Chicken mole, beef bulgogi, jambalaya, porchetta – these are not only iconic dishes from around the globe; they’re also the kinds of flavors you’ll find stuffed into flaky crusts from Mister’s Hand Pies. The cottage bakery, run by duo Megan Rice and Preston Blaine, is bringing big flavors to St. Louis in small, crispy packages.
There is one mystery the owners would like to clear up. The “mister’s” in the company’s name has nothing to do with Preston Blaine. It’s actually a reference to Rice’s initials; she is the “mister” behind the pies.
The couple met in Los Angeles while performing stand-up comedy. They wanted to start their own small business, but it wasn’t economically viable to do so in California. They moved to St. Louis, Blaine’s hometown, and decided to bet big on their future. Rice had worked in restaurants in various capacities since she was 15 and brought that knowledge to the business. Open since 2019, Mister’s Hand Pies now sells fresh and frozen pies at Tower Grove Farmers Market and local retailers, such as Fresh Thyme.
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Whether you prefer savory, sweet or spicy, there’s bound to be a flavor of the brand's hand pies that you’ll enjoy. The spanakopita, with spinach, Feta, dill and Greek seasoning, is one of the most popular vegetarian offerings. If you’re feeling carnivorous, try the bacon-Bleu burger with ground beef, bacon, blue cheese, fried onions and shitakes. The sweet flavors are no less creative: options include Piña Colada, coffee-pecan and triple chocolate brownie. No matter what filling you choose, it’ll be wrapped in a crispy, flaky dough that Rice spent years developing.
“It’s based on a traditional empanada dough that I’ve kind of played around with over the years,” Rice says. “It took a while to perfect it, and I’m very proud of it.”
Her secret is making the pastry dough with a higher fat content.
“That high fat content almost kind of fries the outside as it cooks and then just keeps it nice and flaky and crusty on the outside,” she says. “Having a nice, juicy filling in the middle keeps the inside moist.”
Through the cottage bakery, Rice and Blaine have developed a strong relationship with the St. Louis community. They focus on sourcing seasonal ingredients from local suppliers like Dang Good Produce, Biver Farms, Dierks Grass Fed Beef, Good Life Growing and more. And the community has responded to their efforts with overwhelming support.
“Our customers are really great,” Blaine says. “They’re really dedicated.”
They’ve also found support from other vendors at the Tower Grove Farmers Market – some vendors even helped the new business owners fill out paperwork for the health department. Well-established vendors, such as Kaylen Wissinger of Whisk: A Sustainable Bakeshop and Poptimism, are the couple's role models.
“She’s such an inspiration to me as a female small-business owner,” Rice says. “[Their business keeps] getting bigger and bigger, and she’s really had a well-deserved climb.”
The duo aims to keep growing to get their frozen pies into as many stores as possible. No matter how much they expand, however, they can’t see themselves ever not setting up shop at the Tower Grove Tuesday market.
“It’s where we started” Blaine says. “We like talking to our customers. It’s good to see them every week and say hi, catch up and all that stuff.”
Keep an eye on the business’s Instagram to see what creative flavors it cooks up next.
Mister’s Hand Pies, mistershandpies.com