Fasano Pies Are Back: 7 Questions for the Pie Man
Local pie-man Peter Fasano talks about his successful re-launch of one of Chicago’s all-time great dessert names.
Last Sunday we caught up with Beverly native Peter Fasano, president of the Fasano Pie Company, as he sold pies at Brother Rice High School---and sold out in just a couple of hours.
A year ago, you re-launched the Fasano Pie Company after a 25-year absence. How’s it going?
Quite well! With no paid advertising at all---simply on the strength of our product---our pies are sold in an ever-expanding number of grocery stores, delicatessens and restaurants across the suburbs.
You re-launched the company in the middle of the hardest economy since the Great Depression. Were you concerned about that?
No, for three reasons. First, re-launching the company is something I always knew I’d do, so I had a very good idea what I wanted and how I wanted to do it. Second, our family does not fear adversity. My grandfather started delivering pies from a horse-drawn wagon and made it all the way through the 1930s and into a successful launch of his own company in 1946. Third, I am using the same recipes my father and grandfather used when they built one of the most successful pie companies in the nation. They’re still “as good as Mother’s and better than others,” as we’ve always said with a smile.
Do people still remember Fasano Pies from years ago?
Do they! I’ve lost count of the hundreds of people who have approached me in the past year to tell their own personal Fasano Pies story: everything from customers who shopped at our bakery outlet store on 65th Street to former employees (and kids of employees) who have fond memories of working for us as bakers, drivers, salesmen, office staff, etc. Our company helped feed thousands of families and put their children through college. We were a big operation. By the mid-1950s, our plant on 65th Street was baking 17,000 full-size pies (and 100,000 “junior” pies) a week.
You have been bringing your pie truck to the Beverly area on Sunday mornings. Why there?
I’m originally from Beverly, and I still have many family and friends here. Plus, a lot of people who follow me on Facebook have been asking for something closer to the city.
You started selling at the Borders parking lot at 95th and Leavitt, but recently switched to the Brother Rice High School parking lot. Why?
Two reasons. First, to remain close to Beverly, yet offer added convenience to our customers in Oak Lawn and Evergreen Park. Second, I’m a friend of the school. Anything I can do to help draw attention to them and support them is a good thing.
What kind of pies are you selling now?
Right now we’re offering freshly-baked apple, dutch apple, cherry, double cherry, blueberry, pecan and pumpkin. We also have chocolate cream and banana cream pies on the truck.
What are your plans for 2013?
We look forward to continued growth, especially as the economy picks up steam. We continue to receive and evaluate offers from potential investors. We have been courted by mayors from a dozen different cities, from Wisconsin to Indiana and many points in between, who want us to build a Fasano bakery and bring jobs to their towns.
But whatever we do this year, I am definitely enjoying life. I am my own boss, set my own hours, drive a colorful truck with my name on it, and Fasano Pies are so delicious that customers regularly chase me down just to buy what I bake. Really, I have the greatest job in the world.