Upper Crusts

Could it be the lingering effects of British Olympics fever? Or… a savory spin on fruit pies? Either way, meat pies are piping hot

Photograph by Misha Gravenor

If dessert pie is the new cupcake, then the meat pie could be this year’s gourmet burger. Lately many of L.A.’s premier chefs have taken on the British and Australian convenience food, elevating the humble snack to a high-end >

meal-in-one. Meat pies may not be on any 7-Eleven shelves, but these warm, dough-wrapped, protein-packed delights—known in these parts as potpies—are no less comforting and, for chefs, no less inspirational.

“I find them really fun,” says Casey Lane, who calls his new downtown gastropub, the Parish, an “ode to En-glish drinking foods.” His pies are filled with such delicacies as pig’s head and wrapped in thick crusts made with suet, or beef fat. “I love these kinds of dishes. They’re a complete meal.”

Culver City’s British-inflected Waterloo & City always includes at least one pie on the menu. “It’s the classic workingman’s food,” says chef Brendan Collins. “Every time I eat one, I feel sort of manly and hardy.” His offerings change seasonally, and with cooler weather comes a decadent riff: a roasted marrowbone peeking out the top.

“It’s our national food, as much as we’ve got one,” says Australian chef Rob Theaker of 3rd Street’s Simplethings Sandwich & Pie Shop, where the perspective is distinctly Down Under. He roasts organic, free-range chickens for the curry-spiced potpie and finesses varieties made with portobello mushroom or steak and lager.

If you prefer yours to go, there’s Pig & Pastry, a frozen line from Lindy & Grundy’s Melissa Cortina that uses the butcher shop’s high-quality meat. “I sort of fell into meat pies as a consequence of my dual passions for baking and butchering,” says Cortina. Her chicken and beef pot roast pies can be reheated at home—and consumed, ideally, in your jammies.