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No Longer Just ‘Pie in the Sky’: Marie Callender’s Reopens Fresno Location



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Even before the Marie Callender’s restaurant across from Fresno State officially reopened on Friday morning, the store had already received orders for 20 of its popular pies.

The chain’s location at Shaw and Cedar avenues closed about a year ago. It’s now open again thanks to the vision and determination of a former employee.

“I used to work here 27 years ago, and we saw the opportunity to be able to open this up for the holidays.”Regional Director of Operations Brian Gooch

“I used to work here 27 years ago, and we saw the opportunity to be able to open this up for the holidays,” said Brian Gooch, now the chain’s regional director.

Gooch was in the store Friday morning getting everything ready.

“I got some people that have been working here for the last 30 years back into the restaurant, ” says Gooch. He’s hired about 18 people exclusively to make and fulfill pie orders.

For the time being, the location is not offering any other menu items.

In Time for the Holidays

Gooch says he’s excited about being able to offer the restaurant’s signature item to local fans over the holidays.

“We’re going to sell a ridiculous amount of pies,” he predicts.

Gooch says when he walks outside of the restaurant, he’s greeted with screams and car honks. “I feel like a celebrity,” he said.

Marie Callender’s workers prepare to open for pie orders Friday morning at the Shaw & Cedar location. (Courtesy Brian Gooch)

Gooch says customers can order pies online through DoorDash or come into the store. “We have plenty of room (for social distancing) because we’re not doing the restaurant,” he says.

Experienced Pie Makers

Gooch says he’s hired several experienced pie makers that he worked with at the restaurant almost three decades ago.

“The person who makes the pies. She and her husband both worked with me back then. And when they heard that I was going to be here, they just immediately called up and said they wanted to come back,” said Gooch.

Pies ready for delivery or takeout Friday morning. (Courtesy Brian Gooch)

Gooch says he started his family while working at the restaurant when he was 25-years old. He found out his second son was going to be born while he was working the pie cart. “It brings back a lot of memories,” he said.

He expects that some customers will order pies they enjoyed in the past that Marie Callender’s no longer offers on their current menu.

“We still remember how to make them. So if we can do it, if we have the ingredients, we’re going to do it,” says Gooch.

Open Thanksgiving Day

The store is open seven days a week and will be open on Thanksgiving Day. Gooch says he may adjust the store’s hours to be open longer depending on demand.

Gooch also says the location will remain open after Thanksgiving and he hopes to reopen the full restaurant when the coronavirus pandemic ends.

For now, Gooch’s pies-only store is the only Marie Callendar’s restaurant operating in the Fresno/Clovis area. Full-service Marie Callender’s restaurants are open in Visalia and Bakersfield.

An apple pie ready to be sold. (Courtesy Brian Gooch)

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