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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. Article created on 5/15/2018.

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Chicken pie from Centervile Pie Co. in Centerville, Mass. (Cape Cod). a favorite dish of Oprah Winfrey!
Chicken pie from Centerville Pie Co. Photo source: Centerville Pie Co. web site.

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 ready to come out of the oven at the Centerville Pie Company in Centerville, Mass.
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 in segments. 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 was...

The Oprah Winfrey Connection

Oprah Winfrey loves the chicken pies at Centerville Pie Co. in Centeville, <ass. (Cape Cod)
Centerville Pie Co. has made Oprah's "best of" list more than once!

Oprah Winfrey named the Centerville Pie Co.  chicken pie one of her "favorite things" three times -- 2009, 2012 and 2017 -- in O Magazine.

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 this huge success, but 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 open Centerville Pie in 2009 after Laurie had gained legendary status with friends 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 Ladies," and 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 taken.

"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 Brown, Devin Broadley and Kristin Broadley at Centerville Pie Co. in Centerville, Mass. (Cape Cod)
Laurie Bowen, Devin Broadley and Kristin Broadley at Centerville Pie Company.

Set in a nondescript strip mall in Centerville, you'd never know this humble little pie shop has gained such fame.

Centerville Pie Company storefront in Centerville, Mass. (Cape Cod)
Centerville Pie Co. storefront.

Cute, welcoming and clean, the separate bakery section has that unmistakably welcoming bakery look while the dining room with its counter, stools and tables resemble townie restaurants and diners across the USA.

Centerville Pie company bakery section, Centerville, Mass. (Cape Cod)
Bakery section at the Centerville Pie Co.

Dining room at Centerville Pie Company in Centerville, Mass. (Cape Cod)
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 at the Centerville Pie Company in Centerville, Mass.
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 -- chocolate pudding mixed with butter toffee and topped with homemade whipped cream and coffee bits -- from Cape Cod Pie Company in Centerville, Mass. (Cape Cod)
Cape Cod Crunch pie from Centerville Pie Company.

Homemade apple pie from Centerville Pie Comapny in Centerville, Mass. (Cape Cod)
Apple pie with Four Seas ice cream from the Centerville Pie Co.
Photo source: Centerville Pie Co. web site.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie from Centerville Pie Comapny in Centerville, Mass.
Strawberry rhubarb pie from Centerville Pie Co.

Homemade blueberry pie from Centerville Pie Comapny in Centerville, Mass. (Cape Cod)
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!) lobster pie.

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., Centerville, Mass. (Cape Cod)
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.

Four Seas ice cream is sold at Centerville Pie Company in Centerville, Mass. (Cape Cod)

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 Bros.

Carole Sammons Julius, an East Bridgewater, Mass. resident and 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. in Centerville, Mass.
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 year-round 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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