As an Australian living in New York City for the past five years, I’ve been disappointed to discover there are a number of foods that aren’t available here, but there’s nothing I’ve missed quite as much as Australian meat pies.
[A note from Josh] The author of this article is Brendan Mitchell! Brendan is an Australian writer currently based in New York City. He loves food, travel, and movies, his exploits can be followed online at bybrendan.com and he very kindly offered to write about a love of his: the meat pie! Now, back to Brendan:
To clarify, I’m talking about the palm-sized pastries that are typically filled with meat and gravy and sold at every local bakery in Australia for around three or four dollarydoos (AUD). I’m talking about a tender, flaky crust, finely minced meat (some people like it chunky, but they’re wrong), and gravy so hot that steam shoots out when you take your first bite. I’m also partial to a dollop of dead-horse* on top.
While the ill-fated Australian bakery chain Pie Face had a brief stint in the US a few years ago, all their stores shuttered overnight in 2014 and the city quickly forgot about this most delicious of Australian foods. Thankfully, there are still at least six ways to get your hands on a delicious, Australian-style meat pie in New York City.
1. DUB Pies
Down Under Bakery (DUB) Pies was started in 2003 by Gareth Hughes, a New Zealander and former New York City cab driver who wanted to introduce his favorite comfort food to his favorite city. Their cozy Brooklyn cafe is right by the southwest corner of Prospect Park and sells Australian-style meat pies and sausage rolls, not to mention a great cup of coffee. If you live in New York City, visiting DUB Pies is probably the best way to satisfy your craving, but don’t take my word for it – Hugh Jackman once gave them a shout-out on the American talk show Live with Kelly & Ryan.
Pie Price: $6.25
Location: 211 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn, NY
2. The Australian NYC
Update: Sadly, The Australian has closed its doors. We hope to see them again one day!
The Australian Bar and Restaurant in midtown Manhattan is well known for offering refuge to homesick expats without overdoing it. You won’t find misappropriated Indigenous art on the walls or ‘Kookaburra Fingers’ on the menu (looking at you, Outback Steakhouse), but rather, a homely pub that serves Cooper's beer and, you guessed it, meat pies. The Australian is a full restaurant though, so you’ll need more than the change in your pocket to get your hands on a pie.
Pie Price: $12 (with fries)
Location: 20 West 38th Street, New York, NY
3. The Flying Pie Guy
Australian Michael Peacock is The Flying Pie Guy, a chef who has lived in New Jersey since the 1980s and now owns and operates his own food truck. If you’ve truly assimilated and become a New Yorker, you may despise New Jersey, and the prospect of traveling to wherever they’ve parked the truck that day may not seem worth it. But if you’re desperately fanging for a meat pie, The Flying Pie Guy is sure to satisfy. Plus, they’re also in the process of launching an online store, so traveling to New Jersey will soon no longer be required!
4. Four'n Twenty
The much-loved pie brand, Four'n Twenty, is available in the US via their US importer, Australian Packaged Imports. While their availability can be sporadic, the pies can be purchased frozen and in bulk, providing a cost-effective solution to the Australian who regularly craves a taste of home. I purchased a box of 24 pies in March and it kept me satisfied for the rest of the year. It was also announced in 2019 that Four'n Twenty pies would be sold at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia during the Basketball season, so if you’re a 76ers fan you’ll be able to enjoy a hot Four'n Twenty pie in one hand and cheer for Ben Simmons with the other.
5. Aussie Pies and Sausages
Aussie Pies and Sausages is the website of Jay Jay Wolfpie, an Australian baker who grew up in St. Kilda before moving to the US over twenty years ago. Jay Jay’s menu includes authentic bakery-style meat pies, beef sausages, lamingtons, and rocky road, with vegan, kosher, and gluten-free options also available. He makes everything to order and can ship overnight to anywhere in the US for approximately $20-35 USD, except if you live in LA, where delivery is free. Jay Jay also regularly hosts events in cities all over the US for Australian expats to connect with each other over some of his delicious baked goods. His next event in NYC will be in Spring 2020.
Jay Jay also organizes a monthly sausage sizzle in Skid Row where he feeds anyone that needs it and distributes free care packages. Follow Aussies Pies and Sausages on Facebook for updates about his upcoming events across the country or if you’re interested in donating a care package.
Pie Price: $6.65
Location: Los Angeles, CA (overnight shipping available to anywhere in the US)
6. Aussie Food Express
Aussie Food Express is the new website from the founders of SimplyOZ.com, which has been selling Australian products in the US for 20 years. Based out of Mason, Ohio, they can ship anywhere in the US, and their inventory of products is truly impressive, including Tim Tams, Arnott’s Shapes, Burger Rings, Milo, Vegemite, and more. If meat pies aren’t the only food you’re missing from home, Aussie Food Express can probably help.
Pie Price: $172.97 for 24 frozen pies (including shipping to Manhattan, but the price varies for other locations)
Location: Mason, Ohio, but shipping available to anywhere in the US
[Alternative #1] Bourke Street Bakery
Sydney’s popular Bourke Street Bakery chain expanded to New York City in 2019 to great elation from the expat community. Alas, their New York City outpost does not bake or sell meat pies like their Australian stores do (the tragedy of Pie Face may have scared the owners), but their delectable lamb and harissa sausage roll is available.
A worthy substitute for a meat pie when you want something warm and delicious that reminds you of home.
Price: $7.50 for a sausage roll
Location: 15 East 28th Street, New York, NY
[Alternative #2] Empanada Mama
Most Americans associate pie with dessert (or pizza), but there is another savory, meat-filled pastry they love – empanadas! Empanadas are pretty easy to get your hands on in the Big Apple. Plenty of Mexican restaurants serve them as an appetizer, and there are even restaurants like Empanada Mama that specialize in them. If you’re out drinking in the LES, an empanada or two from their Allen Street location makes for a great late-night snack.
Price: $3.99 per empanada
Location: 95 Allen Street, New York, NY
[Alternative #3] Frozen Food Aisle
If you’ve ever wandered down the frozen food aisle in a US grocery store you might recognize the brand name, Banquet. They’re best known for their TV dinners – frozen mini-meals that are ready to eat after a few minutes in a microwave – but they also have a range of pot pie products that faintly resemble Australia’s national dish.
Their Beef Pot Pie has an average rating (at the time of writing) of 2 stars out of 5 but if you’re looking for a quick, cheap fix, Banquet might do the trick.
Location: Frozen food aisle of any grocery store
[Alternative #4] Your Local Irish Pub
Be thankful for the Irish. They’ve contributed a lot to the America we all know and love today, and the proliferation of Irish pubs is their crowning achievement. Chicken pot pies are a pretty common menu item in Irish bars across the city, as are cottage and shepherd pies. Will they satisfy your craving for a true blue, aussie-style meat pie? Probably not, but they will give you a great feed, and it’s hard to crave anything when your stomach is stuffed full of meat, potatoes, and Guinness.
Price: $18-30 for a full meal
Location: Any Irish bar
*If you need to check this, you’re probably not Australian, so thanks for reading! Dead-horse is “rhyming slang” for tomato sauce, which is what Australians call ketchup.