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Flaky Crust Pies - VisitingNewEngland small business partnership

Flaky Crust Pies in Norton, Massachusetts, Only Has Pies For You

This south of Boston pie shop takes made-from-scratch pie making to the next level

Ashley Nichols and husband Andres at Flaky Crust Pies in Norton, Massachusetts.
Ashley Nichols and husband Andres Diossa at Flaky Crust Pies in Norton.

Article and photos, unless otherwise noted, by Eric Hurwitz. Article created on 5/24/2019.

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Ashley Nichols opened Flaky Crust Pies in Norton, Mass. in February 2019 but soon had to close its doors.

It's not what you think, however. Ashley found so many customers lined up at her friendly pie shop that she had to close on Tuesdays to catch up with making enough chicken pies.

"It was a hard decision to make but it did allow for us to get ahead," said Ashley, 33. "I was so happy when I hired more people and was able to reopen again on Tuesdays!"

Made from scratch pie from Flaky Crust Pies in Norton, Massachusetts.
Chicken pot pie.

Located in a building that previously housed a mortgage company, Flaky Crust Pies has seen a high interest rate of locals stopping by for delicious pies made from scratch. Some customers prefer take-out while others contentedly sit in the spotlessly clean, sunny dining room with lots of windows enjoying a savory and/or sweet pie, often complemented by a nice hot cup of coffee.

Dining room at Flaky Crust Pie in Norton, Mass.
Main dining room at Flaky Crust Pies.

A Johnson and Wales University (Providence, R.I.) graduate, Ashley has taken the concept of pie making to an art level by often outperforming some of the most highly regarded pie shops in the Boston area. Following the critical tenets of those great pie shops, Ashley eschews cheap artificial ingredients and favors crust basics like flour, sugar, salt and butter. She and staff know exactly what to do with those basics, using the right amounts in the correct combinations at the optimal oven temperatures. Then there are the fillings -- richer than the richest words could ever describe.

Chocolate mousse pie frm Flaky Crust Pies in Norton, Mass.
A slice of delicious chocolate cream pie.

"She has a definite gift for making pies." said Lynne Neto Street, a regular customer. "I am a return customer many times over. I have ordered pies for the upcoming holiday weekend (Memorial Day Weekend). I love being able to call and say I’ll be there at 5:15 -- what do you have hot -- or can you heat me a Chorizo and rice pie? There you have it, supper is done!!! My guests this weekend will be so happy to see the apple pie they raved about at Easter. I also ordered the mixed berry pie which is equally amazing. The staff is very helpful and accommodating, always pleasant. I’m in the customer service business and they have great customer service."

That customer service makes an already tremendous experience that much better. Everyone here is so nice -- what you would expect in a pie shop but don't always see in the rushed, often impersonal 21st century. Ashley and husband Andres Diossa are humble, kind and helpful to their staff and customers. Employees like Andrea, at the front counter, make the visit something wonderful to remember as she interacts fabulously with all walks of life whether it be local conversation, tips on what to order, or just to lend a listening ear to, say, the elderly and blue collar workers coming in from a hard morning's work.

It's truly a family-run business with friends there for support.

"My cousin works in the back and my in-laws come in to clean," said Ashley. "I have friends from Raynham (where Ashley grew up) coming into congratulate us. It's really nice to have that support."

Building The Ultimate Pie Shop

Pie case at Flaky Crust Pies in Norton, Mass.
Pie display case at Flaky Crust Pies.

From a very young age, Ashley had a strong interest in cooking. That continued through her schooling at Bridgewater-Raynham High School although they offered little more than home economics as anything closely related to cooking. Ashley's mom, Debra, has an extensive management/financial background working in the senior healthcare field but little culinary experience.

"Growing up, my mom was doing brownie mixes," laughed Ashley, who grew up enjoying Food Network shows.


One day after watching together the PBS special, "A Few Good Pie Places," Debra encouraged Ashley to open a pie shop. She knew Ashley had a lifelong love of cooking, binders full of recipes and a skill set that seemed ideal for owning this niche business. Ashley worked a few years at Hope and Main, a culinary business incubator in Warren, R.I., as well as two summers at a Farmers Market to hone her skills. During that time, Ashley and Debra searched extensively for a location to open the business and finally settled on the Norton location.

Flaky Crust Pies in Norton, MA.
Flaky Crust Pies on Route 123 south.

"There were few pie shops in the area," said Ashley. "I thought, 'How come we have to go to Boston for something like this this?'

The building took about 10 months to renovate, including upgrading the septic system and HVAC, re-tarring the driveway and making the former mortgage company into looking like a home away from home.

Entrance to Flaky Crust Pies in Norton, Mass.
Entrance to Flaky Crust Pies.

"It was a real eye opener," said Ashley. "A real learning experience seeing what had to go into starting a business."

Virtually right after opening the store with Andres, they found a slice of the American Dream happening much sooner than later with up to 100 customers a day and lines out the door on Saturday mornings.

"I didn't expect that," said Ashley, of the crowds. "We are still figuring things out. In the beginning, we were making more savory pies instead of desserts. It's all evolving. We are getting lunch crowds as well as take-out. It's exciting to see."

