frontier pies closed

I had a hankering for a warm piece of corn bread with honeybutter, a fresh navajo taco and a piece of pie to top it off. The hankering made me think of one restaurant: Frontier Pies. I went to the closest one I knew of and discovered it had closed. No fear I thought, there was another one not too far away that would have the same rustic atmosphere and good food. However, after driving across town, I found the second location in the same dark and dismal state as the first and my hankering remained unappeased.

I checked online to find out what happened and had a spooky feeling of synchronicity. On New Year’s Day, the day I had craved a meal at Frontier Pies, an article at the Salt Lake Tribune was published explaining that Frontier Pies had closed. The owners weren’t able to compete with the new restaurant chains that had opened in recent years and were forced to close.

Kelly Christensen, part-owner of the seven Frontier Pie restaurants in Utah, is writing a book about his experience managing the restaurants. “It’s for people who are thinking of going into business,” he said. “There’s not a school that could teach what we went through.”

I’m sure he learned a lot from the experience, but the end result was that his businesses shut down. I would rather read a book written by someone who was able to keep the business thriving. Then again, learning from the mistakes of others can be a good way to keep from making those mistakes yourself.


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  1. I had the same experience with craving something from frontier pies! I also went to a couple of these places and found them closed. I LOVED their shrimp stir fry and boysenberry pie, and their rasberry lemonade was the best I have ever tasted.

    I actually worked as a server at a fronteir pies, and I wasn’t overly impressed with their business practices. I remember they opened one in Rawlins Wyoming when I was in high school and some friends and I ended up serving there. They were constantly “weeding out” servers and getting rid of people who didn’t fit their standards (which were way too high considering the pool they had to hire from), until there were no available high school kids left (Rawlins is way to small to try and do this). Plus, in dismissing such a great number of students, they burned a lot of bridges and ended up have to shut down. Rumor was, they had ran out of people to hire and noone would work there. Their staff and service was horrible after about a year.
    I later worked at a frontier pies in Salt Lake City and it was much better.

    Comment by carlene on January 2, 2004 @ 3:33 pm
  2. Back when I was in the restaurant business my dream was to own a deli or small pastry shop but was quickly brought to my senses. Owning a restaurant is very difficult and the odds are against your succeeding. These days, unless you have a large financial backer to get you through the rough years, or are part of a large chain, then your pretty much doomed. However, there are a number of restaurants that do extremely well, but they have a rock solid business plan and customers that are loyal to them because of long years of good food and service. Either way, it’s a tough gig.

    Comment by jason on January 4, 2004 @ 11:45 am
  3. Good. I can’t stand that place. Especially their soup in a bread bowl. Ugh.

    Comment by Mel on January 8, 2004 @ 4:59 pm
  4. I was a long time employee of Frontier Pies and the truth to the whole story is that they were a company that had more than they could handle. Mr. Christensen was the reciepient of restaurants that were already in trouble when he bought them. The problem was we forgot what was important in the business and that was making every guest experience a memorable one. We got caught up in all the “Politics of the business” and that was the down fall.

    Comment by undisclosed on January 11, 2004 @ 11:53 pm
  5. The New Restaurant in Rawlins where Frontier Pies was is the same owners!!!

    Comment by M on September 14, 2004 @ 10:20 pm
  6. Kelly was the most difficult man I ever had to work for. I worked with several different managers and general managers for Frontier Pies and he was by far the worst boss you can imagine. I rejoice in his misery and hope his book flops.

    Comment by Lyle on October 12, 2004 @ 4:55 pm
  7. When did they close their restaurants?

    I had been there only once & it was long time ago.

    Comment by TomLuu on October 22, 2004 @ 10:49 am
  8. The Salt Lake Tribune article was published on January 1, 2004 so I would guess it was some time in December.

