Hold your pie
In New Zealand, where Mountain Pie Co. (mountainpieco.com) owner Matt Campbell (now 34) grew up, hand-held meat pies are ubiquitous. His 32-year-old, Michigan-born fiancée and business partner Tara Quisenberry likens the "Commonwealth institution" to a 7-Eleven hot dog: resting in warmers for easy grab-and-go, easily eaten while walking or driving.
"It's known as pub grub," too, says Campbell. "You've got a pie in one hand and a pint in the other."
Since moving from Christchurch to Colorado in 2002 (his older brother being assigned to Fort Carson, his mom being from the U.S.), Campbell's been missing his fill of pies, even as a regular at McCabe's and Jack Quinn's for their sit-down versions. So, as a culinary-degree-holding chef who's worked in restaurants since he was 14, he recently decided to launch MPC in the shared commissary at 6429 Omaha Blvd., to satisfy his own cravings and introduce the form to those of us who most closely associate the word "pie" with "apple."
A variety of breakfast or "anytime" pies — including a vegetarian option plus vegan and gluten-free versions coming soon — are now available via wholesale (for business partners), catering, pick-up or delivery (minimum 10, tiered pricing; call for info). You can also currently buy pies ($7 each) and Kiwi-style, pastry-wrapped sausages ($4) at the Sunday Downtown Market. Or visit MPC's first retail client, Kinfolks in Manitou Springs, for Tuesday night, $8 pint-and-pie nights, weekend specials and daily pie servings.
Campbell says he'll limit purveying to a few more breweries or bars at most, to avoid "oversaturation" and keep MPC pies special. That care also goes into ingredients, including Ranch Foods Direct beef and pork cuts and marrow bones for sauces; only four simple ingredients in his crust; and no artificial inputs or preservatives.
Mexican in Manitou
Not to be mistaken for the Monument-based Serranos Coffee, Serrano's Mexican Bar and Grill recently opened in the former Dutch Kitchen space in Manitou Springs (1025 Manitou Ave., 685-1024). Its first location opened in Woodland Park in 2012 in the former Carlos Miguel's (730 E. U.S. Hwy. 24, 687-7150), and personable owner Jose Serrano formerly worked for CM, and roomed and collaborated with its former chef.
All of which explains some strikingly similar menu items between CM and Serrano's (or executions, as it were, since most Mexican items are ubiquitous around town). But other items stem from Serrano's childhood, when he grew up with six siblings in the Central Mexican city of Toluca and helped his mother in the kitchen; he touts his garlic shrimp as well as an authentic molé with more than 30 ingredients. The new location should see its liquor license within weeks, he says.