Rob Morrow and Christine Carr thought they'd found the perfect place to settle when they landed in Boulder. A native of New Zealand, Morrow met Carr twenty years ago, when both were working in the natural-products industry; they soon found themselves compatible as partners in both business and life.
After road-tripping across the United States, they settled in Boulder, attracted by the educational system and vibrant sense of community. But for Morrow, the town was still missing something: the pies of his homeland.
Unlike most pies in this country, New Zealand's pies are usually savory, stuffed with meat and sauce. A convert to the style, Carr found that their small size and portability made them the perfect on-the-go meal...and the basis for a business.
Working together, they cooked up the idea of Tip Top Savory Pies.
“Both Rob and I have backgrounds in business, which has helped us a lot. It is really taking all our skills and rolling it into one for that magic formula,” explains Carr. “Having a partner makes it easier to start a business, too. We both have strengths, and we're coming together, playing off those strengths together.”
One of Carr's strengths included her culinary experience. Trained as a chef at the now-defunct French Culinary Institute in New York, she developed the perfect flaky pastry for the pies, conquering the challenge of high-altitude baking. The Tip Top Savory Pies crust is made with just four ingredients: flour, butter, water and salt. But each pie has its own personality, thanks to the fillings.
There's a New Zealand steak-and-cheese pie, an Indian Chicken curry pie, a seasonal ratatouille pie and even breakfast versions made with bacon, green chili or sausage. In addition to the savory lineup, Tip Top makes sweet pie, including an apple brown butter pie made with vanilla and tart Granny Smith apples. They didn't stop at pies, either: From the start, Tip Top Savory Pies offered sausage rolls with the flaky pastry wrapped around fresh Boulder Sausage.
In 2017, Morrow and Carr began selling their creations at Boulder coffee shops as well as the Denver Distillery. As the business took off, they opened the Pie Shack, a hole-in-the-wall shop at 105 North Public Road in Lafayette with a walk-up window, outdoor seating, hot pies to go and take-and-bake pies. When the pandemic hit, they focused on frozen pies and delivery.
“Pies are very emotional," Carr says. "They remind people of home, of family. Everybody has a pie story, and that's what kept us going."
Going so strong that on May 1, Tip Top Pies opened a second shop, Pie Alley, at 6565 Gunpark Drive.
This spot is bigger and has both indoor and outdoor seating; when they're done with their pie, people can hang out and play darts or chess. The menu has also expanded to include New Zealand ice cream, homemade craft soda and an extensive coffee selection. Pies range in price from $8.50 to $11.50, and gluten-free and vegetarian options are available on request.
Carr and Morrow hope to open at least two more restaurants in Colorado within the year; eventually, they may introduce the concept in other states. “We are a Boulder company, and we want to grow within Colorado first," notes Carr. "Anywhere where there is a healthy outdoor lifestyle. It’s a slow food, not a fast food."
The Pie Shack is located at 105 North Public Road in Lafayette; the phone number is 720-845-2155. Pie Alley is at 6565 Gunpark Drive, Unit D, in Boulder; the phone number is 720-379-3670. Both locations are open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Find more information at tiptopsavorypies.com.
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