A slice for the road: Betty's Pies goes on tourThe North Shore's famous Betty's Pies restauraunt is hitting the road.
A move to the Mall of America didn’t pan out, so now Betty’s Pies in Two Harbors is going on the road.
The restaurant, a longtime draw for many North Shore visitors, will try to “move some pies” to the heart of its customer base in the Twin Cities area, owner Carl Ehlenz said. Beginning today and through the next three months, Betty’s Pies sellers will be in kiosks at weekend shopping mall events across the metro region – Roseville to Blaine to Eden Prairie to Burnsville to St. Paul. There are also two stops planned at Miller Hill Mall in Duluth.
The company is also hoping to beef up its online ordering in Minnesota and Wisconsin with free shipping and $5 off its array of $25 pies. “We’re realizing there’s an e-commerce side,” new marketing director Michael Johnson said. He said many people only make one trip a year up to the Shore but “enjoy our product” enough to order it year-round.
A White Bear Lake cafe was put in place in 2008 to satisfy the cravings of Twin Cities area residents, Ehlenz said, but “some people don’t know it exists.” It doesn’t have the location advantage of the restaurant just north of Two Harbors, on the only road up the North Shore.
Ehlenz, who owns Betty’s Pies with Martha Sieber, tried to open a shop in the Mall of America near the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport last year but the financing didn’t work out. He said there was too much money required up front and banks weren’t willing to take a chance in a sluggish economy. “So we’re going on tour.”
Johnson, who was hired after the mall shop plan fell through, said it was “too big of a leap” and the business will now “go slow” to ramp up awareness for the pies and their availability. There will be a similar tour in Wisconsin later this fall.
The pies will be on display at holiday shows and home and modern living shows at the Minnesota malls. “It’s where the client base is,” Johnson said of the suburban mall tour, dubbed “Slice of Heaven.” Johnson is the one-man band in the Betty’s Pies marketing department.
The first stop is this weekend at Maplewood Mall just north of St. Paul. The stops in Duluth are the weekends of Oct. 21-23 and Dec. 2-4. Pies available will be apple crunch, Great Lakes fruit, bumbleberry, coconut cream, five-layer chocolate, and pumpkin.