    Comment by dan on October 22, 2004 @ 11:00 am
  9. I’ve been online for a while looking for a recipe for a Sour Cream Pie. Frontier Pies had a good one does anyone have the recipe? Thanks

    Comment by Minerva on October 24, 2004 @ 5:44 pm
  10. Frontier Pies begin to close its Restaurants in July of 2002 and then one by one over the next few months they all closed except two that were deeded to the Managers but then they to had to close the doors. Mr. Christensen put all is focus in his other concept Iceberg Drive Inn. It is really seeing great success. He learned a lot in his mistakes with Frontier Pies and seems to be on the Right track with Iceberg.

    Comment by Undisclosed on November 18, 2004 @ 9:42 pm
  11. I would love to get the receipe for cornbread does anyone have it ?

    Comment by Heidi Van Yperen on January 23, 2005 @ 11:21 pm
  12. I have never read this before. I am one of the former employees of Frontier Pies. Interesting what people say when things are said and gone. I especialy enjoy the person that wishes misery on Mr. Christensen. I hope he does not beleive in karma, To wish such misery on someone is unthinkable, anyway to each thier own. Frontier Pies had its time. It did well for a lot of years and I was ther for both the good and the bad. The closure came from heavy debt that the owners had assumed from the previous owners and then borroed to try and save the concept. The business never had a chance to much Politics as one person mentioned. I know the owners and they did everything they could think of to save it. They did not take salarys and leveredged everything. In the end they lost it all millions in debt. Yes they are involved in another business that they have made very successful, however because they chose to pay thier debts and not run out on them, they will never see any money from it. However thier debtors will see it, so to the man who wished misery on Mr. Christensen I guess you get your wish. I have never heard Mr. Christensen ever wish it on anyone he has worked with. As far as his book I know Mr. Christensen was wanting to warn everyone at one point of all the mistakes he made, but as of late he has no time for a book, and will never write it, but does spend hours with people going into business and gives them examples of what worked and what failed. I do not excuse myself for defending Mr. Christensen or Frontier Pies, becasue I know what really happend and what was really the cost of it all, not just for the owners but for the many people who worked there over the years. As far as the recipes if your really looking for them E mail Mr. Christensen he probably would teach you how to make some.

    Comment by Brent A on March 23, 2005 @ 5:57 pm
  13. The story of Frontier Pies is really sad!! It is one of greed, dishonesty, ego’s and everything that is wrong with Businesses that fail. It was a great concept because it fit the Mormon Heritage of Utah and in my mind I belive it should not be out of business. It should have survived for years to come. Mr. Christensen is a wonderful man and I think it is wrong for people to write and say the things that they do about him. He was not ready for the challenge he took and he is man enough to admit it. He lives with the misery of it everyday. Mr. Christensen is by no means innocent in this whole thing, the blame goes to everyone involved. He is very much a control freak and wanted all his way. In the end that is what he got. He was blinded by his own people that were close to him and suppose to represent him for everything he stood for. His “right hand people” would praise him to his face and literally lie, cheat and steal behind his back. I had so much proof of it but never came forward to tell him because in his mind, these were wonderful people in his eyes. He did do something and one point but then those people were allowed to come back into the company and continue there evil. Those people I don’t feel sorry for because they today are suffering for what they did. The realm of evil spread so far into the company that the people who were truly honest and cared, started to not care anymore and that is what the downfall of the company. The lesson learned should be that when you go into business you better know what is happening in your company or YOU will lose in the end. Always do the right things and you will come out ahead. I just hope Mr. Christensen knows what is happening in his new company so he does not meet the same fate as his old one. Only time will tell. I pray for the best for him.

    Comment by Curtis J (maybe) on March 28, 2005 @ 5:36 pm
  14. Did Anyone ever have any luck finding the Cornbread recipe? I would love to get it.

    Comment by AM on November 16, 2005 @ 2:34 pm
  15. Just add half a cup of sugar (or to taste) to a Krustez Cornbread box. If I remember; it was pretty basic. Doing this will make it a little more like cake. I worked there years ago.

    Comment by Jason on December 9, 2005 @ 8:19 pm
  16. There are still a few Frontier Pies in operation. Two in Montana and I think one in Idaho. The two in Montana are in Bozeman and Helena. They also sell packages of cornbread mix so that you can make the cornbread at home. You might be able to call the store and see if you can order some to have shipped to you. I can’t say for sure that they will, but its worth a shot.

