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Baked Goods

The Pie Commission

Posted by Laura Adams / Posted on September 12, 2013

The Pie Commission TorontoThe Pie Commission recently opened along The Queensway in Etobicoke, selling fresh and frozen handheld savoury pies from the walk-up window of its factory outlet facility. Tucked away in the rear of the building, I follow the signs around back to find the bold, impossible-to-miss black and white storefront. A large poster of a bowler hat-wearing, moustachioed gentleman confidently declares that I'm in for some "bloody good pies!"

The Pie CommissionBefore testing the dapper gentleman's claim, I chat with Patrick Blessing, whose wife, Kyra, is one of the owners while he runs the shop. A former banker, Blessing developed his appreciation for savoury pies while spending most of his twenties working in London, England. Blessing's childhood friend and co-owner of the business, Mike Dahm, spent his twenties in another meat pie mecca, Australia. "Given our experiences in England and Australia, we thought this was a food that was missing in Toronto, particularly non-traditional, more gourmet pies," Blessing explains.

The Pie CommissionThe Pie Commission aims to reinvent the handheld savoury pie with a menu that features more traditional meaty fare, like Braised Beef Rib or Beef n' Beer, as well as some exotic twists and vegetarian options, like the Thai Green Curry Chicken Pie and the Not-a-Chicken Pot Pie. You can grab a hot five-inch pie to go for $6.95 (with a side of fries or salad for an extra $2.95), or you can pick up frozen pies to cook at home ($26.95 for a mixed pack of four). Mini pies are also available on custom order. Everything is made from scratch using natural ingredients.

The smell of freshly baked all-butter crust wafts from the take-out window, and I can only resist it for so long. I decide to try the popular Braised Beef Rib Pie, and after only a few minutes, my order is ready from the friendly staff at the window. The weight of the piping hot pie tells me I'm in for something rich and hearty, and I take a seat in one of the outdoor red Muskoka chairs to dig in.

The Pie CommissionThe golden brown and flaky crust tastes, as promised, of real buttery goodness. The beef is cooked with homemade veal stock, and falls apart with tenderness. Flecks of sweet potato provide some colour and sweetness to the filling, and tiny whole mushrooms add to the hearty flavour. The pie is delicious comfort food, pure and simple. Within minutes, all that remains are the flakes of crust at the bottom of the pie sleeve (and covering my lap, if we're being honest).

The Pie CommissionI also pick up a frozen unbaked Kale-icious vegetarian pie to try a couple days later. After about 40 minutes in the oven, my kitchen is filled with the delicious aroma of buttery pie crust, and I'm treated to a "homemade" pie filled with veggies like tender broccoli and leafy green kale, as well as millet and the subtle tang of some goat cheese.

The Pie CommissionBlessing says that after only a few weeks, he already has a fair number of regulars who enjoy the convenience of both the ready-to-eat and frozen pies. Sure enough, as I enjoy my pie around 6 pm, a small crowd has formed outside the walk-up window. Enthusiastic repeat customers eagerly provide menu tips to hungry first-timers, and parents wait to pick up their frozen family dinner, kids in tow.

The Pie CommissionThe Pie Commission is currently open 11-7 on weekdays, but by the end of September, they'll be open 12-7 on weekdays and also on Saturdays from 12-5. Blessing wants to open a second downtown location ASAP, and is considering King West, Liberty Village, or Kensington (where Kanga Pies recently started selling Aussie meat pies). With winter just around the corner, something tells me that this delicious and hearty comfort food will develop a loyal following in Etobicoke and wherever else they open.

The Pie CommissionPhotos by Natta Summerky

Discussion

35 Comments

huh / September 12, 2013 at 12:40 pm
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These dont look anything like Aussie meat pies.
E. Toby Coke replying to a comment from huh / September 12, 2013 at 12:45 pm
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Well, it does say they set out to "reinvent" the pies, not do authentic ones.
Emma / September 12, 2013 at 01:15 pm
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I had the braised beef pie- Amazing! You HAVE To go. Seriously it's really good. SERIOUSLY!
designer gal / September 12, 2013 at 01:24 pm
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Great identity / signage design!
Patrick / September 12, 2013 at 01:56 pm
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Hi there. We're not, nor do we try to be an Aussie meat shop. Our pastry is very different than what any Aussie would be used to from their homeland. We Toronto born and raised and just try to make homemade, good quality savoury pies.
McRib / September 12, 2013 at 02:22 pm
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this country certainly needs to get more serious about meat pies, and I applaud any attempt to do so.

Alex / September 12, 2013 at 02:27 pm
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Some mash and gravy would make these pies even better.

The chips are amazing though, like proper british chip shop chips!!
huh replying to a comment from Patrick / September 12, 2013 at 02:32 pm
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Fair enough, I can respect that.

Look forward to trying your pie soon.
andy416 replying to a comment from huh / September 12, 2013 at 02:35 pm
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I've had Aussie meat pies at Harry's in Sydney, supposedly the most famous spot there. If it's anything to go by, I hope the Pie Commission reinvents their offering with a more flavourful crust and filling. What I had at Harry's was barely edible.
Aid / September 12, 2013 at 02:57 pm
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They do really great pies, but should I be concerned about going to a pie shop below a barber/hairdresser?
Michael replying to a comment from Aid / September 12, 2013 at 03:01 pm
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What's your concern?
jameson / September 12, 2013 at 03:10 pm
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Good timing, I saw this place last night driving on the Queensway and wondered what it was! Will have to check it out.

