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Sunday, December 16 , 2018, 5:28 am | Fair 42º


Pie Is the Limit for Santa Barbara Bakers Ahead of Thanksgiving

Crushcakes pushes production for first Thanksgiving after acquiring Simply Pies; other bakers also selling out

Shannon Gaston, owner of Crushcakes and Simply Pies, holds a fresh apple pie on Tuesday. The store sold out of pies for Thanksgiving, as did other local bakers.
Shannon Gaston, owner of Crushcakes and Simply Pies, holds a fresh apple pie on Tuesday. The store sold out of pies for Thanksgiving, as did other local bakers. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

For the past few days, bakers at Crushcakes in Santa Barbara have been waking up even earlier than usual, arriving at 2 a.m. in the restaurant’s kitchen to begin making pies to keep up with the demand for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

When Crushcakes owner Shannon Gaston sat down at her Hollister Avenue store, formerly Simply Pies, for a cup of coffee on Tuesday — two days before the holiday — the company had already stopped taking orders.

They’ve been getting orders from all over town and even from the Santa Ynez Valley, a sign that Gaston takes to mean the business decision to acquire the pie shop earlier this year was a good one.

Gaston opened Crushcakes in 2008 and purchased the Simply Pies business in July. Now, in addition to offering all the baked goods and menu items they had before, Crushcakes offers pies. Lots of pies.

Gaston said the kitchen’s three bakers were on track to make 150 pies on Tuesday to keep up with demand.

“I’m shocked,” she told Noozhawk.

The Carpinteria Crushcakes location also was busy making pies and was on the verge of selling out on Tuesday.

“We wanted to focus on quality,” Gaston said, adding that they wanted to uphold the product that Simply Pies was known for, and didn’t commit to as many pies because this is the first Thanksgiving since the store’s merger.

Gaston pulled out a fresh apple pie, with a golden crust and its filling still bubbling underneath, and said that the bakery doesn’t pre-bake anything and nothing is frozen, so each pie is made fresh to order.

The bakery has been making several hundred each day for the past week or so, and bakers worked all through the weekend to keep up with demand.

In addition to the traditional pecan, pumpkin and apple pies, cream pies and chocolate silk are also a hit from the store.

Gaston compared this year’s Thanksgiving pie demand to when Crushcakes began offering treats on Valentine’s Day.

“We had no idea,” she said, adding that far more orders poured in than staff were expecting.

She expects that next year, staff will be able to fill more slots for pies, and the shops will definitely be expecting to serve more during the Christmas holiday.

Vic Pascal, store manager of Jeannine’s Bakery and Restaurant downtown, said that store had also sold out of pies by Tuesday. 

“I think we may have one pecan pie,” he said.

The bakery has turned up the production on pecan and pumpkin pies, and any extra would be available for walk-in orders.

Chris Munkres, supervisor of Renaud’s Patisserie and Bistro in Loreto Plaza, said that the store had been offering pecan, pumpkin and apple pies, though Tuesday was the last day to place Thanksgiving orders.

“Otherwise, they’d have to talk directly to the head baker,” he said. “It’s very much a crunch time.”

He said the bakery would trying to keep their case stocked for walk-ins, however.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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