The Village Kitchen and Pie Shoppe: Pies and Perseverance


Photo by Isabella Bernabeo

Customers sit at the restaurant’s mini bar as a waitress goes to grab their orders. The Village Kitchen and Pie Shoppe allows their guests to have quick and easy meals they can take on the go.

Originally opening their doors on March 11, 1996, The Village Kitchen and Pie Shoppe has found their way into the heart of the Carlsbad community. Known for their whole-hearted comfort food, such as their homemade chicken pot pie, complimented by their delicious pies and pastries, this family-owned business has found major success over the past 26 years. 

Finding popularity among Carlsbad’s senior community, The Village Kitchen and Pie Shoppe has gained many regulars that they tend to see almost every weekend. David Raichel, a customer for almost 20 years, explains what’s so enjoyable about spending time at the restaurant.  

“It’s a family-owned restaurant and it just has that family-type atmosphere,” Raichel stated. “It’s relaxed and it reminds me of the way restaurants used to be.”

Parked cars sit in front of the family-owned restaurant, The Village Kitchen and Pie Shoppe. This local business can be found at 905 Tamarack Avenue in Carlsbad. (Photo by Isabella Bernabeo)

Even while The Village Kitchen and Pie Shoppe’s business is currently booming, it wasn’t always this way. Annette Bradley, the owner of The Village Kitchen and Pie Shoppe, had just sold a previous business location in Vista in search of an area to open a larger restaurant. Once she found The Village Kitchen and Pie Shoppe’s current location off of Tamarack Ave, she bought it and began to construct her new business. 

However, they faced difficulties trying to build up their clientele, resulting in a quiet restaurant for the first few years. Eventually, the business was able to place their footprint in the city of Carlsbad. Just as The Village Kitchen and Pie Shoppe became immensely popular, a fire occurred. 

In May of 2003, Annette Bradley received a call that the restaurant’s location was on fire. It was reported that  a stove had been left on after closing and later that night workers from Rite-Aid across the street had seen The Village Kitchen and Pie Shoppe on fire. 

The workers were able to call the fire department in time to extinguish the fire before the entire building was able to collapse. However, the fire resulted in the business receiving $250,000 in damages and left the popular location closed until February of 2004. 

“I couldn’t go to the mall or the grocery store without someone asking me when we were going to reopen,” Annettee Bradley stated in an interview with reporter Kristina Ray.

On their grand reopening on Valentine’s Day, The Village Kitchen and Pie Shoppe faced crowds like never before. And they remained this way for years after. Once again the restaurant had found major success among their community.

An array of pies sit in a display case to keep them fresh. In addition to their abundant menu of year-round pies, the restaurant occasionally offers their customers seasonal pies, such as their fresh strawberry pie and fresh peach pie. (Photo by Isabella Bernabeo)

This success continued on until March of 2020 when businesses all around the world were forced to shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The shutdown resulted in The Village Kitchen and Pie Shoppe struggling to keep their beloved restaurant running.  

“One thing that my mom had said to me [during lockdown] that really stuck was ‘it’s not whether we are going to make it or we’re not going to make it, it’s that we don’t have a choice,’ so when you have that mentality you’re going to do whatever it takes to win,” Chris Bradley, son of Annette Bradley and partial owner of the restaurant, stated. 

Soon after lockdown, The Village Kitchen and Pie Shoppe decided to depend on their to-go orders to continue serving their community quality food. Eventually, the business was able to open up their patio to customers only to be shut down once again a few weeks later. Having had enough of the closure, Annette Bradley was determined to make a stand, deciding to include the restaurant in a local quiet protest that other businesses in the area also took part in. 

“We opened up our doors and the city of Carlsbad was just so happy to come back,” Chris Bradley said. “We didn’t have any trouble and I think because [my mom] made that move is why we’re still here today.”

Even with the business’s major success after the pandemic, The Village Kitchen and Pie Shoppe continues to face the aftermaths brought on by COVID-19. Prior to the pandemic, the restaurant had 43 employees to help them run their day-to-day needs. However currently, The Village Kitchen and Pie Shoppe has only a little over 30 workers, needing many employees to work overtime in order to keep up with business. 

Inflation of products has also made it exceedingly difficult for the restaurant to purchase its’ needs for their popular meals. However, The Village Kitchen and Pie Shoppe remains loyal to their customers, promising a delicious and filling meal every time.  

“No matter how much inflation goes we never cut on our sizes and portions because that’s how we believe that people who chose to spend their money on us [should receive their food],” Chris Bradley said. “We want to give them the best meal possible from quantity, quality, as well as service.”

Despite the enormous odds against them, The Village Kitchen and Pie Shoppe has remained resilient against all of the challenges they’ve faced over the past 26 years. In the future, the restaurant hopes to continue to mark their spot on Carlsbad, reassuring the community that their love and passion goes into each dish.