By Almeera Anwar
Many people in Wallingford are familiar with the local food trucks that serve cuisine from across the world, and soon 314Pie will be added to that list. They’ll be cooking up New Zealand and Australian style pies, many in traditional savory flavors such as steak and onion, lamb and mushroom and even some green curried vegetables.
The idea to serve up these authentic pies to local Seattle residents came out of years of traveling to Antarctica, according to Deke Kotrla, one of 314Pie’s founders. He was working in IT and traveled there for business, always having layovers in New Zealand where he would look forward to consuming these savory pies any chance he could.
“They’d be equivalent to the hot dogs you get in gas stations here in America, they’re just everywhere!” Said Kotrla, “But they are always so much more delicious than the hot dogs you get at gas stations here. They’re also popular in bakeries and we are modeling ours off the more traditional New Zealand bakery ones.”
Casey Cooper, Kotrla’s old friend and future business partner, had studied culinary arts and was working in bakeries around Seattle, such as Julia’s Bakery and the Tom Douglas Bakery, while Kotrla was in Antarctica. But Cooper had wanted to start a bakery of his own and was in the middle of looking for a location when Kotrla reached out. Cooper quickly convinced Kotrla that they could merge their passions into one concept. After they realized that finding a location would be difficult given the real estate market, they decided to be even more entrepreneurial and start a food truck.
So far the two have seen a lot of success and have enjoyed compiling new recipes along the way. As Kotrla says, “I love that you can take any recipe for a classic stew, thicken it up and put it in a pie. You can put basically anything that tastes good with a bowl and a spoon and know it will taste even better in a pie shell.”
To help the launch they started a Kickstarter and have raised $9,187 of their $10,000 goal through donations from 236 backers, as of Tuesday afternoon. The money from this Kickstarter campaign will help them to finish the food truck itself, such as giving it a new coat of paint and special ordering propane tanks from England.
Photo by Deke Kotrla
They have now been planning for about six months and are just waiting for the last of the fix-ups to the truck and for the final paperwork for the licensing process before they can officially begin selling. They hope to start in Wallingford and eventually branch into other locations around Seattle neighborhoods.
Kotrla says it’s been interesting to introduce Americans to the classic New Zealand meat pies, noting that many people in the U.S. grew up with chicken pot pies that were taken out of the freezer and popped into a microwave or oven, but that was pretty much it.
“We’re not unfamiliar with the idea of pies, but usually when people hear the word ‘pie’ they expect an apple pie or a fruit pie and we’re hoping people don’t come up to the truck and expect that.”
Kotrla expects the food truck and pies to be a successful here in Seattle based on the warmth and comfort they offer. He notes that food trucks are popular in the summer but tend to go into hibernation for the winter since people don’t venture outside as much. However, since these pies are hearty and warm, he hopes they’ll be worth the trek outside.
“It may take a while for people to get used to it since it’s new, but I know that once people try them they are going to love them,” says Kotrla, “It’s just a matter of getting them to take that first bite.”
Photos above: first of Casey Cooper, taken by Joshua Meisels. Second of Deke Kotrla, taken by Casey Cooper