Watergate Bakery is a family run business headed by Simon and Sarah, ably assisted by Jessica (Simon & Sarah’s daughter) who joined the bakery in 2016 and has become a much valued member of the team! Although Simon started his career back in 1979 as a chef, he always held a passion for bread and pies. In many of the pubs he and Sarah ran, pies became a very important feature of their menu. It was in the Butchers Arms in Audley that their Son first started learning the art of pastry making, helping Simon in the kitchen every Saturday morning. Pies proved to be so popular in Audley that Simon and Sarah had to open a ‘pop up pie shop’ selling pies for people to take home from the side door of the pub, the old ‘take out’ door! Then being used for an altogether different ‘take out’!
From there they moved to Oulton in Staffordshire, finally ending up at The Olde Jack Inn in Calverhall, Shropshire. It was here that the pies really started to take off. It became quite obvious that although people travelled to the pub to enjoy the warm & friendly welcome and the truly delicious home cooked taste of every aspect of the menu, pies were what people had really come for! Virtually every customer left with a number of take away pies! So much so, Sarah started attending the local farmers market in Whitchurch, Shropshire. Within a very short space of time they were selling in excess of 400 pies at the market alone every month!
Simon and Sarah decided to concentrate on pies and left The Olde Jack. They converted a shed at Sarah’s parents’ home and began making pies, pies and more pies! Selling to local shops and businesses and attending many local weekly markets and farmer’s markets. Soon they were producing over 5000 items a week from their little bakery in Burleydam! It soon became apparent that by using locally sourced quality ingredients the difference between the price they needed to sell to the shops and the price the shops needed to sell to the customer was becoming quite narrow! So, they cut out the middle man and opened their own bakery/pie shop in Whitchurch, a town which had supported them admirably and had been enjoying their wares for over 10 years!
A number of their previous wholesale customers extolled the virtues of how exceptional the pastry alone was in all of their pies. This gave Simon the idea of offering pie shells, raw, uncooked and frozen to sell to people who wanted to put their own fillings in. After much investment at the Bakery in Burleydam, all pastry making now takes place there, pies are baked in Whitchurch at the shop! Take a look at the Simply Pastry page for more information.
Although Sarah now spends much of her time preparing and baking pies and pastry goods, her true passion is dealing with customers and offering high levels of customer service. With Sarah’s front of house experience and Simon’s passion for food Watergate Bakery continues to go from strength to strength. The shop has become known locally as The Pie Shop, and whilst it’s nice to be known locally as this, Simon and Sarah now offer much more than pies! The Buffet Menu page includes many more of the products available at the shop, including the infamous tray bakes, from Rocky Road, to a slice of Coconut Paradise, who can resist? And where else in North Shropshire will you find breads such as Einkorn and Kamut on offer, the original wheats now enjoying a revival due to their ease of digestion and lack of modification. All bread at Watergate Bakery contains flour, water, salt and yeast as it should be!