There have been a lot of stories about business survival during the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of my favourite comes from Kerri Jones.
She’s the co-owner of Peaked Pies, which had the daunting challenge to open a new restaurant on Hastings in Burnaby Heights just as the pandemic was setting fire to our “normal” way of life.
Well, Peaked Pies is celebrating its one-year anniversary with the ban on in-person dining lifted and case numbers dropping quickly as more people get vaccinated.
They will be celebrating this milestone by giving customers a little bite of Australia when they come in on Thursday, June 24. The first 200 customers will receive a mini lamington cake. The Lamington is a traditional Australian dessert, a small square of vanilla sponge cake, dipped in chocolate and rolled in coconut. Named after Lord Lamington who was the Governor of Queensland in the late 1800s.
Peaked Pies is known for its savoury Australian meat pies that people can get “peaked” with gravy, mushy peas and mashed potatoes.
To mark the occasion, I asked Jones to tell me more about what the past year was like. It’s quite the story.
“A lot of people still ask, ‘Why did you choose to open during COVID?’ The short answer is ‘we didn't have a choice,’” Jones said. “Our lease was signed in 2019, bills were already being paid and construction had started before Covid really hit us in March. We had to open and do our best to navigate the unknown. A few really sad things; we were never able to hold a Grand Opening party and invite the neighbourhood in with a celebration, we have not been able to use our beautiful indoor dining room at its full capacity, which included plans to hold music nights and small events, and we were really looking forward to Hat's Off Day. On the flipside, we couldn't have asked for a better welcome to the neighbourhood with lineups down the street, meeting many locals who have already become regulars and winning Best New Restaurant in the 2021 Burnaby NOW Best of Burnaby awards.
“As a small business owner, and with a 2 year old at home, I've absolutely had panic attacks wondering if we were going to lose everything this year, but we love what we do, and I have the best team who gives me so much energy when I walk into the store. All of our staff are so happy and positive, and we try to create that vibe for our customers as well.
“We really do love the Burnaby Heights neighbourhood and with so many people working from home these days, I think we too were a very welcome new addition. Most of our customers had never heard of Peaked Pies before and were very curious about what we do. As predicted, a lot of people thought we were just another bakery selling fruit pies, but once they came and tried our Aussie pies and sweets, they would bring their friends.”
The most popular pie in their Burnaby store is the Traditional Aussie, which is ground beef, onions and gravy - in Australia this is just called a plain meat pie.
Peaked Pies has recently added a new patio that’s part of the city’s active sidewalks program.
And with the weather getting warmer, Peaked Pies can expect plenty of people to use the patio.
Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.