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Why Cape Cod Locals, Travelers, the Media and a Beloved Celebrity Love Centerville Pie Company in Centerville, Mass.
Article and photos, unless otherwise noted, by Eric Hurwitz.
created on 5/15/2018.
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Chicken pie from Centerville Pie Co. Photo source: Centerville Pie Co.
New Englanders know good food when they see and taste it,
and have been
known to make new restaurants and other food businesses famous in a
short amount of time. This local customer loyalty has only been
possible, however, when the business owner can fully satisfy a New
Englander's picky, often traditionally-based regional appetite.
A remarkable case-in-point: Locals and media designated Centerville Pie
Co. in Centerville, Mass., such high honors so quickly that its upper
crust status amongst the best food destinations on
Cape Cod seems like something out of an improbable made-for-TV movie
since opening in 2009. In a region of the United
States known for its homemade chicken pies, the Centerville Pie Co. has
created a version that, to me, somehow tastes even superior to the most
famous, long-established destinations specializing in this New England
food staple. Maybe
it is the high quality hand-pulled chicken, homemade dough, the right
amount of peas and carrots, or the
beyond-outstanding gravy, but it all magically comes together for a
memorable-tasting chicken pie. The Centerville Pie Co. slogan is also a rare
example of truth in advertising: One taste and you're home."
Chicken pies baking in the oven at the Centerville Pie Co.
"Their chicken pie is the best I've ever had!" said Patti Chitvanni,
who lives in Walpole, Mass., 70 miles away from the Centerville Pie Co.
"Fantastic product, lots of chicken, great crust."
The press centering
around Centerville Pie Co., has gone "PieRSquared" encompassing a
nationally recognized radius. The modest small business once supplied
pies for the Golden Globe Awards. The Travel Channel, Home Shopping
Network and WCVB Channel 5 Boston's Chronicle
New England travel and lifestyle television show have featured the pies
Yankee Magazine acknowledged
Centerville Pie Company in its 2012 "Best
of New England" article. Adam Sandler and Jennifer Love Hewitt have
stopped by, too, to enjoy the pies.
But what really set Centerville Pie Co. into legendary status
The Oprah Winfrey Connection
Centerville Pie Co. has made Oprah's "best of" list more
Oprah Winfrey named
the Centerville Pie Co. chicken pie one of
her "favorite things" three
times -- 2009, 2012 and 2017 -- in O
How this came about: Kristin drove to a local hotel and dropped off a
chicken pie where Oprah and friend Gayle King stayed while attending
Eunice Kennedy Shriver's funeral.
After Harpo Studios denied to a Cape Cod reporter that Oprah had ever
tried the pie, the media icon set the record straight.
"I don't tell everybody at Harpo every time I buy a pie, but I fell in
love with these pies," said Oprah (quote source: posted on Centerville Pie Co. web site).
From Home Cooking to a Small Business Success Story
The owners of Centerville Pie Co. never expected
did feel that their business was meant to be. Laurie Bowen, a former
deputy sheriff in Barnstable and Kristin Broadley, who worked jobs at
Rockland Trust bank, became married about 10 years ago and decided to
Centerville Pie in 2009 after Laurie had gained legendary status with
and family for baking her delicious chicken pies. Their dream: To open
a successful bakery and restaurant for the locals, as well as travelers
looking to add to their memorable Cape Cod vacations and day trips.
Laurie and Kristin expanded Centerville Pie Company's production in a beautifully humane and
thoughtful way by, in addition to their main staff,
employ those with special needs and others that are going through hard times.
Laurie and Kristin have become affectionately known as "The Pie
together with Kristin's son and Centerville Pie Co. manager Devin (a Mount Ida College grad), and an
exceptionally warm and
welcoming staff, have made thier business a
go-to restaurant and bakery destination on Cape Cod -- and with with no food short-cuts
"We make things in small batches," said Kristin. "No
processing, no slop in a bucket. We hand pull the chicken, make our own
dough and gravy. With our apple pie, we hand peel. We use local apples.
The wild Maine blueberries are local. We make our own corned beef hash."
Laurie Bowen, Devin Broadley and Kristin Broadley at Centerville Pie
Set in a nondescript strip mall in Centerville, you'd never know this
humble little pie shop has gained such fame.
