SURF CITY — In the first 48 hours of Topsail Pie Company opening its doors, it moved over 100 pies to its new customers, according to owner Matt Seferyn. He opened the shop with his mother, Katrina, and son, Madden, on Wednesday — a ribbon cutting that included the mayor and city council getting a first taste of the homemade treats.
“Mom is the brainchild behind the whole concept,” Matt said. “She used to make wedding cakes, specialty cakes and has always been amazing with cheesecakes, quiches, pies. She got her start in the Holiday Pancake House bakery when she was like 16 or 17.”
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Matt said cooking with his mom was always a pastime growing up in Pennsylvania. “Spaghetti sauce,” he said stands out most. “I was 7 and trying to enter a contest.”
Towering over a stove and oven, creating luscious treats is a family tradition that dated back to Katrina’s mom: “making sugar cookies and taking them to school,” she remembered.
Katrina eventually became a certified clinical licensed social worker and worked with veterans for the VA. Matt joined the military, met his wife and settled in the Wilmington area two decades ago; his mom moved South to be closer to her grandkids.
After working in insurance for New Hanover Regional Medical Center, Matt said two years ago, they decided to move closer to the beach. The family relocated to Topsail Island from Hampstead to open an escape room.
Next door to the game site is the new 800-square-foot bakery. The team consists of seven employees, half of whom are bakers-in-training. Katrina is the anchor of the operation, her son said. In fact, Topsail Pie Company is her dream incarnate.
“Mom has cancer,” he revealed, “and she always wanted to own a bakery, so that’s part of why we are doing this.”
Because of the illness, Katrina’s speech has become impacted; she stopped seeing her therapy patients. Yet, baking has remained her love language and a way to connect with others.
“She is working with all of us to get us up to her speed,” Matt said.
His 20-year-old son also has taken an interest in the culinary world after working in various restaurants around Surf City as a busboy and line cook.
Their second full day of business, they were up at 4:30 a.m. preparing dough. The trick, Matt said, isn’t with cold butter or a smidgeon of orange juice, as some books suggest. His mother’s pie dough is made the Southern way: with Crisco.
“Pie crust is one of the only things I don’t use butter for when baking,” Katrina said.
“Mom taught me it has to be the consistency of Play-Doh,” Matt added.
There are at least a dozen offerings of 8-inch pies — priced $18 and up — from apple to blueberry, strawberry to coconut custard, cherry to banana pudding. Slices are also available for $6.
“Sampling pies is kind of my new job,” Matt quipped.
An in-season favorite is the strawberry-rhubarb. They purchased six pounds of the fibrous stalk from a local farmers market Thursday. Matt said they are procuring fruits from local purveyors and vendors as much as possible. A regionally made vegetable cheddar is the star ingredient in some of the homemade quiches. More savory pies are on the way to the menu as well.
“Customers already are asking for meat pies,” he said.
While pie is the namesake, it’s not all Katrina and her crew churn out. Muffins (banana nut, blueberry), cookies (oatmeal and chocolate chip), brownies (chocolate-peanut butter), cake pops, cheesecake, even homemade breads are sold on site, along with tea and Port City Java coffee. Matt said they also were making scones for the Memorial Day weekend crowd.
“Mom has been so excited to deliver some of these decades-old recipes to people who hopefully love it,” he said.
While the bakery is serving customers directly, Matt already is fielding calls from nearby restaurant owners inquiring about wholesale orders. He is entertaining that side of business but wants Topsail Pie Company to be up and running a little longer. Right now, he clarified, the online ordering system and website must be finessed.
The bakery is takeout only, with the possibility of a few bistro tables situated outside, though Matt is unsure of the necessity.
“Why would you want to eat your pie inside looking at our four walls when you can walk two blocks away to the beautiful ocean?” he asked.
Topsail Pie Company, located at 328 N. Topsail Dr. in Surf City, is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
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