Peasant Pies Café started as a small storefront in San Francisco’s Noe Valley neighborhood in 1993.
In the early 1990s, Ali Keshavarz and his business partner, Gerard Buulong, ran a jazz club/French restaurant but wanted to change direction. “We thought, what can we do that’s related to food but less formal and healthier…. more like a healthy fast food! Something inexpensive, delicious and nutritious – we wanted to find a concept that incorporated those three ideas,” says Keshavarz. It was Buulong, a Cordon Bleu-trained chef, who originally told Keshavarz about the peasant pies, created by French fishermen who would take seafood out of their catch, chop it up, and add tomato and garlic. They would stew this mixture overnight, and in the morning they would bake dough around it to make a small pie, which they could then slip into their pockets and take them out on the boats with them.
This very primal, working class food, that you eat it with your hands, appealed to Keshavarz. “We wanted to be different, and be ‘fast-casual’- meaning there is no waiter, you get your food, sit down, and eat. The peasant pies were perfect for this,” says Keshavarz. “We created a healthier version of fast food and the food cart.”
After two successful years in Noe Valley, Peasant Pies Café opened their second storefront in San Francisco’s Inner Sunset neighborhood in 1995. After that, Peasant Pies started delivering their hand-held savory pies to gourmet markets in San Francisco like Whole Foods Market and Rainbow Groceries.
In 2008, Peasant Pies worked with John Sutti and Associates in Burlingame, a company specializing in grocery store design and renovation to design the latest location of the Peasant Pies Café and its catering headquarters: UCSF’s Mission Bay campus.
Peasant Pies’ homespun approach fills a need in high-tech, fast-paced San Francisco culture. Office catering is on the rise and Peasant Pies savory and sweet pies provide a unique and healthy alternative to all the other food options in the market.
After 24 years of service, many rave reviews, and a gratifying Yelp rating, we are proud to be part of the thriving San Francisco culinary community. Please come visit us for a healthy and delicious food at any of our three cafés, or place your next catering order through our website.