A husband-and-wife team has the appetite for maintaining the success of a landmark local business.
Ki Yong Park and Claudia Kang are the new owners of Molly’s Meat Pies, located at 390 Provencher Blvd. On Dec. 1, the pair officially took the reins from previous owners and Windsor Park residents Jim and Maureen McKeown, who established the business and ran it for 20 years before recently retiring to Jamaica.
Park and Kang — who live in Linden Woods and are hoping to move closer to the business next year — immigrated to Winnipeg from South Korea in August.
Before the McKeowns left for sunnier climes, Park and Kang learned how to make Molly’s trademark delights — which include tourtière, steak and kidney pie, Scotch pies, Cornish pasties, sausage rolls and hot cakes — from scratch.
"Jim and Maureen were good teachers," said Kang, who has food service experience from her time in South Korea, but no formal baking training until recently. "They taught us step by step and they also left us alone in the shop one day. With the help of the employees, we managed it."
When they negotiated the purchase of the business, the McKeowns stressed the importance of continuity, which is something Park and Kang believe is part of the recipe for success.
"The main principle is no change. We want to keep the same recipes and employees," Park said, noting the couple’s son will help out on weekends. "We have many, many Scottish and Irish recipes and want to keep them."
"The customers come here so they can eat good food and if anything changes, they might be upset. We want to maintain things for our customers. The quality of the product says everything," Kang added.
"So far, most of the customers have been very kind. In time, we also want our customers to become our friends."
Originally from Northern Ireland, the McKeowns immigrated to Winnipeg and eventually set up the business in 1992, moving from their original location in St. Norbert to the current Provencher Boulevard site to be closer to their Windsor Park home.
For more information, visit www.mollysmeatpies.com.