Centerville Pie Co. storefront.
Cute, welcoming and
clean, the separate bakery section has that unmistakably welcoming
look while the dining room with its counter, stools and tables resemble
townie restaurants and diners across the USA.
Bakery section at the Centerville Pie Co.
Dining room at Centerville Pie Co.
Diane Thayer, at the bakery
counter, is as pleasant, helpful and customer-service-oriented as they
come with a smile that makes a local and traveler feel like they are
part of the family. She is like your favorite aunt...
Diane Thayer at the Centerville Pie Co. bakery counter.
It's Not Just About the Chicken Pie at Centerville Pie Co.
As suggested by the photo above of Diane showcasing fruit
pies, the Centerville Pie Co., goes beyond focusing just on chicken
pies. The baked goods coming out of the bakery look like
something out of a food magazine. It's hard to know where to set eyes
first, but items like the Cape Cod Crunch, apple (Granny Smiths are the
main apple foundation in this pie), cherry and blueberry pies offer
good places to start...
Cape Cod Crunch pie from Centerville Pie Company.
Apple pie with Four Seas ice cream from the Centerville
Photo source: Centerville Pie Co.
Strawberry rhubarb pie from Centerville Pie Co.
Bluberry pie from Centerville Pie Co. Photo source:
Centerville Pie Co. web site.
The savory pies coming fresh out of the oven look like a version of grandma's house
going into high gear production including -- in addition to the
chicken pie --French meat pie, sausage, apple and sage pie, clam pie,
clam chorizo and linguica pie, shepherd's pie, sweet potato shepherd's
pie, BBQ pulled pork pie, buffalo chicken pie, seafood pie and (yum!)
The fruit pies -- in addition to the aforementioned -- feature
cranapple, cherry, peach and pumpkin. Featured cream pies:
chocolate, coconut, banana, lemon, custard and coconut
custard. Other pies rounding out the sweet menu: strawberry shortcake, pecan,
chocolate chip cookie pie, key lime and lemon meringue.
Chocolate chip cookie pie from Centerville Pie Co. Photo
source: Centerville Pie Co. web site.
Centerville Pie Co. also creates homemade quiches including Lorraine,
spinach and feta and ham and cheese. in addition, Centerville Pie Company sells Four Seas ice
cream, a famous local brand whose seasonal ice cream stand located
virtually down the street sells some of the best ice cream in New England.
Over at the restaurant section, customers can order many of the items found
at the bakery, but the regular menu reads like a "Best Diner"
destination with omelets and other egg dishes, breakfast sandwiches,
homemade soups, salads with mixed greens, sandwiches and burgers.
Locals rave about the variety of high quality foods, but, admittedly,
it would be hard to pass on the chicken pie.
Additonally, Centerville boxed chicken pies can now be found at local
markets, including Market Basket, The Big Y and Roche
Carole Sammons Julius, an East Bridgewater, Mass.
selectman in that town, has traveled to Cape Cod many times with
husband Dale (of Dale and the
Duds fame). She considers Centerville Pie Co. a great stop.
"I love visiting their shop in the summer for a slice of pie -- it's
always terrific!," said Julius.
Chicken pie in the box from Centerville Pie Co.
With all the fame and accolades, Kristin and Laurie
remain humble, kind and forever in love with the close-knit feel of the
Cape Cod community. While she loves the national attention, Kristin
feels more comfortable at home than in the limelight.
"I remember when we received an invitation to be on the Oprah show, and
they flew us out there," said Kristin. "I was shaking so bad, they had
to glue the pie to the pie carrier! I guess I am just not Hollywood,
although grateful for the coverage and Oprah's loving the pies."
Ultimately, that means staying put and...no franchising.
After hugging two friendly, conversational customers from Dorchester,
Mass., who enthusiastically stopped in to buy some pies after spending
time in Provincetown, Kristin set the record straight on priorities.
"We have decided not to expand to other locations," said Kristin. "This
is our home and where we are comfortable. It's like family here. This
is where we belong and it is really like a dream come true."
Centerville Pie Co. is located at 1671
Falmouth Rd., Centerville MA. Tel. 774-470-1406. , Milford MA. Web
site: http://www.centervillepies.com (includes full menu). Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/CentervillePies/. Twitter address: http://www.twitter.com/CentervillePies.
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