The recent opening of Pop Pie Co. is excellent news for the pie-starved populace of San Diego, whose options were previously few (and far-flung). The shop’s vision is to produce traditional single-serving pies, both sweet and savory, with a twist, crafted from quality ingredients that deliver maximum returns on flavor.
“I’ve always loved pie and I felt a strong responsibility to bring it to market the right way,” says Steven Torres, a co-partner of Pop Pie Co., adding that savory pies, usually laden with meat, gravy, and mashed potatoes, are ubiquitous in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Great Britain. “It’s the equivalent of our burrito -- there are different versions, from basic to gourmet.”
The much-hyped outfit in University Heights has seen lines out the door since its early October official opening. It's a partnership between Torres, who interfaced with many restaurant owners in his previous job at JP Morgan, and chef Suebtrakarh Suebsarakham (Gan, for short), whose resume includes an MBA and a culinary degree from Grossmont College. Torres said his early career path gave him a “head start," but adds “I probably learned more in the last year than I did in all my years at college.”
Seeing an opportunity to fill a void -- San Diego hasn't seen this kind of casual eatery before -- the duo searched for spaces in Little Italy, Barrio Logan, and North Park before deciding on the corner spot in University Heights, a former hair salon that required extensive renovations to accommodate their vision. The entire space was gutted and transformed into a “neighborhood gathering space” with communal tables, roll-up windows, and no outlets or Wi-Fi (a deliberate move to encourage conversation).
Torres knew he had something good going when the shop’s chicken potpie snagged the judges’ and audience award at FoodQuart, a local restaurant competition at Quartyard. This was back in March when Pop Pie was still in the ideation and planning phase. That same pie is served at the restaurant today, along with other temptations. Here’s everything you need to know about San Diego’s newest (and hottest) pie shop: