UNDERHILL, Vt. (WCAX) – If the Poorhouse Pie pickup parlor in Underhill looks different to you, it’s because it is. And it’s hardly the only upgrade to this beloved business.
Every day, Suzanne Tomlinson and her staff work in their brand new, industrial kitchen, pumping out about 100 pies a day. It’s a stark contrast from the popular but well-kept secret — Poorhouse Pies used to be run out of a garden shed.
“In the old pie shed was a sign that said, ‘If you want us to keep making pie, please don’t share us on Facebook and social media — just because they were at their capacity,” Tomlinson said.
Tomlinson has no pie background, but she was looking to open a restaurant in Jericho. “This building came up for sale and I was talking with my husband and I said, ‘That might be a great place for a little cafe, maybe catering,’” she said.
She consulted her friend — and original Poorhouse Pies owner — Jamie Eisenberg about it. “And she said, ‘I think it’s a great building, but I think you should buy Poorhouse Pies and move it over there.’ And I said, ‘I didn’t know you were selling.’ And she said, ‘Well, we’ve been thinking about it for years. We wanted to wait until the right person came along and we think you’re the right person,’” Tomlinson said.
After the shock wore off, Tomlinson agreed, secured their new building on Route 15, and got to work. Her husband, Jon Leblanc, comes from the family that owns Quality Bakeshop in Essex Junction. He owns a construction company and promised he’d build her a bakery. He did it in 36 days.
In the meantime, Tomlinson learned the Poorhouse secrets and got ready to open. “It was just a huge honor, I felt like I was being passed the pie,” she said. They’ve been open for about two weeks and though it’s a new building with a new boss, the pies have the same cult following. “We’ve sold out every day since we opened. We’ve had a line out the door. One day we sold out in half an hour.”
The difference is, with a kitchen estimated to be 10 times the size of the original, Tomlinson says they’re poised to meet the demand… and then some. “I’m grateful to the community for backing us. Everyone is like, ‘We want you to stay here.’ So, they’re coming out in droves for pie,” she said.
Poorhouse Pies was well known for their donuts in their old location, too. While they’re not available at the new spot quite yet, the fryer is in, and once the hood arrives sometime in February, they hope to offer them once again.
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