    Comment by mj on December 14, 2005 @ 2:35 pm
  17. I am sorry to hear the frontier pies in utah closed. the ones in Montana should have closed. The owner or the previous owner is one of the most dishonest men I ever met. Jerry McAuther woudld screw over is own Brother if he had the chance. I hope he will some day get what is comming to him. Yes I did work for the man for a few years and he treated all his employees like they were nothing but trash. I’m not sure who owns or manages the One in Rexburg and Idaho Falls but they are usally dirty and you and the food id awful.

    Comment by Eric on December 27, 2005 @ 7:59 pm
  18. I have to agree The Rwxburg and Idaho Falls Frontier have gone down hill these past few years. I have eaten at both these Frontier Pie locations and they are nothing like they used to be. The service and the food are so bad I dont see how they stay in business. The last time I was in there It was so bad that my family and I got up and left with out finishing

    Comment by W.V Ellison on December 29, 2005 @ 2:02 am
  19. How depressing…I have been craving Frontier Pies Hearty vegetable soup and a big slice of their cornbread…thought I’d jump onlione and look for the recipes….but from reading everything, I find that no one has had any success…I even tried to look on one of those “copycat” resturant recipe sites, but they don’t even list FP…how about the soup…any recipes for that ??…anyone ???anyone ???

    Comment by A. Bateman on January 2, 2006 @ 10:33 am
  20. I really hate to say this but your wasting your time by trying to find the Recipes for Frontier Pies menue Items. I have looked for them online and even called around for them. The only four Frontier Pies Resturants still open are in Montana and Idaho.
    I know by experience the ones in Idaho are by far the worst run Resturants I have ever eaten at. The lady who I spoke with who clams to be the owner has no right working with the public.
    She is rude and I can see why all I hear is bad things about Idaho Falls and Rexburg Frontier Pies. Maybe in time they will meet the same fate as the ones in Utah.

    Comment by Beth Martin on January 3, 2006 @ 12:14 pm
  21. The Frontier pies in Montana are now closes. I think the ones in Idaho ( Idaho Falls and Rexburg ) will be next. The owners wife has now right to work with the public. she treats people very badly. The Frontier Pies concept was at one time a great concept. But with all the greed and the ownership of the montana stores starting with Jerry McAurther the whole thing went down hill. and with the last two still in operation they will soon follow the same fate as the ones in Montana.

    Comment by eric on March 4, 2006 @ 11:53 am
  22. The whole story of Frontier Pies is ancient history. Nobody in Utah cares about it anymore!!! Let it die.

    Comment by unknown on August 22, 2006 @ 11:23 pm
  23. Did you happen to notice that the last comment was way back in March, and the one before that was in January. I posted the entry in January of 2004 and it has received a slight trickling of comments since then.

    If you want it to die, stop searching for information on it and then commenting on sites you find.

    Comment by dan on August 23, 2006 @ 7:08 am
  24. That is funny, I am sure the owners that owe a lot a people money would like to see it die and pretend they don’t owe money to anyone anymore. Many people search for stories on Frontier Pies because they try to find Avenues to collect the money they never got. Hundreds of employees were screwed out of there paychecks. “Mr. Dan” should delete the blog if he does not want it searched!!! There is a genuies IDEA!!!!

    Comment by OG on September 4, 2006 @ 10:26 pm
  25. Who said I didn’t want it searched? I don’t mind a bit. I simply told the person who said nobody cares about it to stop searching for it online and commenting when they find an old blog entry about it.

    Comment by dan on September 5, 2006 @ 5:53 am
  26. The Idaho Falls Frontier Pies had a health inspection recently and it was listed in the Post Register( idaho falls news paper) it was so
    bad that I dont know how they stay open.

    Comment by erin on November 3, 2006 @ 12:06 pm
  27. It has been several years since I’ve visited Utah…and always ate at a Frontier Pies restaurant. I loved the soup and cornbread…and I especially loved their peanut butter pie. I might almost be willing to trade my eye teeth for a copy of that recipe. How does one make contact with the former owners?

