Thomas Morrison may have operated Main Street’s first food cart—in 1883. The New Zealand-born Mormon pioneer brought a killer recipe for Scottish meat pies to town and sold the coal-warmed meals piping hot from a pushcart, according to Susan Tafoya, Morrison Meat Pies (MorrisonMeatPies.com) co-owner. “Once he moved into a bakery, those pies were sold at every bar, restaurant and corner store downtown,” Tafoya says. With a flaky cracker crust encasing minced beef, Scottish pies are the original “on-the-go” food.
Susan’s husband, 64-year-old co-owner Gene, has long loved the company. “I grew up next to the old facility, and early in the mornings, I’d watch them make the pies,” he says. Over the years, he would receive pies in return for minor work. He moved to California for his career, but he’d stockpile pies whenever returning to Utah.
One of the West’s longest-running production companies, Morrison was a family business for nearly 100 years. Gene and Susan Tafoya are the fifth owners, and when they purchased it in 2004, the company was on the verge of bankruptcy, says Susan. Because the flagship pie is labor-intensive, there were limitations for business and profits. Changes were needed so, in 2008, Aussie pies—puff pastries—were introduced. All-natural, locally sourced ingredients are used to fill chicken & vegetable, steak & mushroom and lamb & vegetable pies for savory, hearty eats.
The company is gearing up for more big changes. Its current West Valley City production facility is too small, so the owners hope to relocate nearby soon and increase output by 500 percent. This summer, they’ll go nationwide (in Smith’s/Kroger and Costco) and international (first to South Korea, then South Africa), which makes sense to Susan: “Meat pies follow where the British Commonwealth reached, because the British invented the pie ... It is the original comfort food.”