“Chicken Pie Shop”
2633 El Cajon Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92104
My friend Jim and I were on our way to review a Mexican restaurant that I had been asked to review and were surprised to find that it was closed due to the Easter Holiday. Since we were on El Cajon Blvd I thought that he might enjoy going to the “Chicken Pie Shop” which was a favorite of mine years ago. It is interesting to note that they were celebrating their 75th birthday, having opened their doors in 1938.
We parked in the lot behind the restaurant and walked around to the entrance of the shop. It was busy, but not overly so, and Beth, our waitress beckoned us to the back of the restaurant where we had our choice of a booth or a table. We took the booth.
The menu has not changed since I began going there in 1965. They have many different types of “pot pies” but Jim and I both selected the “Pie Dinner “ which included, mashed potatoes, corn for the vegetable, Cole slaw, roll, butter and dessert for $7.50. For 50 cents more we each had a bowl of soup – split pea – although our choices were also chicken and vegetable. The soup was served hot, and was tasty. A little more garlic or spice would have made it perfect.
Our pot pies were loaded with both chicken and turkey, but we were disappointed in several areas: #1 – they were only luke-warm and we had to send them back to be reheated. #2 – besides the chicken and turkey there was nothing else inside – carrots, peas, onions, etc. would have made it much more tasty than it was. At best if was a “C” but I have come to expect more from a specialty shop like the Chicken Pie Shop. #3 – everything was yellow – the potatoes, which were good; the corn; the gravy on the pot pies.
It needed something to vary the presentation of the meal. Jim called it “ . . . a study in yellow.” The Coleslaw was good and served at the same time as the soup. Jim did not want it and was given the choice of apple sauce or more potatoes and/or veggies.
The fresh rolls were yeasty and good. They were served with real butter which was a welcome surprise.
Dessert came with the meal and we had the pie that was available. Jim had a cherry pie that he said was the best part of the meal; I had a rhubarb pie that was also good. They were out of strawberry pie, and the cream pie for the evening was coconut pie. There were other pies available also. A person behind us asked for whipped cream and was told there would be a 25 cents charge for it.
It was interesting to note that all of the waitresses used “trolley’s” to deliver the food. True, they were not young women, but how much easier it has to be to be able to wheel the orders to the table than have to carry a heavy tray.
Beth, our waitress was efficient and no-nonsense. It wasn’t until we were getting ready to leave that she showed some spark.
A strange thing took place that neither Jim nor I could explain. When our meal was delivered, Beth put the bill on the table for $16. When taking our dessert order, which came with the bill, she said “you each had soup, is that right?” We said yes. Then she stood there for a moment or two and mumbled to herself “split pea.” When our dessert was delivered she put another bill on the table, this one for $17.63. I took the original $16 bill out of my purse and she said, “oh, I already gave you one”. Then she proceeded to take the $16 bill away and leave the $17+ bill. The best that we could figure out was that she forgot to charge us the $1 for the soup, and the new bill included that expense.
Needless to say I was disappointed in my meal. Everything was so bland; so tasteless. True, it was inexpensive; the service was good; our water glass filled and refilled, and refilled, but I do not think that I will go back again. My memory was such a positive one; my actual experience this time left something to be desired. It filled the emptiness in my belly; it didn’t break my wallet; but it was just mediocre. Maybe because it was the day before the holiday that it seemed skimpy. Perhaps it will be better at a different time.