Bridgette McAbee 

"It's all about keeping the quality up. A lot of people don't care as much about pies as I do."

Bridgette McAbee

George Prentice

Bridgette McAbee

Bridgette McAbee grew up around restaurants.

"I was doing dishes when I could barely reach the sink," she said. "My first memory as a young girl was wanting to open my own restaurant someday."

That said, she studied interior design in college. But each time she returned to her Florida home, she worked in her father's restaurant at every available opportunity. And when the time came for her to pursue that dream, she decided she needed to go west.

"I just got into a car with my son, and we started driving," she recalled.

Today, more than a few Boise customers are happy she drove through Idaho.

"I saw that you didn't have a real pie shop. I'm not talking about a place that sells pies that have been frozen. I'm talking about a real pie shop," said McAbee.

Indeed, Boise Pie Co. is the very definition of a "real pie shop." And in a rare moment when she wasn't making pies, Boise Weekly got McAbee to sit still long enough to talk about her personal and professional passion, and how she'll juggle Boise's demands for non-stop pies for the holidays.

Did you have a business plan mapped out when you opened?

Not really. I knew I wanted to open a year ago about this same time, right before Thanksgiving. I wasn't sure how successful I would be. I just started making pies.

Word-of-mouth spread pretty quickly about this place.

It really did. We've been busy since the moment we opened. I really didn't have to advertise.

How many pies are coming out of your ovens on any given day?

Probably 20. We'll always have savory pies: chicken pot pies, shepherd's pie, a quiche and sometimes I bake a mac and cheese. Plus, we'll always have homemade soup. And then we'll have about 15 or so different sweet pies. I also do whoopie pies. That's a southern thing—two cakes with a buttercream filling.

It's important to note that your menu also has a few sandwiches.

We roast our own turkey, make fresh chicken salad, homemade meatballs for sliders, we roast mojo pork from Tampa, Florida, for our Cuban sandwich and of course, we bake our own bread for that.

What have been your holiday best-sellers?

A lot of pumpkin, apple and pecan. But our most popular is Key lime.

What's the secret to a perfect Key lime?

I actually have the limes shipped in from Key West, Florida. I squeeze them all by hand.

Talk to me about your pie flight. I'm assuming it's a bit like a beer flight.

You can try three slices of different pies for $10.95.

You've got a pretty busy operation. How many of you are baking pies at any given moment?

I'm the only one baking pies.

Wait a minute... what? Pardon me, but what happens if you get hit by a bus? What happens if you get sick?

I know. It's pretty scary. But I don't get sick.

Are all these pie recipes in your head?

My grandma taught me, plus a I use a few more of mom's recipes.

And the secret to a perfect crust?

Cold, cold ice water.

What does that mean?

As you're mixing your flour, you slowly add very cold water, bit by bit. It makes it perfectly flaky.

Are you making pies for restaurants yet?

I would eventually like to have an off-site location where I can make more pies. Yes, I've already been asked by a number of restaurants.

For goodness sakes, you need to start teaching other people your secret recipes. Especially if your business is only going to get bigger.

Yes, I know. Believe me, that's the big picture. But it's all about keeping the quality up. A lot of people don't care as much about pies as I do.

I'm afraid to ask when you start your day.

Four a.m.

Can I try some Key lime pie while we're talking?

I'll cut you a slice. You'll probably notice a lot of other places have Key lime pie that's green. That's food coloring. Mine is purer.

It practically smells like I'm in Key West.

And too many other Key lime pies are a bit too firm. This is a lot creamier.

What's your son's favorite pie?

The Key lime of course.

And yours?

Sugar cream. It takes me back to my childhood.

Well, I'll just have to try that, too.

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