Shoppers seeking ethnic wares, foods and services have lots of choices on Murray Avenue, but the only place to get Chinese New Year Cake is Bubble Pie Baking Arts.
Walking into Bubble Pie Baking Arts, the customer is greeted by sassy and sweet Japan native Ivy Linn, who owns and operates the bakery. Bubble Pie, located in an unsuspecting storefront front next to Harry’s Barber Shoppe, was opened in 2008. Linn, 56, offers many unique bake goods found in Asian countries like Singapore, Indonesia, and China that may be unfamiliar to the American taste buds. Some of the more popular Asian bake goods include Chinese New Year cake and other festival cakes enjoyed by the Asian demographic in different season. Still, Linn states that the clientele of her bakery is less one sided than one would think.
“It’s about 50-50”, said Linn. “50 percent Asian and 50 percent Caucasian.”
Though Linn was born in Japan, she moved with her family to Taiwan when she was 6 years old. She came over to the states at the age of 24 with her husband to attend college in Madison, WI. Linn would make her way to Pittsburgh when her husband was offered a job with Alcoa. Linn indicated that she really interested in chemistry and physics while in college, which she says she initiates into her baking.
“When I was I in school I always enjoyed chemistry and physics,” said Linn. “I try to use that in my baking to solve the problem.”
On the website for Bubble Pie, it reads that the philosophy of the bakery is to use the best ingredients and pay great attention to detail. Though this philosophy might not seem true when one walks into the cramped, almost unnoticeable bakery, but it has become quite popular amongst the ethnically diverse area where Squirrel Hill resides. Linn stated she supplies tea shops in Squirrel Hill with her bake goods and regularly supplies Carnegie Mellon University as well. According to Linn, Bubble Pie is the only Asian Bakery in Pittsburgh that has been open consistently over the last 5 years.
“There are some Asian pastry places that I have been here longer than while some have been opened longer than me,” said Linn. “They’re in and out though.”
Prior to opening Bubble Pie, Linn operated the Asian Tea House in Schenley Plaza. Unlike the Asian Tea House, Linn works by herself most of the year in the...