Brad and Brie Golliher have managed to make Warren County’s rural Boyce community a destination during their eight years as owners of the historic Boyce General Store.
Now, spurred by restrictions the coronavirus pandemic has placed on their restaurant along Woodburn-Allen Springs Road, the Gollihers are looking for destinations of their own as they enter the fast-growing food truck business.
And they aren’t just horsing around.
As with the promotions, special events and renovations the couple has made at the 151-year-old Boyce building, the Gollihers are galloping into the mobile food game in a mold-breaking way.
They plan to debut their food truck Saturday at Woodburn’s Circle W Farms “Charms from the Farm Handmade Marketplace” event in a refurbished horse trailer called the Cutie Pie Wagon.
The single-horse trailer, outfitted with shelves and storage compartments and decorated with brightly colored symbols matching Brie Golliher’s “Pie Queen” brand, will carry her pies, cookies and cinnamon rolls out into the community as a survival strategy in this COVID world.
“It has been a hard year,” Brie Golliher said as she sat outside the eatery that in normal times is serving hearty breakfasts and lunches and playing host to weekend live music events. “It has taken a lot of problem-solving skills.”
Brie Golliher admitted the social distancing restrictions brought about by the pandemic have limited business at the Boyce venue. She said the restaurant has been open on Fridays and Saturdays only and will in November transition to a Saturday-only schedule and allow her to concentrate on getting the Cutie Pie Wagon rolling.
Both Gollihers said the pandemic may have been the impetus to try something they have been considering for a while.
“We bought an Airstream (camper) a couple of years ago and thought we might convert it into a food truck,” Brie Golliher said. “But that wasn’t going to work.”
So the couple went looking for other options and found what they were searching for in Allen County.
“We looked at different trailers and trucks,” Brad Golliher said. “We found this one and jumped on it. I probably pushed the idea more than she (Brie) did. She wanted to expand the Pie Queen brand, and this was a way to get her name out there more.”
Brad Golliher renovated the trailer, adding the countertop and shelving his wife needed to operate what he calls a “transport wagon” instead of a true food truck with cooking capabilities.
“I won’t make anything on the wagon,” Brie Golliher said. “It will be prepared ahead of time. But instead of setting up a table and tent at events, I’ll just open the trailer.”
It’s a trailer that should draw attention, both for the treats like peanut butter fudge pie and chocolate nest pie and for the paint job done by local artist Andee Rudloff, who painted the mural in the Boyce General Store patio area.
“We pulled it (the horse trailer) into our barn and Andee painted on it for a week and a half,” Brie Golliher said. “I told her to do it like she did the mural.”
The result is a trailer with the Pie Queen logo on each side and the message “Life is short ... eat pie” on the back along with images of pies and cookies and the tools of the pie-baking trade. Combine that with a metal Pie Queen sign made by local craftsman Robbie Martin, and the Gollihers have an eye-catching horse trailer worthy of a thoroughbred.
“This was a challenge,” Rudloff said. “I tried to re-create the warmth of her kitchen and the high energy. I wanted to make sure she stood out. Very few people are going to have completely hand-painted trailers.”
Now, Brie Golliher just needs some more venues for showing it off. In addition to Saturday’s event at Circle W Farms, she plans to set up at the Gypsy Moon Marketplace scheduled Nov. 5-7 at the Highland Stables event venue.
The Pie Queen said taking her show on the road has “definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone.”
“My plans in January were totally different from what they are now,” she said. “I’ve learned in 2020 that you just need to be flexible with each day.”