Monica was born and raised in Naples. Her parents, John and Katherine Clark were both teachers at Naples Central School. John and Katherine bought the Boat Livery located in a little settlement called Woodville about four miles north of Naples, on the south end of Canandaigua Lake, when Monica was 3 years old. From then on, summers were spent at the lake and when she was older, working at the Boat Livery and cooking with her mother in the small restaurant they ran there. It was here that Monica continued to learn how to cook and bake and her mother always made her feel comfortable and welcome in the kitchen. Katherine’s pies were well known even then: locals, fishermen and boaters came week after week for a piece of the wonderful pies. The ground work was laid for what would come to be Monica’s Pies.
Monica started making grape pies in the fall of 1983, when Concord grapes were not in demand because of the popularity of white wines. It was a way to use the family grape crop and for her to stay at home with her young family. The first couple of years Monica and her mother made their pies in her mother’s kitchen and sold them right outside the door at a roadside stand on busy State Route 21. Their motto was “Try before you buy.” Monica and her mother’s pies were very popular and they soon outgrew the kitchen and moved on to the basement, a.k.a.: “The Pie Kitchen.” This seemed to suffice until Katherine decided it was time to sell her home. Monica did not want to give up the pie business, so she bought a four story barn on Route 21, not far from her mother’s place and renovated it into her new pie kitchen, shop and an apartment for her mother. The move was a good one and not long after they moved into the “Pie Barn,” Monica got a call from The Food Network’s Food Finds Show wanting to do a feature on her grape pies. Needless to say, national exposure was good for the pie business!!
In addition to being featured on the Food Network, Monica’s Pies is currently teaming up with The Pfaltzgraff Co., the nation’s leading brand in high-quality casual dinnerware and tabletop accessories for the home, as a “Pie Expert” to help launch the new Perfect Pie Plate, the ultimate baking tool for perfect results every time
Monica’s Pies is a family owned and operated business – her mom is the “crust expert,” her husband is in charge of the grapes, her kids attend to the customers in the shop and fold the pie boxes and Monica, along side two other “pie ladies,” makes her signature pie fillings. In addition to pies, a variety of jellies, jams, conserves and gift items are available in the shop, open seven days a week.