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The Secret To Longevity From One Of San Diego’s Oldest Restaurants

San Diego Chicken Pie Shop's dishes, May 8, 2019.

Photo by Ebone Monet

Above: San Diego Chicken Pie Shop's dishes, May 8, 2019.

In San Diego’s North Park neighborhood there’s a restaurant known for its homemade savory and sweet pies. San Diego Chicken Pie Shop is celebrating 81 years in operation. The restaurant first opened its doors in 1938. At that time the U.S. was in the middle of the Great Depression and Franklin D. Roosevelt was president.

Over the years, the Chicken Pie Shop has made some changes. In the early 1990s, it moved from Hillcrest to North Park and the Townsend family purchased the restaurant from the original owner George Whitehead.

Today, when you enter the restaurant, you are greeted by a colorful chicken — the first chicken owners Bob and Lisa Townsend say they purchased. The other ceramic and glass chickens on display are gifts from customers.

The modern world has caught up with the Chicken Pie Shop through marketing on social media and the ability to purchase products online. There are even plans to cater to the community's outdoor dining trend by constructing an outdoor patio.

Still, the Townsend's say the old school San Diego feel will remain.

Lisa Townsend says not changing the recipe is why customers keep coming back.

"It's been known since 1938... the same recipe that goes into the pie with the same crust and the customers come for it," she said. "Day in and day out...they want that consistency. We found that we can change little portions of the menu or add to the menu something we're missing maybe like chicken and waffles. But the main item — The Chicken Pie — is the consistent thing that will never change.”

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