Pie one on: New cart brings taste of Down Under
In America, the word pie is usually preceded by the name of a fruit– apple, peach, blueberry. It's a different world Down Under where pies are stuffed with meats, vegetables, and just about anything you can think of. After a seven-month trip to Australia in 2009 following his graduation from VCU, Justin Bagley returned home to Charlottesville convinced that his fellow countryfolk would love the pies that sustained him over the course of his travels.
"I ate them every day," says Bagley, 25, who opened The Pie Guy food cart on the Downtown Mall right outside Mudhouse on Monday, April 1.
There are currently seven "meal" pies on the menu including "The Breakfast Pie" filled with bacon, egg and cheese, "The Snake Bite," a mild green curry with chicken and vegetables, and the heartier "Melbourne," chunks of steak in a rich gravy sauce. There are also two vegetarian options– "Ayers Rock," filled with eggplant caprese and "The Boomerang," a vegetarian quinoa chili. And of course, there's dessert: "Tassie Devil Delight," more commonly known as apple pie.
"All our food is sourced from Virginia or from Virginia companies," says Bagley, a Charlottesville High School grad, who notes that certain items including chilis can't be grown locally but that he orders them through Virginia owned companies. He does his prep work and cooks the fillings at the kitchen at Triple C Camp, where he was once a camper, and then bakes the pies on site to keep the pastries hot and flaky.
For a grab-and-go lunch, the pies are a quick and affordable option at $4, and mini-pies will soon be available for $2. Bagley plans to be open Monday to Thursday from 11am to around 8pm, and he'll stick around later on Friday and Saturdays.
Judging from a line that formed on day one, it looks like there may be an as-yet unmet demand for pie.
"The mobile food industry is starting to boom," he says. "Hopefully, I'll be able to expand to multiple carts."
A grand opening happens on Friday, April 19, and Bagley says free pies will fly that night.