Original House of Pies is a chain with roots in California. However, for many years the restaurant has been more connected to Houston than any other city. It was founded in 1965 by Al Lapin Jr. the man who had also created IHOP about 10 years prior. Throughout the 1960s the chain expanded mostly within Southern California. In April 1970, “OHOP” as it was sometimes referred to, began a multistate expansion. The first location outside of California was the Houston location. Franchise rights were being offered entire cities at a time, for essentially just the price of one restaurant. In Houston the corporate management took out a full page ad to salute their newest franchisee.
The House of Pies of the 1960s and early 70’s was not what we think of today. First there was the chain’s size, which is estimated to have been around 60 units at is peak. Second was the menu, which served a very limited number of rotating dishes (3-5 per serving time) sometimes using a buffet component. Third was availability of food, breakfast was only available in the early morning, as well lunch and dinner were only available during their respective times. Finally, the hours which generally ran from 6AM-12AM on Weekdays, and 2AM on weekends but did vary somewhat by location.
Most locations were built in a similar manner. A square “cottage” style house was at the front of the building. With a high pitched roof, and centered chimney. This part of the restaurant held the bakery, display cases, and cashier. The walls of the cottage were made of pitched glass, and were surrounded by stone and wood. A long, slim, rectangular building was attached to the back of the cottage. The kitchen and restaurant were located in this section. The exteriors of these buildings were generally stuco with an accent arch added. Some larger locations would have two of these rectangular buildings
In the mid 1970s as the chain reached peak expansion it became evident that it was not doing well. Especially when compared to other International Industries companies, such as Orange Julius and IHOP. A decision was made to modify the restaurant to help increase sales. Many updates were made, such as changing the menu setup to a more traditional diner menu similar to IHOP. The hours were also expanded with most locations becoming 24 hours. Despite all this, the company began to falter. Generally each city would either continue to operate under a new name/franchise or the locations would be liquidated.
By 1976 the Original House of Pies as a company had been sold to owner of the Houston locations, Robert Herndon. The company now consisted of the Denver, Omaha, and two Houston locations. They also owned, and continue to own the rights to the logo, menu, and pies. As far as I can tell some kind of agreement existed with the California locations. As they continued to operate well into the 1980s. As time wore on and closures increased we ended up with the final three original locations. Los Angeles, and Houston. They differ in menu, but maintain a shared heritage.
Houston’s presence started in April of 1970 with the Kirby location. It was a company owned location, and was under the direction of Regional Supervisor Martin Sprung. The Westheimer location would follow shortly after in August of that same year. Advertisements in other cities showed that land had been leased for a third Houston location, although it was never built. Theses ads also showed plans to expand to Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio. The locations were owned by the International Industries subsidiary, Uniworld Foods” at least until 1973. The ownership would eventually Houston’s locations would be purchased by David A. Herndon, who would in turn operate them up until 1996, when they were sold to the current owners.
Two locations were built in small towns around Seattle, one in Bellevue the other in Lynnwood. Both locations opened with hours of 7 A.M.-12 A.M. (2.A.M. on Weekends), quite a bit later than most other locations. Being an early location the Seattle stores did sell the original menu. The locations would be sold to Jim Davis in 1975 who had worked for the corporate, and was possibly the Regional Supervisor. When the stores were sold they left the corporate chain, and adopted a new logo and name. Changing to “Hi-Quality House of Pies”. The locations seemed to have trouble selling food, changing their menu and adopting the slogan “We have more than just good pies”. These changes led to the renovation of the interior. Under new ownership the Bellevue location expanded their store to 24 hours, and the Lynnwood location began opening at 6 A.M.