    Comment by diane on November 25, 2006 @ 3:48 am
  28. diane: I don’t know how you’d get in touch with them. Perhaps this recipe would do?

    Comment by dan on November 25, 2006 @ 2:56 pm
  29. Rexburg Frontier pies does sell a cornbread mix…although it is fairly pricey. Do you think anyone would buy it on ebay? I’m sure that if you called frontier pies they would ship you some.

    Comment by Corinne on December 9, 2006 @ 1:15 pm
  30. I found this recipe in our local paper about 5 or so years ago.I don’t know if it’s the “real” recipe but it is good.Sometimes it comes out cakelike sometimes it’s crumbly.We don’t really care because we love it.So here goes:
    2/3 Cup marg or butter
    1&1/3 C sugar
    2 eggs
    1&1/2 C flour
    1 C cornmeal
    8 Tsp. baking powder
    2 C milk
    Mix all together and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes in 9 by 13 inch pan.

    Comment by Rachel on December 20, 2006 @ 1:02 am
  31. Sorry,but the recipe I posted was in the Billings Gazette in Montana in the cooking section.It was under the heading “Frontier Pie”cornbread.Sorry for any confusion.

    Comment by Rachel on December 20, 2006 @ 1:06 am
  32. Rachel: Thanks for the recipe!

    Comment by dan on December 21, 2006 @ 9:10 am
  33. I have the best memories of Frontier Pies!! We used to get coupons for a free slice of pie and my whole family would go, my parents, six boys and two girls, and we would each get our favorite. I always got the peanut butter. We would sit there for an hour at least and we would talk and talk. We always ended up in a huge laughing fit, we would just laugh until our eyes went bloodshot and we couldn’t breathe. We were quite a rowdy and certainly a very large group, but we were never asked to leave, even though we weren’t paying a dime. We used to go for dinner too, because they were so nice to us. I loved Frontier Pies.

    Comment by Tara on January 8, 2007 @ 2:17 pm
  34. The Fronteir Pies in Rexburg has gotten much better. New management has really turned things around. The servers are so friendly and helpful! The best place to eat in rexburg!!

    Comment by Bob on February 14, 2007 @ 10:09 am
  35. I loved Frontier Pies in Provo. I could eat an endless supply of their cornbread and raspberry lemonade. Their Malibu Chicken was excellent and I still dream of their Raspberry Peach Melba Pie.

    Comment by Tim on October 20, 2007 @ 4:14 pm
  36. I still miss it everytime I’m back in Provo and drive down University Parkway. If anyone else has some great recipes to share, especially the pie recipes, like their banana cream, funky monkey, chocolate cream, or fruit pies, please share them.

    Comment by Tim on October 20, 2007 @ 4:43 pm
  37. Looking for recipe from Frontier Pies! There Choc. peanut butter pie! Would anyone have it? I miss their pies! and since no one is open any more I thought they might want to publish them or something!!

    Comment by Jenn on September 21, 2008 @ 8:51 am
  38. Okay, I have to laugh at some of the recipes…

    My best friend and I were head bakers during their “successful” days in Provo. Ah, yes. Thanksgiving was torture making pies round the clock and it was fun to pitch new ideas, new pies to the owner. We happened to make the unfortunate mistake of mixing peaches and raspberries together the first time, no cream filling to separate the layers, and learned the pies fermented! Thankfully, those were not served to the public. Funky monkey was another mix-in wonder that worked. There were other pies that worked with special orders… cherry chocolate or an oreo pie. Had you known, you could request any sort of pie and we could make it.

    Those of you wondering…we would make a batch of vanilla cream and add the mixings to whatever desired pie. This also made for the chocolate cream. We made pies based on batches of nines, thirty-six or seventy-two pots, and then the dough was done in batches of hundreds—not single pies. We also did our baking in weight measurements. Not for everything, but man I remember pulling out the scales to put in so many pounds of shortening for the dough.

