Selling classic pies and other fan favourites, Pieman’s Son has recently opened in Melbourne, Victoria, and has been very popular since opening. But owner Pat Cremean is no stranger to the pie business. Pat grew up helping out his father, Terry Cremean, in the popular Boscastle Pies, which Terry owned until 2018, when it was acquired by Patties Foods. Baking Business sat down for a chat with Pat about his return to the baking industry and the process of arriving at Pieman’s Son.
Pat Cremean grew up during the heyday of his father’s bakery business, Boscastle Pies, helping around the pie shop and learning the trade under his father’s watchful and experienced eye. As such, when Terry sold the business to Patties Foods in 2018, Pat found himself at a little bit of a loss.
“I ended up finding myself working in a corporate job, which just wasn’t for me… I didn’t really fit in,” says Pat.
This dissatisfaction with the corporate life came to a head for Pat during COVID. When life began to change dramatically, Pat returned to his first love and what he truly knew: pies.
“It wasn’t really until COVID, where we started making some pies again, and I saw how much people loved our pies—saw how they brought so much joy to [people] in a pretty average time.
“That’s where the idea came from,” he says.
The joy and fulfillment that Pat found once more in making pies was what led to the decision to return to the business. Thus, Pieman’s Son was born.
Originally making pies out of his parents’ kitchen, Pat soon began looking for more space for the burgeoning business.
“I was making [pies] in a small domestic oven at my parents’ place, and then from there we started looking for premises to make our pies in,” he says.
Pieman’s Son opened in Melbourne’s Heidelberg Heights earlier this year, in the store that was once occupied by another of the city’s classic bakeries—Arnold’s Swiss Homemade Cakes. Since opening, the reception from the local community has been excellent.
“The response so far, the whole time we’ve since we opened, it’s just been incredible. Everyone is just absolutely loving them,” says Pat.
The incredibly evocative name of the business obviously connects Pat with his father’s previous business, and it was chosen to do so.
“I just sort of came up with it—and it just rolled off the tongue!” Pat says.
“It tells a story in itself. I suppose that was the reason; it tells a story of the history that we have in our family of pie making. And yes, it’s a bit different. You don’t hear of too many pie shops with a similar name.
“I think people like the name, and I like the name!”
As for the man that began the legacy of pies, Pat’s father, Terry Cremean, has been persuaded back into the kitchen since the opening of Pieman’s Son.
“He was retired a month ago, and all of a sudden he’s got the apron back on in the kitchen!” Pat laughs.
“His knowledge has been so helpful to get things up and running… I think he’s really enjoyed the journey as well. Seeing the response from everyone reminds of when he started a little bit as well. I think he’s loved it.”
There has been a mix of customers—old and new—Pat says.
“It’s a real mix. No one really knew [about us]. The name does tell a little bit of the story, but a lot of people have just wandered in. We didn’t really do any marketing for a while. The local community just got right behind it since the word got out,” he says.
“It’s just been amazing, the response. And we haven’t had any complaints! Everyone’s absolutely loving it; people just love pies, and they love our pies.”
And the faces that have been coming in haven’t all been new. Some loyal Boscastle Pies fans have been making the trip to the new store, Pat says.
“We’ve had ex-Boscastle customers travel from two hours away just to try some of our stuff!” he says.
And while the legacy of the business might be a drawcard for some, the pies are what keep people coming back. Pat says that the business is doing some very interesting and exciting flavours, some that he particularly enjoys—in particular the Pieman’s Son’s take on spanakopita.
“It’s a filo pastry product with spinach, ricotta, lots of fresh mint, dill, parsley, and lemon zest. It’s just delicious,” says Pat.
“It’s one of my favourite things to eat that we’re making at the moment.
“But all the other stuff, all the pies and sausage rolls, the cakes—that’s been an exploration for us all in the sweet department! —they’re all delicious, and we love making everything.”
As for the future, things are still up in the air for the legacy bakery, especially with it only recently having opened its first bricks-and-mortar store.
“We’re just taking it very slowly. We don’t want to rush into anything too quickly,” says Pat.
“I think more shops will probably be the way that we will grow, but we really want to nail the original shop in Heidelberg first. We’ve realised the opportunity to grow this is enormous. People just love [the pies] so much, and we’ve had so many enquiries for wholesale and stuff like that.
“We could take the business in a number of directions, and we’re just finding our feet. Once we do that, I’m sure we’ll figure out which way to jump.”