Below is a list of Original House of Pies locations. It is NOT complete. If you have any locations or information to add please leave it in the comments below.
|3112 Kirby Dr Houston, TX 77098||1970-Present First location outside California|
|6142 Westheimer Rd Houston, TX 77057||1970-Present Company Owned, stores had also opened in CO, WA by this point.|
|6134 Antoine Dr Houston, TX 77091||1987-2007? 2nd Generation, Was not 24 hrs Franchised from the Houston location, now a Mexican Restaurant|
|11311 Fuqua St, Houston, TX 77089||Former Black Eyed Pea, opened 2017|
|444 FM 1960 Houston, TX 77090||1992?-1993? 2nd Generation,|
|1330 Lake Woodlands Drive, The Woodlands, TX 77380||Opened late 2018 in former Black Eyed Pea|
|800 N Harlem Ave, River Forest, IL 60305||1970-1980 Demolished in 1992, approximately where now abandoned bank is.|
|223 N York St Elmhurst, IL 60126||1972-1980? Became Rainbow Restaurant which is still operating, although they moved from original building in 2019.|
|106 S Northwest Hwy Park Ridge, IL 60068||1972-1980 Now The Original Pancake House, Still has the original exterior "house" theming|
|9001 W Center Rd, Omaha, NE 68124||1970-1980? Address is Approximate, building was demolished in the early 90s.|
|745 Colorado Blvd, Denver, CO 80206||Still Resembles a House of Pies, building split between Chipotle and Cheba Hut. This was the 2nd Chipotle and dedicates much of how early locations were designed.|
|1869 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027||Still Open, The Final CA location Was remodeled after company split, including removal of old logo.|
|6031 San Vicente Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90036||Still Standing, slightly remodeled exterior, interior completely remodeled. Now Fortune House Chinese Restaurant|
|385 S Winchester Blvd, San Jose, CA 95128||Still standing, original exterior repainted. Now Kenji Sushi|
|14136 Whittier Blvd, Whittier, CA 90605||Demolished 2012, was somewhat remodeled. Was "Polly's Pies" closed after a fire.|
|185 University Avenue, Palo Alto, CA||Exterior Facade is somewhat changed but retains original OHOP shape. Now a Whalburger|
|10152 Balboa Blvd Granada Hills, CA 91344||Open in 1969 Located in the "Hills Shopping Center" most recently "El Queso Grande" a Mexican Restaurant. Completely Remodeled|
|1756 S Pacific Coast Hwy, Redondo Beach, CA 90277||Still standing, operating as part of the "Original Pancake House" chain.|
|501 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401||Still standing, most recently a Panera Bread. Was a Polly's Pies for many years.|
|6565 Hollywood Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90028||Still standing, now a convenience store. The House of Pies logo terrazzo is still in front of the door. This was the second to last California location to close.|
|805 Fair Oaks Ave, South Pasadena, CA 91030||Still standing, now "Canoe House" a Hawaiian restaurant, prior to that was Wild Thyme, which served many similar OHOP items, and pies.|
|10822 Lakewood Blvd, Downey, CA 90241||Still standing, now Pieloons. Serving a similar menu, with a similar setup.|
|4105 Atlantic Ave Long Beach, CA 90807||Demolished early 2000s?|
|1020 Bellevue Way NE Bellevue, WA 98004||Original building still stands, but it has been highly modified. Closed prior to 1984.|
|6200 196th St SW Lynnwood, WA 98036||Demolished Stood Approximately where the Nissan Dealership is today. Closed prior to 1984|
|11817 NE 8th St, Bellevue, WA 98005||Demolished 2008, Stood Approximately where Infiniti Dealership is today. Sold and renamed "High Quality House of Pies" Closed sometime after 1987|
|17611 128th Pl Ne Woodinville, WA 98072||Factory which the bakery portion to after the restaurant closed. It ran under the name "High Quality House of Pies" until at least 2001.|
|1875 E Murray Holladay Rd, Salt Lake City, UT 84117||Unsure status of building. Unable to find exact location|
|1701 S State St, Salt Lake City, UT 84115||Building still standing, exterior slightly modified, and interior completely remodeled. Now a Title Loan place.|
|1020 E 21st S St South Salt Lake, UT 84119||Original location, Likely demolished, although addresses have changed. Likely where Zion Bank is.|
|1915 4800 S, Murray, UT 84123||Unsure status of building. Unable to find exact location|
|10502 SE Stark St, Portland, OR 97216||Likely stood approximately where Jack in the Box is today|
|217 Welch Ave Ames, IA 50014||Demolished, stood where apartment building is today. 1971|
|4242 N Central Ave Phoenix, AZ 85012||Demolished|