Sean Garlick, co-owner of Garlo’s Aussie Pie Shop, at the store in Westwood. Photo by Westside People
When you first meet Sean Garlick, owner of Garlo’s Aussie Pie Shop in Westwood, you would think there’s no way this fit, former professional footballer eats the hand-pies he sells on a regular basis.
But you would be wrong.
“We live on them actually,” he said after taking a bite of a sausage roll. “I easily have a pie on average once a day.”
He said they keep the pastry extra thin with polyunsaturated margarine and the filling especially lean.
“Everyone thinks pastry it will make you fat,” he said during a recent visit to the shop near UCLA. “But because we keep it thin and only use as much as we need to, it’s really not that bad.”
The actual pies are similar to South America’s empanada, filled with a range of meat and veggies on the savory side. On the sweet side, they are made with fruit and cream. For breakfast too they offer a type of quiche and muffins.
For Sean and his brother Nathan, who built the Garlo’s brand around Sydney with 13 stores in five years, opening a new shop in California is a lot like starting over. While Nathan has relocated his family to the Westside, Sean will stay in Australia to oversee operations there.
“Just like this store, virtually on the very first day it’s too busy for its own good,” he said.
When the brothers launched in 2001, Sean was coming off a 10-year career in professional rugby and Nathan had just finished a pastry chef apprenticeship. In Australia, football and pies go together like hotdogs and baseball. “It’s so simple,” said Sean. “It’s easy, it’s portable and inexpensive. It’s really Australia’s favorite food. We just can’t believe it’s taken so long.”