In the heart of Pine Canyon, on its main road, is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it hand painted sign for fresh baked pies. Follow the short circular gravel drive toward two small shops that, on Wednesdays and Fridays, are filled with pre-ordered and grab-and-go homemade pies and cheesecakes.
Pauline Fish started her pie shop—appropriately named Pauline’s Pies—in June 2020 after spending years perfecting her recipes. It was the right moment to start selling her pies.
“I’d thought about opening a shop for about three years,” Fish said. “Then when the pandemic hit it was perfect timing because my process is no contact. It worked out well and I decided to do it full time instead of going back to the schools.”
Fish worked for 18 years in the lunchrooms of Tooele and Stansbury high schools. While she enjoyed the job—especially the dessert rotation—working for herself allowed her to hone in on her specialty: baking.
“I’ve always baked and my kids growing up wanted pies for their birthday instead of cake,” she said.
Her husband Mel is from a family of 10 children and they had a tradition of a pie supper the night before Thanksgiving where they’d fill up on pie. As the family grew with kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids, they moved the event to a church where each family brings a pie and soup.
“It is really a family favorite,” Fish said. “We can’t all be together for Thanksgiving. The pie supper the night before is a good way for more of the family to get together.”
All that experience set up Fish perfectly for the pie business.
Pies are available on Wednesdays and Fridays, but it takes Fish the entire week to prep and make the pies. Throughout the week she’ll make pie crusts—her secret recipe, cheesecakes, cream pies, toppings, and fruit pies.
“Total for the week I do between 45–60 pies, about 18 smaller cheesecakes, and then whatever orders I get for the full-size cheesecakes,” Fish said. “I’ve started to get more orders. We had just one shop initially and quickly outgrew it and needed a second shop.”
The shops were built by Fish’s husband, Mel, and painted by other members of the family. The first shop—which is white with blue trim, a door, and window—holds the grab-and-go pies. The second looks like an old timey saloon with a sign indicating it’s for pre-orders. Cream pies are in a cooler with ice while the fruit pies are on the shelf.
Fish operates on an “on your honor” system. The shops include a QR code where patrons can pay via Venmo or through a cash box.
“Right from the beginning I wanted to do an on your honor shop and it’s worked out well so far,” Fish said.
Pauline’s Pies has amassed an organic following on social media where Fish posts what pies and cheesecakes will be available each week, when orders are due, and when she’s sold out. She’s had patrons from Layton to Payson travel out to Pine Canyon for pies.
One of her ardent followers is Angie Drope of Grantsville who picked up a peach pie on a Friday in early September for her birthday that Sunday.
“I found Pauline’s Pies through my neighbor and finally decided to take the jump and try out her pies—and I’m so glad I did,” Drope said. “This is my third pie and they’ve all been delicious. The banana cream and razzleberry were so good! I’ll do anything for one of these pies.”
Some of Fish’s other specialties include strawberry (when in season), peaches (which are in season now), Oreo, key lime, pecan, and apple. Then there are her cheesecakes like lemon, turtle, and chocolate.
While Fish does have a regular rotation of specific pies she’s made for years, she also likes trying new recipes.
“Obviously I can’t eat the pie, but I do a lot of my baking by taste and will take a spoonful to make sure it’s OK,” Fish said. “If I try something new, I’m going to taste it. And I’ve had to throw some pies away—which is hard to do.”
And sometimes, accidents happen. Fish has fridges and freezers to hold pies and ingredients in her basement. Once while taking something down the stairs to put away, she dropped an entire strawberry pie on the ground.
“I was just done with it, too,” Fish said.
And then there was the time her daughter Lindsey, who lives in Virginia, gave birth a few weeks early and Fish had to press pause on the pies and fly out to help. To fill in, though, Fish’s other daughter Emily Meidell came in to take over for a week.
“My mom taught me all of her tips, tricks, and recipes,” Meidell said. “I learned so much from the 81 pies I baked. First, my mom is a rockstar and works so hard. Second, people love her pies. Third, baking pies is a blast!”
When her children were younger, Fish made sure they could all follow a recipe, which led to a lifelong love of food. Her son Alex tries all sorts of recipes and invents his own. Meidell would make jams and enter them in the Tooele County Fair.
“When Emily came out here, she didn’t know if she could make the pies,” Fish said. “Now we know she can.”
Prior to Lindsey moving to Virginia, they worked together with Fish making the pies and Lindsey handling the cheesecakes.
“Lindsey gave me her secret recipe for the cheesecakes before she moved,” Fish said. “She’s actually better at them than I am.”
While Fish does her best to fulfill every order, she’s now the only person running Pauline’s Pies—both the baking and social media.
“It’s just me and I do as much as I can,” she said. “I try to do all the orders first and then with whatever time I have left over, make as many grab-and-gos as possible.”
More people are visiting and liking her Facebook page all the time and are unsure how the process works the first time through.
“I help them understand they just drive up, grab the pie they’ve ordered or want to try, pay, and go on their way,” Fish said.
And, if they’re like Drope or any of the other fans of Pauline’s Pies, will keep coming back for more.
Pies and cheesecakes can be pre-ordered through Pauline’s Pies on Facebook.com/piesbypauline or picked up on a first come, first served basis on Wednesdays and Fridays from 3:00 p.m. until dusk in the pie shop at 1872 Pine Canyon Road, Tooele. Just look for the pie sign.