After more than eight decades dishing out tasty comfort food, one local restaurant can take comfort in this: the business is beloved and considered an “institution” in San Diego.
The San Diego Chicken Pie Shop – which celebrated its 80th anniversary last May – was named Small Business of the Year for 2019 in San Diego's District 39 this week by Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego).
Atkins will honor the eatery Saturday at a reception in San Diego, highlighting small businesses in the 39th Senate District and everything they contribute to the economy and community.
The restaurant is operated by the Townsend family, including co-owner Bob Townsend and general manager Lisa Townsend.
“The Townsend family has made the Chicken Pie Shop an institution in San Diego,” Atkins said in a press release Friday. “It has thrived for eight decades because it adheres to several core principles: high-quality product, first-rate customer service and an undeniable sense of community.”
Atkins added that she’s a fan of the Pie Shop, too, having “held more than a few lunch meetings” there over the years.
Atkins hosted Bob Townsend during California Small Business Day in Sacramento this past Wednesday. There, the co-owner of the Pie Shop took a photo with the senate leader, beaming. Townsend received a plaque detailing the Small Business of the Year honor bestowed on his family's business.
The San Diego staple has been around since 1938. It was originally located at 5th Avenue and B Street before moving over to the uptown area where it now stands at 2633 El Cajon Blvd.
The San Diego Chicken Pie Shop serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, but is best known for its savory chicken and turkey pies, and its “World Famous Chicken Pie Dinner:” chicken, turkey and gravy served with whipped mash potatoes, veggies, coleslaw, a roll and dessert.
The eatery is also a standout when it comes to reasonable prices – even in 2019 – with nothing on the menu that’s over $14.99. Last year, to mark its milestone anniversary, the Pie Shop offered a chicken pie dinner for just $3.80.
Bob Townsend, in a press release Friday, attributed the success of his family’s business to sticking “to what our customers want.”
“We’re grateful to Senator Atkins for recognizing the value that the Chicken Pie Shop adds to our community,” he added. “We’re thrilled to be named Small Business of the Year.”
Last year, Lisa Townsend told NBC 7 the restaurant is still using the very same recipe for its chicken pies that launched the business way back when.
"It’s been the same and people absolutely love it," she said.
The San Diego Chicken Pie Shop is open daily, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.