More than Pies
More than Pies is a retail and wholesale bakery that has been serving Etobicoke residents, cafés, food shops, and farmers' markets since 2009. Previously located at 3261 Lake Shore Blvd W., it has moved just down the road and now operates as an all-in-one bakery, café, and foods market.
When I stop in one Saturday, owner Louise Poulos explains that she relocated in order to offer patrons more space to sit, have a coffee, and enjoy their baked treat or quick lunch. As for the new market element of the business, "I wanted to offer local and organic food to the neighbourhood." She has also made friends with local farmers while selling at farmers' markets, and wants to provide them with a regular retail space.
After settling in, I grab a medium cup of brewed coffee for $1.50 (sourced from Mimico's own Birds and Beans Coffee ), though espresso-based drinks are also available. Perusing the delectable baked goods for sale, including cookies, biscotti, squares, scones, and loaves, my sweet tooth wakes up and starts taking control of my mental faculties. I have to sample some of the treats.
While the peanut butter and ginger cookies are tempting, I opt to try the classic chocolate chip ($1.50 each or $6/5). It's just as a chocolate chip cookie should be: light golden brown, perfectly chewy, with a healthy amount of small but rich chocolate chips. I don't sample the peanut butter doggie cookies, but I'm told they have a devout four-legged following ($5/bag).
Of course, I've got to try some pie. Poulos tells me that they make about 15 varieties, and try to use fresh and local produce as much as possible ($3 for a slice and generally $17 for a 9-inch pie). They're also open to combining flavours and experimenting based on customers' requests. And, she admits, they "go a little crazy with the filling."
Indeed, my slice of warm blueberry peach pie is bursting with glistening, deep purple Ontario blueberries and tender peach slices. The flavours are fresh and natural, not overly sweet, and the lattice top pie crust is light and flaky. Best of all, the pie looks and tastes like something your (very talented) friend or mom could make. Poulos says that's exactly what they're going for — delicious, homemade, and not too fussy.
After resisting the urge to lick my plate clean, I peruse the savoury lunch options and market fare. More than Pies currently offers a soup and sandwich of the day ($3 and $4 respectively), and plans to expand the lunch menu soon to offer a couple soups, salads, sandwiches, and boxed lunches daily, including vegetarian options.
The grocery items for sale are sourced as locally as possible from nearby farms and businesses, and include fresh produce from Warner's Farm in Beamsville, Toronto-based Mad Mexican chips and salsas, Monforte Dairy cheeses, and Staite's Honey from Zephyr, Ontario. For an easy dinner, you can take home More than Pies' own frozen meat pies ($5/small, $15/large), or lasagna from Mississauga's Palma Pasta.
I find myself in no hurry to leave the inviting space, and take advantage of the free wi-fi to hang out a bit. Poulos says that the décor is a lot like her own home, with an eclectic and relaxed style, and it does feel like I'm having coffee in a family kitchen. The store is bright and open, with light cream walls, fun purple accents, and mixed wooden furnishings. From my seat at an antique wooden kitchen table, I can't help but smile at the whimsical farm animal figurines and vases of fresh-picked flowers.
What really makes More than Pies a treat to visit, though, is the staff. "We have such a laugh here, we all love people," says Poulos, and it shows. After talking shop, Poulos and I gab on about growing up in Etobicoke and her upcoming cottage getaway. Poulos and her team attentively serve their customers and catch up with regulars, while boisterous laughter can be heard from the kitchen.
In addition to retail and wholesale, More than Pies does large orders and event catering. I wish I were hosting a big party just as an excuse to sample more pies. For now, I'll settle for a return visit in the near future — the apple pie is calling my name.
More than Pies is currently open Monday to Friday 9-6 and Saturday 9-4, but check the website to confirm.
Photos by Morris Lum