San Diego Chicken Pie Shop

Review by: Michael Stern

The Enduring California Coffee Shop

Southern California once was a land of many coffee shops. These were urban eateries where you could count on three meals a day. They were served swiftly, at reasonable prices, without a jot of pomp or pretense. Many of the reliable California coffee shops are gone. But the Chicken Pie Shop endures – a relic of the sort of square meals that are found only in restaurants.

No, This Is Not Home Cooking, Praise Be!

What we appreciate as we fork into a Chicken Pie Shop chicken pie – which is nothing but meat and gravy and crust – and tear into the big soft dinner rolls that come with it, is that this meal does not want to be home cooking. It is coffee shop food – clean, wholesome, and predictable. We also like the hot turkey sandwich with whipped potatoes and gravy. And the hot roast beef. There are low-cost steaks, fried chicken, and chicken livers. All meals begin with chicken noodle soup — one of the best anywhere. Everything you eat here exudes the democratic aroma of mealtime at a dime store lunch counter. In a land of restaurant overachievers, there is much to be said for probity.

Of Course, Coffee Shop Waitresses Are Uniformed

We especially appreciate the skills of the waitresses in their maroon tunics. They “Hi, hon” you and bring the grub at hypersonic speed — just as one would expect in a good old California coffee shop. We well remember our first visit, many years ago, when our waitress volunteered the information that she was having a calendar of boudoir photos made for her boyfriend, but had to stop after the “April” photography session when she came down with shingles. At that, she served dessert: red Jell-O, filled with chunks of canned fruit cocktail. This may not be everybody’s idea of a great finish to a great meal, but we fell in love for life.

What To Eat

chicken pie


San Diego Chicken Pie Shop Recipes


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