Cape pies are O so good

Oprah Winfrey just wanted to clear up a few things.

“I am calling,” Winfrey said during a brief phone conversation yesterday, “to confirm the pie-gate escapade actually did happen.”

On Friday, a spokeswoman for Harpo Productions denied that Winfrey had purchased a selection of pies from the Centerville Pie Co. while on the Cape last week for Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s funeral.

Yesterday, however, Winfrey set the record straight.

“It’s absolutely true,” she said, calling while on vacation in Hawaii. “It’s a great pot pie, I tell you.”

Word of Winfrey’s interest in the Cape Cod pie business broke last week, when Kristin Broadley, owner of the Centerville Pie Co., confirmed she had delivered some of her wares to the media mogul and her traveling party — including security personnel and best friend Gayle King — at their Hyannis lodgings.

“It’s a good thing I opened the door. Security usually doesn’t let that kind of thing through,” King said in a phone interview yesterday. “But I saw pies and said, ‘Let me just take a look-see.'”

And though she is not usually a fan of chicken pot pie, King was convinced to try a bite.

“It was: Oh. My. Goodness,” she said.

The whole group, in fact, was so impressed with the pies that Winfrey called Broadley directly, delighting the pie shop proprietor.

A good word from Winfrey, after all, has been known to make instant bestsellers out of everything from books to bath and body products, a phenomenon often referred to as the “Oprah Effect.”

Two years ago, Provincetown’s tourism director had to resign his post when it was revealed that he, in a fraudulent attempt to harness Winfrey’s promotional power, had falsely claimed she had endorsed his self-published book.

After Winfrey’s initial phone call to the pie shop last week, her assistant followed up with an additional order. Later yet, he called again to add to the order.

In all, Broadley said, she delivered more than 20 pies — including the chicken pot, custard and banana cream pies the group had ordered, as well as a few bonus confections — to Barnstable Municipal Airport before Winfrey’s plane departed on Friday.

Over the weekend, King — who hosts a program on Winfrey’s Oprah Radio on Sirius XM — heard that doubt had been cast on Broadley’s story. On King’s radio show on Monday, she attested that she and her famous friend had indeed enthusiastically eaten the pies and ordered more for the road.

She even called the Times during the live show, but reached voice mail.

“We didn’t want anybody to think that Kristin wasn’t telling the truth,” King said. “I am on a mission to make sure people know about her.”

The coverage has triggered an avalanche of interest in the Centerville Pie Co., Broadley said.

“We’re getting calls from all over the place wanting pies,” she said.

At least 50 inquiries have come in from places like California, Illinois, Tennessee and Texas, she said.

And King, also an editor at O, The Oprah magazine, said she would love to give the pie shop even more publicity.

“She is definitely magazine-worthy,” King said.

But the relatively young company — the shop opened on Route 28 just five months ago — is not yet set up for shipping, or even to take credit cards.

“Oh boy, am I working on that,” Broadley said yesterday.

She hopes to have the ability to accept credit cards set up by the end of the week, she said, and has been busy meeting with vendors about packing and shipping her wares.

“It’s just kind of neat,” Broadley said of her company’s sudden fame. “We’ll see what happens next.”

This story was published in the Cape Cod Times on August 20, 2009. Read the story, see photos and listen to Gayle King call Sarah at CapeCodOnline.com.

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