    For those who smack the business and hate the closings, I was one that was personally hired by Kelly, when my friends and I sat around eating a free slice of pie. I started as a busser and worked many areas of the restaurant until I ended there years and years later as a baker and hostess. I believe the downfall of the restaurant came with a price of dignity, loyalty and honesty. At times, Frontier Pies could run with the best; at other times, they lagged until they were forced to close. I had good bosses and bad ones. I had great memories and then some I wish to never remember, but do.

    So I would say a businesses success depends upon the structure of the community but works with the ideals of the owner and his staff. Should that goal shift for happier times they see success and make change. When loyalties and goals become a hinderance and success is thwarted, failure is imminent. Goals and conditions couldn’t be matched when I was there and times changed enough to know it was time for me to leave.

    Comment by S. on November 23, 2008 @ 5:18 pm
  39. @S Thanks for sharing your comments.

    Comment by Dan on November 23, 2008 @ 5:53 pm
  40. Thank you baker of Frontier Pies for giving me some hope of figuring out how to make the most delicious of pies the SOUR CREAM PIES. PLEASE give me some insight of how to make it!!! I am needing one desperately as I can’t get the wonderful taste out of my mouth.

    I actually worked at Frontier Pies for a few years (many years ago). To bad not as a baker or I would know what to do for the sour cream pies. But I remember when Kelly worked for Frontier Pies before he bought it. He was one of my managers. I never had a problem with him. Thought he was a great guy but maybe I just worked during the good years because I have great memories. Really fun atmosphere and people!

    Back to what I need though… Sour Cream Pie Recipe— thanks!

    Comment by T. on November 29, 2008 @ 11:08 am
  41. I used to work as a hostess at Frontier Pies in Provo back in 1999. I am looking for their recipe for the vegetable beef stew. Anyone know it? I remember it had cooked cabbage in it among other things. Thanks.

    Comment by Haley on April 24, 2009 @ 11:39 pm
  42. I used to work at one in Salt Lake. I remember them being pretty relaxed, and I don’t remember Kelly being mean (maybe he was to higher employees?) It did have it’s moment, but every restaurant does. They used to allow the employees to take home the pies all the time, they were pretty lax on a lot of things… It’s sad when any business fails, no matter how much someone dislikes the person…

    Comment by r on August 14, 2009 @ 1:13 am
  43. I use to work at the Frontier Pie in Logan, Utah. I started as a busser and ended up doing some of everything as one time or another. I didn’t cook then, but do now and wished I had gotten more recipes. I have the cornbread one and at one point had the vegetable beef soup (not anymore-UGHH).

    My favorite pie was the Sour Cream Blueberry and it is so easy!
    Bake a regular pie crust

    Sour Cream Filling:
    1 cup warm vanilla pudding
    1/2 C Sour Cream
    1 tsp. lemon juice
    1/4 tsp. nutmeg.
    Fill shell 1/2 full with fruit pie filling (blueberry, apple, cherry). Top with SC filling. Put a thin layer of whipping cream over top.

    It really is good and I condensed from the bakery. Anyone else with any recipes, I would love them! I miss the stir fry!!!!!!

    Comment by Cara on September 10, 2009 @ 3:37 pm
  44. Does anyone have the sour cream lemon pie recipe?

    Comment by Sabrina Russell on November 21, 2009 @ 7:50 am
  45. Can someone share the recipe for the raspberry peach melba pie? I have tried almost every recipe for peach melba pie and nothing comes close to the one Frontier Pies made!

    Comment by Aimee on January 1, 2010 @ 3:46 pm
  46. Sabrina…just looking for the sour cream pie recipe today and came upon your search. If you get it, please post it. We used to live in Pocatello and went there all of the time. Loved that pie place!

    Comment by Julie on April 17, 2010 @ 12:42 pm

    Comment by MONTANA on June 29, 2010 @ 5:59 pm
  48. Julie…last year at Thanksgiving we made a sour cream lemon pie using the sour cream filling from someones post on here. I will put in on here again in case you missed it.

