Yeah, all those boutiques in Tokyo’s trendy Harajuku district are nice, but this is our new favorite place in the neighborhood.

A while back, we made our first visit to Tokyo’s all-you-can-eat cookie buffet restaurant, which was unquestionably a life-changing moment for all of us here at SoraNews24. But nutritionists say it’s important to have a varied diet, and so this week we switched things up with a trip to a Tokyo cafe that’s offering all-you-can-eat pie.

The Harajuku neighborhood is best known for fashion shopping, with high-end international brands’ flagship stores along the sides of the wide Omotesando boulevard and trendy teen-oriented boutiques packed into the narrow corridor of Takeshitadori, a street right across the road from Harajuku Station. On Takeshitadori you’ll also find one of the three Japanese branches of The Pie Hole, a bakery that started out in Los Angeles before making its way across the Pacific.

One of the most important words for diners in Japan to know is tabehoudai, meaning “all-you-can-eat.” As of February 14, though, the Takeshitadori Pie Hole is offering a “pie-houdai” deal, with unlimited pie for 80 minutes, and so we rolled up on the first possible day, arriving at about 2:30 in the afternoon.

As we expected, there was a line. With about 10 people in front of us, we ended up waiting 45 minutes for a table, which was actually a shorter time than we’d braced ourselves for. Maybe we got lucky with it being Valentine’s Day, when most of Japan’s collective sweet tooth is biting into chocolates.

While we waited, we looked over the menu of all-you-can-eat options, which included nine varieties of sweet pies. There are also a few savory options to choose from, but we were here for dessert, and resolved to eat as many of the sweet pies as we could.

For the pai-houdai, The Pie Hole allows you to order up to four types of pie at a time, and once you’ve cleaned your plate you can order another batch. Since the restaurant charges 1,620 yen (US$14.70, after tax) for the all-you-can-eat deal, and single slices are ordinarily priced at around 450 yen, we decided to go all in and four slices to start, thereby instantly recouping our investment.

As our server went to get our pies, we walked over to the self-service drink station that’s part of the pie-houdai package. Customers can pour themselves a cup of orange juice, coffee, or tea (the latter two either hot or cold) to help wash down all the pie, and refills are free.

Soon enough, our server was back with our first round of pie. We decided to go straight down the menu, starting with the Salted Honey Custard, house-specialty Mom’s Apple Crumble

Earl Grey Tea (with white chocolate mousse), and Chocolate Raspberry pies.

Each and every one of them was deliciously satisfying, but we actually found ourselves wishing we’d saved the chocolate raspberry for our meal’s finale, since it’s also extra-filling. Still, being the pros we are, we enjoyed every last bite, and then put in our second order.

The Salted Caramel Pecan was a taste of the Deep South in the Far East…

…and the Pumpkin Pie was so good that we wondered why it isn’t eaten more often outside of Thanksgiving. Finally, the half-moon shaped Strawberry and Lavender was elegant in both appearance and flavor.

Sadly, the Matcha Green Tea pie had proven so popular that it was already sold out for the day. To compensate, our server brought us a second type of apple pie that’s not supposed to be part of the all-you-can-eat pie lineup, so we were pretty pleased about beating the system, so to speak.

Speaking of extra goodies, the all-you-can-eat pie deal doesn’t automatically include ice cream, but if you follow The Pie Hole’s official Twitter or Instagram account, then upload a photo of your pie-houdai experience, you can get some free scoops.

Having polished off eight different pies, we’d saved ourselves some 2,000 yen, and that’s not even counting our drinks. The Pie Hole’s pie-houdai promotion continues until March 28, offered on the Wednesday of every week, and is definitely worth taking a weekly break from all-you-can-eat cookies for.

Restaurant information
The Pie Hole Los Angeles (Takeshitadori branch) / ザ パイホール ロサンゼルス(原宿竹下通り店)
Address: Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Jingumae 1-5-12, Ito Building 2nd floor
東京都渋谷区神宮前1-6-12 ITOビル2F
Open 10 a.m,-8 p.m.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where he was honored to see San Dimas shown on the hand-drawn map of Southern California on the wall of The Pie Hole’s Ginza branch.

[ Read in Japanese ]