Chicken pies -- with fantastic-tasting diced chicken in a creamy thyme-garlic gravy -- reign as the best seller with around 250 made each week, at this writing. The apple pie also stands as a most popular item. Ashley and staff peel about 50 lbs. of apples for every day they are open to create an incredible tasting pie -- lightly spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, then baked in the buttery flaky crust.

Homemade apple pie from Flaky Crust Pies in Norton, Mass.
Apple pie.

Rachael Duff, a North Dighton, Mass., resident would not hesitate to drive 20 minutes for Flaky Crust Pies.

"I could spend all day eating there," said Rachael. "Oh my God, it is so good, everything. I mean everything!  My husband thinks I am crazy talking about it all the time, but it's that good. I said to my son that we have to stay there some time, eat some pie and have a coffee (for me). I have never been to a place like this. They make the pies from love. The chicken pot pie is so mouthwatering. Everyone in the family said it was the best they ever had."

More Mouthwatering Sweet And Savory Pies

In addition to the chicken and apple pies, Flaky Crust Pies offers, at this writing:

Chocolate Cream Pie -- chocolate cream made with fresh milk and topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
Chocolate cream pie from Flaky Crust Pies in Norton, Mass.

Mixed Berry Pie created with strawberries, blackberries and blueberries under a lattice top.
Mixed Berry Pie from Flaky Crust Pies in Norton, Mass. 

Oreo Coconut Cream concocted with coconut filling within an Oreo crust -- then topped with chocolate ganache, whipped cream and an Oreo.
Oreo coconut cream pie from Flaky Crust Pies in Norton, Mass.

Lemon Chess Pie made with a lemon filling thickened with cornmeal added to the all butter pie crust and baked until slightly golden.
Lemon pie from Flaky Crust Pies in Norton, Mass.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb with strawberries and rhubarb and a crumb top. (Photo credit: Flaky Crust Pies Facebook page)
Strawberry Rhubarb Crumn Pie from Flaky Crust Pies in Norton, Mass.

Peanut Butter Brownie Swirl -- a chocolate chess filling, a peanut butter bottom layer and a peanut butter swirl on top.
(Photo credit: Flaky Crust Pies Facebook page)
Peanut Butter Brownie Swirl from Flaky Crust Pies in Norton, Massachusetts.

The Colombian and Portuguese pie -- Colombian style Chorizo and rice made with local Portuguese Chirizo (from Fall River, Mass.), red pepper, tomato, green onion, cumin and other seasonings stuffed into a double pie crust.
(Photo credit: Flaky Crust Pies Facebook page)

Chorico pie from Flaky Crust Pies in Norton, Mass.

Vegetarian pie made with coconut curry sauce, chickpeas, potatoes and carrots.
(Photo credit: Flaky Crust Pies Facebook page)
Vegetarian pie from Flaky Crust Pies in Norton, Mass.

French Meat Pie (another best seller) features a combination of ground beef and pork, onions, garlic, potatoes and a seasoning blend.
(Photo credit: Flaky Crust Pies Facebook page)

French Meat Pie from Flaky Crust Pies in Norton, Mass.

Mike Hardman, an East Bridgewater, Mass., native and veteran local journalist has been singing the praises of Flaky Crust Pies since virtually the beginning of its business.

"It's so nice to see a quality product and business being developed by a young couple," said Hardman. I'm a big pie guy and theirs is one of the best I have ever eaten. My wife, Roseanne, and I took home a chicken pot pie and wished we had taken another one. It was the best one I've had and I can't recommend it enough."

Conclusion

Food being prepared in the kitchen at Flaky Crust Pies in Norton, Mass.
Fresh ingredients on the stove at Flaky Crust Pies.
 
Tasting the sweet and savory pies at Flaky Crust Pies brings up an important point about Ashley's artistry:  You just can't teach this stuff.

While Ashley did attend a culinary university, it is clear that her hard work, intuition and the lifelong process of evolving her craft serve as the main ingredients for her baking brilliance. While some other businesses rest on their laurels --whether it be downgrading to watery broth, Crisco oil, artificial flavors and colors, hydrogenated fats, and imbalanced chicken pies that should be called pea pies -- Ashley knows that customers want something more wholesome and natural.

"We have people saying, 'This is like how grandma used to make pies,'" said Ashley. "We try to be like that, making everything from scratch."

Andres, who has previous retail experience, has been a quick study at Flaky Crust Pies learning the industry and displaying hard work ethic to excel in this new opportunity.

"He helps out so much," said Ashley with great admiration in her voice. "He was born in Colombia and has worked in retail and manufacturing. This is new to him. He is excited to be involved in us trying to attain together the American Dream."

Ashley and Andres feel that have ultimately found a home in Norton where the business is definitely going well and the locals most welcoming.

"It has been great," said Ashley. "People say to us a lot, 'Welcome to Norton, we are so glad you are here!' We are glad that we are here, too!"

Flaky Crust Pies is located at 401 Old Colony Rd., Norton, MA. Tel.  508-455-0607. Log onto the Flaky Crust Web Site and on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for more information.




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Homemade pie goodness from Flaky Crust Pies in Norton, Mass., including chicken, French meat, vegetarian, Chorizo, apple, lemon and mixed berry pies.




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