Pies Plus Cafe
We’ve been serving Calgary from the same location in the Avenida Shopping Centre for over 30 years. Pies Plus Cafe is a family owned business that has been passed on at least once to a new generation of pie makers. Pies Plus Cafe’s claim to fame is its 70 year old double pizza oven and 100 year old commercial pastry mixer. As owner Patrick puts it, “they don’t make ’em like they used too”, and the age of both of these machines is a testament to that statement.
Hello! My name is Patrick and I am one of the proud owners of Pies Plus Cafe. My wife Candace is my partner in life and in business. Its been almost two years of us working together and things are going great. I grew up with the business as it was my dad, Jeff, who started it back in 1987 in Bragg Creek. He then opened a second location in Calgary in 1989 (currently the only one). From the time I was crawling I was surrounded by this business and part of that made me not want to take it over when Mom and Dad started talking of selling. It was just something that I was not interested in. One day that changed and I took a run at being a business owner when I was 19 years old. I figured you have to jump in sometime, why not now? Fortunately for me, my wife and I have been together for almost 16 years and she has stuck out my extreme learning curve of being a new business owner at such a young age. I have owned and operated Pies Plus for nearly 14 years now.
Once I started getting the hang of being my own boss, I learned that I have more bosses than anyone! All of you, our customers are my boss, because if I don’t meet your expectations you will not return and that is the last thing we want. I strive to keep my expectations of myself and of my staff at the very high level that has been associated with Pies Plus for almost a quarter century. That being said, there’s always room to have lots of fun at work and I very much enjoy doing what I do and doing it with the amazing people I work with, many of which end up becoming personal friends even after they cease to be employees.
On a more personal note, I hold a private pilots licence and from time to time terrorize the skies south of Calgary when the weather is nice. I also enjoy SCUBA diving when I can and working on renovating my house currently. I enjoy exercising and riding my mountain bike in the mountains and going for hikes in the back country in summer. In winter, I try and downhill ski whenever I get the chance and like playing pick-up hockey in Priddis with the boys. I also volunteer with Calgary Search and Rescue Association, and I am a volunteer firefighter with Foothills Fire Department. I enjoy the people and training that is provided and the fact that I am able to help people when they really need it. I am a firm believer that you get out of something what you put in, so I try to give anything I do my all because you never know if you’ll have a second chance.
So don’t be afraid to stop and say Hi next time you see me wandering the floor of the restaurant, I love meeting each and every person who comes in and hearing their unique perspective of life. Something about coffee shops and bars…
Hello, my name is Candace and I am the other of the two owners of Pies Plus. After many years working in the service and retail industry, I decided it was time to join my husband in the endeavor of business ownership. And, so far it’s been a blast! Working with him almost every day has its challenges and then there is the overall learning curve of what it is exactly that an owner does. After a few years of working as and owner the learning curve isn’t quite as steep but there is still days where I learn a lot.
My work career started out in the restaurant industry when I was 15. After a couple more restaurants, I moved over to retail at Canadian Tire, then briefly to Wholesale Sports, and the back to Canadian Tire where I remained working for 7 years. After deciding that was long enough, circumstance lead me to discuss buying in as a partner in Pies Plus. I have always loved being in the kitchen and baking especially. Quite often I will make things at home just because I like to. Interacting with customers is one of my favorite parts of what I do, as well as interacting with the other staff.
In my free time I like walking and spending time with the cat, as well as spending time with my family. I enjoy travelling with my sister to various places. (Hoover Dam is in my picture). So any time you stop on in at the Pie shop, feel free to say hi and see how my new lifestyle is going. I look forward to seeing you there!
Hi there! My name is Clare and I’m nineteen. I have been working at Pies Plus for close to 2 years now. During these past two years at Pies Plus I have made incredible friends, learnt a variety of important skills and most importantly made tons of pumpkin pie! If I am not at Pies Plus I’m running, biking, or training for Spartan races with my friends. In the fall I will start my second year of journalism at SAIT and continue to work at Pies Plus, meeting all the amazing people who come into the shop everyday!
My relationship with Pies Plus Cafe started when I met Jeff, June and Patrick at ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’ nursery school where Patrick was one of my students. A few years later I happened to come to Pies Plus with a friend to have coffee. Jeff mentioned that he needed someone to work full time for him. I decided to put my name in and its been 25 years since that day. In case it wasn’t clear, I love what I do or else I wouldn’t have been here for almost two decades! I enjoy interacting with our customers, repeat and new alike. Until I started working here, I never knew how to make pies or pastry at all!
On a personal side I like riding horses and have been doing so for many years. I like summer and being outside, and I like spending time at the drag race track. I am also a proud Grandma of 5 grandchildren so that keeps me going! I have lots to keep me busy but I’m never too busy to say Hi when you come in!
Hello! My name is Nicole, I am 17 years old and just finishing grade 11 at Bishop Carroll High School. Working at Pies Plus has been a great first job, I have loved every part of it! I love spending time in the kitchen and being able to learn new things every single day. The staff are all great to work with, they are all very friendly, kind and make Pies Plus a fun environment to work in. Outside of work I enjoy swimming, spending time at the gym and hanging out with my friends and family
Hi! My name is Madi, I’m 17 and just starting my last year of high school. I’m the newest addition to the pies plus crew so I’ve still got lots to learn, however everyone here has been super kind and helpful to make sure that I succeed. This job has taught me a variety of skills that are useful outside of the work environment as well. Every week I get to learn something new, sometimes it’s hard to remember it all but I’m working on it! Aside from work, I practice an unusual sport called underwater hockey three times a week! This sport has taken me all across the globe and I look forward to continuing my travels while working and finishing up my high school diploma.
Excerpt from a food review on Pies Plus:
“…Pies Plus on the other hand is slightly more expensive at around $19 per pie. This may seem quite high, but let me assure you, you are getting every pennies worth out of these pies. Pies Plus has to use specially made pie plates that are stronger than normal because their pies are so full of filling that they would buckle a normal pie plate under the weight of the fillings. They have to charge a $1.50 deposit on these plates because of the cost of making them, I don’t imagine many get returned because you can’t buy pie plates of this quality in the store for that price.
Pies Plus uses only fresh fruit, and fresh pumpkins in season, and it is not uncommon to see a crate full of apples show up to be hand peeled and cut. During thanksgiving Pies Plus orders more than 2200 pounds of fresh pumpkins that will be hand carved and cleaned, just to fill the thousands of pie orders that come in.
Pies Plus has over 100 pies available, and their apple pie, which is the only pie that maintains its pre-oven shape, stands more than five inches high. Patrick says that all of the pies start out that big, but all of the others cook down to look like normal pies. Interestingly enough, I went to several other bakeries to check out their pies and Patrick’s were the only ones I could find that had a top shaped like a dome instead of flat or convex like a bowl…”