Dub Pies’ founder and chief pie-man hails from New Zealand (by way of a very short stint in Liverpool as a baby), where meat pies are the unofficial national dish.
Gareth, a former radio DJ and live music venue manager with a master’s degree in psychology, had been doing his time in the corporate world since moving to the US in 1996. Realising his heart wasn’t in it, he took voluntary redundancy, moved to New York City and got a job as a taxi driver, hoping it would give him some interesting tales for the book he’d always dreamed of writing.
He’d been doing the graveyard shift for two weeks when the September 11 attacks knocked the city sideways. Knowing his managerial skills could be put to better use helping his adopted hometown, he gladly swapped his yellow cab for a job at a disaster assistance centre, where he managed the counselors working directly with survivors of the tragedy.
It was an intense time. “After a year, I had nothing left in me,” says Gareth. Emotionally and physically exhausted, he travelled back to New Zealand for a break, and found himself tucking into the hearty comfort food of his home country, while plotting his next move back in the Big Apple.
“I was eating four or five pies every day. And it hit me just like that — pies might be the answer to my question. In fact, pies might just be the answer to every question ever asked!”
Gareth knew then his reawakened appetite for pies had, all along, been delicious research for what was to become his new mission: to bring New Zealand’s ultimate comfort food to the masses. “They say you should choose something you’re passionate about,” he says. “The only idea that really made any sense to me was pies.”
Gareth studied pie-making under New Zealand’s top bakers, and came back to New York to set up his own peripatetic bakery in a Lower East Side kitchen in 2003 before hopping to several other Manhattan locations. His first Brooklyn storefront and café opened its doors in 2005. He later moved the café from Red Hook to Windsor Terrace, bringing authentic Kiwi pies, southern hemisphere-style flat white coffees and delicious lamingtons to the south-west corner of Prospect Park.
The Pie Shop is in the very same store used as the location for Smoke, the 1995 film starring Harvey Keitel, written by legendary novelist and Brooklyn resident Paul Auster.
Dub Pies can be found in pubs and cafes all over New York, and the Dub delivery and catering service ensures no New York pie lover has to go without a fix of their favourite savoury treat.