Today we’d like to introduce you to Mae and Steve Phillips.
Mae and Steve, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
In 2015 we sold our house and bakery to move our family from the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia to our new home in Fort Collins, Colorado. Our sole purpose of moving was to open Waltzing Kangaroo and share our passion for Australia’s favorite dish, the meat pie. Everything we make is hand made, using artisan baking techniques and quality ingredients (including our own Waltzing Kangaroo Bouillon Seasonings) to create authentic Australian comfort food.
For the last four years we have been making pies, savory rolls and sweets that are slow-cooked and baked fresh throughout the day.
Near the end of 2019, we started packaging and selling our Waltzing Kangaroo Bouillon Seasonings because we saw a need (for both home cooks and restaurants) for a “clean eating” seasoning. These seasonings are vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free and made locally in Colorado.
We closed Waltzing Kangaroo for April and May of 2020 due to COVID-19. Being open became even more stressful than the thought of closing down our business. We spent this time thinking how best to move forward, then set in motion what we needed to do in order to pivot, change our business model and hopefully thrive in the face of the pandemic. We decided to condense our menu, open more manageable hours and start shipping our pies nationwide. Now we are open Tuesday – Saturday from 11 am-2 pm with a selection of hot pies, side dishes, desserts and frozen pies to take home and reheat. We are taking orders (via our website) for boxes of frozen pies and shipping our Meat and Vegetable Pies as well as Sausage Rolls nationwide! We are extremely pleased to provide Australia’s most iconic dish, the meat pie, to Fort Collins and beyond!
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I’d say as smooth as we could hope for, certainly not always easy. We sold a business and a house to move to America (with a four-month-old and a four-year-old) and open a brand new business in the *hope* that Americans would embrace meat pies. No matter how well you think you plan, everything is always more expensive and takes longer than you think. Not having credit was very hard in the early days. Having to figure out health care was hard, expensive and confusing. Child care was also far more expensive than we imagined.
Certainly, in most ways though, we are extremely fortunate. I, Mae, was US born so although I had no family in Colorado, I do have family in the US, which has been very helpful. Other than some confusing Australian vs American terms and the ever-present imperial vs metric saga (haha), communication is easy for us. We certainly have it easier than many people who move to America to start a business. Also, we will never forget how extremely fortunate we were to actually have had choices. This is not always the case. We were privileged to have had choices and we chose very well! Fort Collins has been extremely welcoming and supportive. Fort Collins, and dare I say most of Colorado, are very proud of Colorado and proud to support local businesses.
Please tell us about Waltzing Kangaroo.
We specialize in Australia’s most iconic dish, the meat pie. We also make side dishes to go with the pies as well as desserts. All made from scratch. We are known for Aussie meat pies. Our best sellers are the traditional Steak and Gravy Pie and Sausage Rolls as well as Guinness Steak and Mushroom Pie, Beef Cottage Pie and Lamb and Rosemary Pie. With regulars, we are also known for our “Pie of the Month” which ranges from The Cheesy Dingo (an all-natural hot dog wrapped in handmade puff pastry with cheese, mustard, topped with everything bagel seasoning) to The Ralphie (diced bison slow-cooked in our bone broth stock with red wine, bacon, mushrooms, and carrot. Essentially a Bison Bourguignon in a pie!). We are most proud that we have successfully introduced a brand new product to the Fort Collins (and now American) market. We have had amazing employees over the years who truly believed in us and our products, then genuinely sold our products and helped us build a loyal following.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Started with shorter hours! Until COVID, we were open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Although we had a selection of quiche and amazing coffee, our morning trade (although loyal) never caught on the way lunch and dinner did.
- Pies range from $7.50-8.50, they are 5″ in diameter so considered a single serving but very filling
- The box of 16 frozen pies starts at $120 + shipping
- Waltzing Kangaroo Bouillon Seasonings are $4.99 each
- Address: 1109 W Elizabeth St
Fort Collins, CO 80521
- Website: www.waltzingkangaroo.com
- Phone: 9705688817
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: WaltzingKangaroo
- Facebook: WaltzingKangaroo
- Twitter: waltzingkangaro