The Queensway is slowly turning into an actual destination...wow.
Aid replying to a comment from Michael / September 12, 2013 at 03:12 pm
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweeney_Todd
cathie / September 12, 2013 at 04:26 pm
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The Chowhounders are loving this place. Looking forward to giving them a try.
Descharmes / September 12, 2013 at 04:37 pm
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This place is actually incredible! Our savoury pie culture is tragically underdeveloped, only with tourtiere and cipaille. A cold British country like us needs to warm our souls with pie!
Rick replying to a comment from McRib / September 12, 2013 at 04:39 pm
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I conquer
Norm replying to a comment from huh / September 12, 2013 at 04:42 pm
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And that is a really good reason to get out there and try them!
Norm replying to a comment from huh / September 12, 2013 at 04:43 pm
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That was supposed to be a reply to huh, who said they did not look anything like an Aussie pie
SERIOUSLY AMAZING!! / September 12, 2013 at 09:17 pm
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truly BLOODY GOOD PIES!!! fairly priced for delicious, fresh, flavourful pies. Butter chicken is TO DIE FOR and Kale-licious will satisfy even the die-hard carnivore!! So glad this is close to my parents' house.
Nikki / September 12, 2013 at 11:08 pm
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People are raving about these pies for a reason!! Seriously insane. My fiance was speechless when he tucked into the braised beef pie. Can't wait for the gluten free!
chemical_echo / September 13, 2013 at 06:10 am
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This will be perfect next time I'm hungry before a movie. Looking forward to trying one.
Nancy / September 13, 2013 at 11:38 am
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I tried the Beer and Beef pie.I was only going to eat !/2 but it was so good I ate it all.I asked myself was it worth the extra weight watcher points and it certainly was.You Goota try it
Sonja / September 13, 2013 at 03:00 pm
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Good for you guys, I'm an Aussie and I've always wanted to open an Aussie Pie shop in TO... I'll be def coming down to have a try!
Pie fan / September 16, 2013 at 12:46 pm
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Hope your business does well so you can support your son. Best if luck.
Michelle / September 16, 2013 at 01:41 pm
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Just tried a pie today. Delish! I see you have a son as well. I have 2. Good luck to you, your wife & son on your new business.
Rosie / September 16, 2013 at 05:49 pm
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We had the beer and beef pies today and they were amazing. I loved how the beer was a Great Lakes lager, a local brewery just down the street. Really worth a try, a great lunch for under $10.
Robin / September 17, 2013 at 05:15 pm
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Welcome to the neighborhood. Glad to see the slowly growing list of deliciousness get better and better each season in South Etobicoke.

Oh, and the pie is delicious.
Sandra / September 29, 2013 at 07:15 pm
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I continue to spread the word about these two great new additions to the neighbourhood. I came across The Pie Commission after a trip to Tresses, the salon above their window. Both are outstanding. Great hair and a great dinner all in one trip. Worth becoming a regular to both!!
Certgirl / September 30, 2013 at 07:36 am
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Is there any added sugar to any of the pies, whether it be in the ingredients or crust?
ozgal / January 10, 2014 at 10:57 pm
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As an Australian sitting in Australia they look like Australian pies to me!! I can't do the taste test from here. I've never had a Harry's Pie so I don't know what they are like, but I think it's possibly a "must do" to have a pie there because of it's status related to the outlet's longevity as much as the quality of the pie. Harry's is a part of Sydney's history.
Rick / January 10, 2014 at 11:05 pm
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yup been here as well and the pies are incredible. super tasty and flakey and chewy pastry.
Urbane / January 13, 2014 at 03:27 pm
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This city has long needed a pie and mash shop like in London England.. Let's hopes this lasts and then expands. For years and years, the best meat pies in town came from the church ladies bake sales. I used to order a dozen at a time and freeze them. Always perfect. And....I know which religion makes the best ones although all are pretty good. Send money and I'll tell all.

By the way, these pies look damn good. Good luck now.
Jerry / May 16, 2014 at 01:36 pm
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One of the worst places ever!! Heard from people what a great pie shop! No! It's not a great pie shop if all you're after is vegetables and mashed potatoes. Yesterday, May 15th, I tried the 'braised beef rib pie' at an atrocious $7.95. Perhaps one tablespoon of mean was to be found. Not wanting to judge on one pie, I tried their 'chicken cheddar bacon mash'... where's the bacon? Where's the cheddar?? Sorry, effective as of now, they should be called The Pie Out-of-Commission!
Vegan Goddess / August 26, 2014 at 02:11 pm
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I just wanted to say you people are atrocious! Not only are you not vegan friendly, but you flaunt your horrendous and vile flesh devouring and disgusting lifestyle on the rest of us!
robert / September 12, 2014 at 10:08 am
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@Jerry, really?? one of the worst places ever?? $7.95 is atrocious?? You're a real piece of work! Enjoy your frozen pie from NoFrills. @Vegan what do you mean by "the rest of us"? Don't cast me into your foolish beliefs.

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