Pork Chile Verde. Photo by Breonca Trofort
So you've heard the hype and made the trek up to Church Hill only to find your dreams of culinary comfort forestalled by a line out the door and down the block? Don't fret — you'll be inside the sparkling mint-and-stainless-steel interior soon enough. Watch while you wait, and you might just learn something.
The concerted efforts of all those folks in the open bakery, loading speed racks with trays of little hand-rolled and -shaped pie shells to fill, to top, to bake and finally to place in the glass cases in front are almost enough to keep up with demand. Maybe fret a little; they do sell out daily. The secret to the success of the operation is also its limiting factor — the time it takes to make each pie by hand. But don't worry, the big guy with the tatts in the middle of it all overseeing everything with a watchful eye and leading by example is New Zealand native Neil Smith (co-owner along with wife Nikki Price), churning out baked goods as fast as humanly possible.
And now here you are at the counter — see, that didn't take long at all. And they still have pies! Lots of pies! So now the real dilemma — note the big board above you: "Per person limit: six savories and four sweet pie slices." The chicken and kumara (New Zealand's sweet potato) and pork chile verde appeal to the carnivore in you. Cornish pasties and sausage rolls call out their authenticity in thick accents. Curried lentil and spinach might just get you to consider veganism. And the sweet, sweet pies: the earthy cinnamon in chocolate chess, the hearty complexity of cheddar-apple, the pungent tang of mixed-berry streusel. What to choose, what to choose?
Don't panic, no pressure — order whatever sounds good; you really can't go wrong. Just be sure to leave with maximum sackage (which will set you back 40 bucks or so and serve as a hearty dinner and dessert for four). Consider leaving a tip; you can see how many folks are hustling to make this quick and easy. … "Haere Mai!"
Proper Pie Co.
2505 E. Broad St., 343-7437, facebook.com/ProperPieCo
Prices: $2 to $6 per slice
Hours: noon to 7 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, closed Monday and Tuesday