the pies here are the least interesting element. The menu features a dozen varieties, split evenly between sweet and savory. They're adequate though mostly unmemorable.

The mac 'n cheese pie, thanks to its rough-and-crumble topping, is a favorite, but the bland and glutinous chicken pot pie would make Marie Callendar wince. The crust tends to be good, if a bit heavy.

The Dutch apple pie is solid, and the chocolate pecan pie, with its sweet, crisp carapace of toasted pecans, is very good, though it gains little from the handful of chocolate chips sprinkled in the base. As for the “berry” cobbler, it's a dish that depends upon the produce of the season, but this one is inexplicably filled with watery boiled grapes. The best of the sweet pies may be the chocolate mousse, clearly concocted for hardcore chocoholics. It's intense, rich and surprisingly dark, without too much sugar.

Republic of Pie didn't inspire love at first crust, the giddy feeling we had stumbling into The Pie Hole in DTLA, but this is a lovely neighborhood hangout with plenty of promise.

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