Home dessert delivery service The Pie Piper has combined their love of authentic food and community support within their soon-to-open flagship store. The original home delivery service offered American sweet pies, and has recently opened a doughnut-themed delivery service as well, appropriately titled: Doornuts.
Both businesses are run by a lovably eccentric mother-daughter team that are striving to bring authentic American cuisine into Auckland’s growing food-obsession.
The store is located on 321 Karangahape Road and currently outside resembles something akin to ‘work in progress’ constructional disarray. However, past the thick cardboard makeshift walls, inside is a business waking up preparing to kick some culinary ass.
Danielle Butler, the owner of The Pie Piper and Doornuts, says that the creation of both the two business was a combination of good timing and a lucky fluke.
“We did beta testing of our products at the markets and they’d sell out in about an hour, it all just took off and everyone was excited, it’s nice to see people excited about food.”
Butler says that their business thrives on community and getting others involved where they can.
“I think that the New Zealand general public are starting to get smarter with their food, like understanding that good food takes time and that buying local is supporting your community and that process.”
The online store has continued to grow as the team moves into the physical sector, and even though the company has so forth operated solely in the digital marketplace, they have a loyal customer base that they are looking forward to meeting once the physical store opens.
“Previously we’ve only been able to sell through online and the markets,” says Butler. “So we’re really excited to get things going. We’ve got a really great, loyal fan base. I feel like they’re almost extended family a lot of them.”
A three-generation involved business means that staff involvement and relations fall hard on trust factors and a general consensus to see the business thrive.
From Left: Suzanne and Danielle Butler have been working hard hours to bring t
“I think that the thing for us is family is very important, all of our staff that have come onboard for me they’re all part of the extended family,” Butler says. “Most of my recipes have been based off recipes that my mother had or my grandmother had, or my dad.”
Mother, Danielle Butler and her daughter Suzanne Butler have been on the premises only since February 1, after moving centrally from their first production kitchen in Manukau City. Due to the store not having a front door or windows things have, unsurprisingly, remained closed.
But behind three solid timber makeshift walls, there is a whole kitchen pumping away, churning out pies and doughnuts at a surprising rate. The white and red tiles combined with marble benchtops and neon signage show a lot of promise that when this place opens it will be truly one of a kind.
Suzanne Butler, who has grown up with the business since she was 17, says that a business should first consider the community it’s based within.
“Growing up within a business it shows to me that you choose your family, sure you’re born with blood relatives but you choose your family. We want anyone who is involved with this to know it’s not just business. There is too much business in Auckland. But you need community, and how better to create that sense then around food.”
The ladies list off the places around central Auckland and the owner’s names of each one, complimenting their food and showing that they themselves are working hard to solidify their own space within the community.
“One thing about Auckland is that there is a fantastic food network,” Danielle says. “The people we’ve come in contact with in the last few years are just fantastic people who just inspire us to do better.”
The Pie Piper, located on 321 Karangahape Road, specialises around an American style dinner. Offering cabinet pies in flavors such as Key Lime, Smores, Pecan, and Salted Caramel Apple Pie.
The kitchen will also be providing authentic American style doughnuts, with Strawberry Cheesecake, Blueberry Crumble, Maple Bacon and Peanut Butter Jelly among others it’s no wonder that the number of doughnuts leaving the store each day is more than either of the Butler women can count.
When the store opens, it will also be offering a short deli inspired savory menu, including eventual gluten free options.
Sticking to the American diner feel, the store offers only filtered coffee. “If someone wants a latte then fine,” says Danielle. “But you’re in the wrong shop.”
The 65-square meter store is a small space but compared to most the other boutique shops located in on K Road it fits in rather well. And although it’s small space the kitchen has the ability to churn out 2,500 doughnuts a day.
K Road offers a different range of cultured places to dine and shop at, but there is definitely a lack of authentic American options, both the Butler girls say they’re excited to educate about their products.
Suzanne acknowledges that Kiwis are not exactly ‘up-to-date’ with American food. And as Kiwis’ consume an average of 66 million meat pies per year it’s not a wonder their sweet pies have taken four years to stop receiving questionable looks.
“It has taken a lot of time,” says Suzanne. “When we first started at markets we had to explain what they are. And that’s what it’s been about. It’s been about educating people and teaching what we’re doing along with this food. It about working together, I think it’s taken people about four years to get their heads around sweet pies.”
The ladies are all about having fun within the kitchen and sharing their infectious good attitude with the people they serve. Catering to Auckland food obsessive demands the kitchen are working on doughnuts that fit into dietary requirements, but only if the flavors work.
“People might come in with expectations, but at the end of the day people will learn who we are,” says Danielle. “We don’t want to exclude people just because they have dietary requirements, for me if I can get something going that’s super tasty I’ll put in the cabinet.”
Danielle, who has been experimenting in the kitchen longer than most, says that every day is a learning curve and that the best often comes from the least expected.
“We’re developing a Jägermeister doughnut, and it can taste pretty vile if you add it to the wrong thing. But, more often than not I tend to kind of accidentally get it right. I get excited about getting to experiment with flavors in the kitchen.”
The multicultural authenticity of their kitchen brings in flavors from all corners of the globe. A family run and all-inclusive business that threatens to lock bad staff (jokingly) in an underground storage vault they call the ‘doughnut dungeon’.
Lucky for some their kitchen is also hiring, looking for experienced bakers to help them grow their business.
Even though the retail store somewhat resembles a hot, albeit deliciously scented, cooking cave, the Butler girls’ spirits are cautiously optimistic as they gear up for the expected opening in three weeks.
Anxious to get the place up and running, the girls have even been fueling the builders outside with doughnuts in an effort to get them to move faster.
The delay in construction hasn’t put a damper on spirits, as the employees inside bustle with anticipation to showcase their hard work to consumers.
“To make a long story short we’re having a lot of fun here,” Danielle says. “The key points are we love what we do, we’re passionate about the food community, we’re just wanting to have fun and have our customers have fun as well”
Suzanne agrees with the goal to have excitement in all that they put out, expressing that “we’re good food, not fast food. Just have a doughnut and relax.”
“Or you’ll be put in the doughnut dungeon,” agrees Danielle.
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