Hello, San Diego! We are Pop Pie Co, a fresh-to-def pie shop in University Heights, and we want to serve you delicious, delectable, and innovative pies. We are committed to finding interesting ingredients from quality sources, to being consistent in our amazing product while continuously elevating our craft, and to being good neighbors for our San Diego community. We’re stoked to be here. It’s been an amazing ride. Pop Pie Co. was brought to life when our two founders Steven Torres and Chef Gan Suebsarakham realized the next great comfort food revival would be our most celebrated and distinctly patriotic pastry – American pie.
Speaking of - as we celebrate Independence Day over the next few days, Pop Pie Co. reflects on good old American opportunity. Cuban-Mexican Steven Torres and Thai Chef Gan Suebsarakham have the chance to be American entrepreneurs because of their initiative, hard work, and dedication – some of our country’s most cherished ideals. The fact that Chef Gan could dream in Khon Kaen – the Northeastern side of Thailand close to Laos – of bringing his love of food into a bricks-and-mortar shop here in the States, is a testament to the American dream. A dream that welcomes visionaries from far-off places to our shores and rewards hard-working optimists.
In bringing this dream to life, we were certainly tested. Attempting to return from a brief home visit in the middle of his U.S. culinary baking program, Chef Gan found his student visa was not renewed on the basis that cooking school was not deemed a legitimate academic goal! In his time of crisis, Chef Gan thought about his love of San Diego, and his desire to make his family proud, especially his mother who worked hard to give him the opportunity to go to the states. Thankfully, National University’s MBA program accepted him, allowing him to come back.
Meanwhile, Steven, the numbers and accounting mind of the Pop Pie Co. operation, moved back to North Park from San Antonio where he'd been living for two years, after his mother was diagnosed with a mild form of Lupus. Upon completion of his double-business majors at Central Washington University, he entered into banking and finance, first living in Seattle for a decade, then Texas. By the time he took his career to San Diego - Steven came to realize he was ready to apply his fantastic understanding of business ownership to something connected to his passions. Not too long into the move back, Steven met Gan. Today, we know and believe that everything happens for a reason.
We discussed a few ideas because our Chef Gan is a fantastic chef. Ultimately, he kept returning to pie. In Thailand there’s a huge Australian influence and one of Chef Gan’s favorite restaurants was a pie shop called Pie Face, a famous pie shop based out of Australia. It seemed like everywhere but here in San Diego there is a specialty shop dedicated to the art of pie making. We merged our love for cooking, coffee, and entrepreneurship with the business background we both have. All of those challenging circumstances prepped us for founding Pop Pie Co.
We feel there's a lack of exposure for pie here. It's not just a holiday food, but a staple of the home kitchen, a meal that hundreds of thousands around the world live by every day. That's what allows us to be creative with it. We pull flavors from around the globe. We love testing the limits of what can go in a pie, and it all starts with the signature all-butter crust Chef Gan worked hard to perfect.
True to America’s melting pot of cultures, we’ve done quite a few flavors inspired by San Diego's ethnic diversity. Our Red Chile Pork Pie was inspired by a family tamale recipe, and the Green Hog and Cheese is also inspired by Mexican flavors; our Green Curry Chicken, Taro, and our seasonal Five-Spice BBQ Pork Pie are inspired by Asian cuisine; and we use Indian spices in our Veggie Curry Pie. We also wanted to stay true to the traditional pies, like our Steak & Ale, Shepherd’s Pie, and Classic Chicken Pot Pie, which are inspired by American, British and South African cultures. Of course we put our own twist on all our pies because, well, that’s what we do! To top it all off, every pie is handmade from scratch, in house, and baked fresh every day.
We are only weeks away from opening our doors at 4404 Park Boulevard. Pretty soon the scent of our signature all-butter crust will be wafting through University Heights as our savory and sweet pies get golden brown by the dozens. Our opportunity to innovate recipes, craft them to perfection, and pass an opportunity along to you to try our pies is not just business for us. It is life. It is liberty. It is the pursuit of happiness. It is good old American opportunity. We are all about it.