    Sour Cream Filling:
    1 cup warm vanilla pudding ( I just used instant and it worked just fine)
    1/2 cup sour cream
    1 tsp. lemon juice
    1/4 tsp. nutmeg

    The recipe on here said to fill up the pie shell (I used Pillsbury crust) halfway with fruit filling or whatever you want and then top with sour cream filling and whipped topping. For the sour cream lemon I made the instant lemon pudding for the bottom layer which made it more creamy. I suppose if you want the clearer more gelatin type lemon you could use lemon jello. My family loved it with the lemon pudding. I am not a big lemon fan usually, I had looked up the recipe for my sister. I really love the pie made this way though. I don’t know if it the same as Frontier Pies, but I think that the sour cream filling part of it is and that is what made their pies really good. I hope this helps. :)

    Comment by Sabrina on November 18, 2010 @ 8:05 am
  49. found this recipe for the corn bread

    1/2 cup margarine
    1 cup + 3 tbsp. sugar
    2 eggs
    1 3/4 cups milk
    7/8 cup cornmeal
    7/8 cup flour
    2 tbsp. baking powder
    1 tsp. salt
    Use: 9″x13″ pan

    Mix together and bake at 360 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Stick a toothpick in the center and if it comes out clean your corn bread is ready.

    Comment by samantha on September 15, 2011 @ 12:21 pm
  50. I am looking for some good friends who worked at frontier pies in ogden utah during the years 93-95.

    Comment by Raigon on June 12, 2013 @ 5:31 pm
  51. I worked for Frontier Pies in Chandler, Az I believe it was the late 80’s. It was my very 1st job, after hearing the name Kelly it rings a bell. I almost remember a short chubby guy with mild freckles on his rosie cheeks, slightly thining gray hair, on most days he was all smiles. I started as a dishwasher for one week with the company and was busser the next, then got an opportunity to bake. There was so much dilemma with employees calling in and missing shifts that I remeber customers leaving on a busy day because service was slow. What is one to do when sometimes the problem in the business was irresponsible staff members failing to make their work shifts. I was a loyal worker at the age of 16, believe it or not. I got burned out working 7 days a week and attending school. I was forced to quit by my parents. Maybe it was because I was young and loyal to the company that I didnt see the bad side of a employer others had their unpleasant experiences with. Frontier Pies was a such a great memorable time in my life that I’m here today inquiring on it’s whereabouts. I could hear the music playing over in my head, songs like, Ronnie Milsap – I Would Have Missed It For The World & Waylon Jennings – Luckenbach Texas. I recall people dinning just for the nostalgia. The antique, Tin kettles, wagon wheels, rusted metal stoves just to name a few. The cowboy and cowgirl attire worn by the servers. It wasn’t those things that made Frontier Pies what it was at the time. The key ingredient was the chow that had the homemade feel to it down the apple everyone took home, left after dinner but most important then the delicious cornbread was the variety of pies you couldn’t find anywhere in town in one place alone. I wish someone who knows success, would purchase the rights to Frontier Pies and bring it back at a, responsible, manageable & controllable rate, that would give it an opportunity to thrive once more.

    Comment by Michael on December 20, 2013 @ 11:14 pm
  52. Does anyone have the receipe to the stir fry? I totally have a craving for it.

    Comment by Danielle on January 13, 2014 @ 2:08 pm
  53. Frontier Pies in Idaho Falls is now Closed

    Comment by Lamar Ellis on April 29, 2015 @ 12:15 am
  54. That’s too bad. I still have fond memories of their Navajo tacos.

    Comment by Dan on April 29, 2015 @ 1:23 am
  55. Ate at FP in Rexburg a month ago. Just as yummy as ever! Love the BBQ sauce on Chicken Strips. Scones cornbread and salads!! The vinaigrette is terrific!

    Comment by G Youngstrom on June 28, 2015 @ 2:28 am
  56. We are having a meal of ribs, mac and cheese and corn bread. I decided to do Frontier Pies cornbread which led me to find this page that FP has basically closed. We would not have known this since we have not lived in Ogden, Utah since 1996!! I loved going there for navajo tacos and their corn bread. We always made sure we ate it all so that we could get another one which we took home!

    Comment by Jennifer on December 25, 2016 @ 3:00 pm

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