An insider's view of the Connecticut dining scene
Dec 18, 2013
08:31 AMThe Connecticut Table
Shepherd’s Pie and Real Pasties at Sixpence Pie Company in New Haven
Mara Lavitt/New Haven Register
Kara More, left, one of the co-owners of The Sixpence Pie Company on Whalley Avenue in New Haven.
One of my favorite culinary memories is of being introduced to pasties, a kind of savory turnover, in England. They’re hard to find on this side of the pond, and when you do they can be, well, a bit bland. Not at the Sixpence Pie Company. At their outpost on Whalley Avenue in Westville, co-owners Kara More and Lisa Totten make sure their veggie curry pasty has a real tikka masala kick, and their shepherd’s pie is fragrant and juicy.
The pasty shop was nowhere on the horizon as More pursued a masters in education and taught high-school English. Meanwhile, Totten had a career in fashion as a visual merchandiser and buyer. But both had the food business in their blood. More’s family owned the West End Inn in Long Beach, NY, and Totten’s father was a food critic and her husband a former chef.
“Food has always been my passion,” More says. “My family deterred me from going into it. It’s hard. The hours are grueling.”
Regardless, in 2007 she ran an ad on Craig’s List, Totten answered it, and More launched Little Something Catering with Totten as her staff. They rented a kitchen at the Elks Lodge in Southington but they didn’t get far since they had no credentials. “We were trying to find this little niche with more local, organic, foods to do catering with,” More says. “We didn’t see much business because, who were we? Just some people starting out of nowhere. So we decided to try some farmers markets to see where that went.”
They tried their brunch menu at the markets and their quiches were a hit. ”Because of our crust, which is my Nana’s recipe,” says More. They tried to think of other ways to use the crust and hand pies came up. “Individual, sort of pot pies. Meat pies. It is a Cornish pasty.”
(Above, a shepherd's pie made with beef.)