Chef Matt Wilkinson has made the move south, opening a second branch of his much-loved The Pie Shop in the Collins Place food court in the Melbourne CBD.
Though its location in the open-air food hall doesn't quite match charm of the original Brunswick East store, the star pastry attractions remain the same.
"We still use beautiful buttery pastry, free-range and grass-fed beef, and free-range pork and chicken," says Wilkinson. The full range of pies, named after a friend or family member of Wilkinson, will be available at the CBD store. "We named the chunky beef pie after Allen, our original beef supplier. It's a pie we created for him and all the others who wanted a plain beef pie," he says.
The growth of Wilkinson's pie business has always been grounded in common sense. In 2017, after pursuing a pie-baking side-hustle for his friend's market stall, he spied an empty space next to his now-closed cafe Pope Joan. "I googled the name 'The Pie Shop' and no one had it. I thought: this is meant to be," he says. The Brunswick East pie shop opened that year.
In January, Wilkinson revived Pope Joan for a three-month pop-up in the CBD. "I saw how crazy busy the city is and how many people are actually in central Melbourne. When this site next to Kino [Cinemas] became available, I thought: hell yeah, let's try it," says Wilkinson. "For a food court, it's not really 'food-courty' because of the beautiful light and the structure and architecture of the building."
There are six savoury pies on the menu including The Shazza (cauliflower cheese and potato, The Bruce (cheese and spaghetti Bolognese), The Norma (butter chicken and rice), and The Uncle Pete, Wilkinson's version of a breakfast pie filled with jalapeño-spiced baked beans, cheese and egg. There's also a free-range pork sausage roll (The Graham) and a selection of sweet pies by the slice.
As for his plans for the future, Wilkinson wants to add mushy peas, gravy and mash to the menu. And possibly one more store.
"We've always wanted to grow The Pie Shop to maybe three stores, but no more than that. Life's pretty crazy as it is," he says. "But I think it fits beautifully into Collins Place. I'm really happy with it."