For a perishable product that’s been out of circulation for more than two years, reminders of Hubig’s Pies have a way of turning up around town.
Racks where the fruit-filled fried pies were once stocked in corner stores sometimes still bear the brand name, as if just waiting for fresh product to return. Some vehicles retired from the Hubig’s delivery fleet even ply the city streets today, converted now to contractors’ vans with remnants of the Hubig’s logo still visibly stenciled to their flanks.
For those sensitive to any possible sign of a Hubig’s return, it all adds up to a tantalizing tease.
“Unfortunately, I have no good news to report,” said Drew Ramsey, who was the last manager of the Simon Hubig Pie Co.
That company is owned jointly by Ramsey’s father, Otto Ramsey, and business partner, Lamar Bowman.
“One of those partners wants to go forward and the other does not,” Drew Ramsey said. “They’re not in concert about how to proceed. I would like to say that we will be reopening, but I really have no control over whether that happens.”
Bowman didn’t return calls seeking comment, but the evident deadlock for Hubig’s future has extended now for many months.
The company’s Dauphine Street plant was destroyed by fire on July 27, 2012. Plans were underway for a new facility, and in June 2013 the New Orleans City Council approved a request to build a new plant on Press Street.
And that’s where the progress stopped.
Drew Ramsey is aware of rumors making the rounds — that some angel investor is in the wings, that a new deal is on the verge of happening. He chalks that up to wishful thinking.
Tangling things further is an ongoing lawsuit filed in late 2012 by Hubig’s against the supplier of its plant’s fire suppression system, alleging that the system failed to protect its facility. While that suit continues, Ramsey said, options to dissolve and reform the brand are off the table.
Still, Ramsey said he’s still in touch with the company’s former employees, as well as some customers and suppliers, keeping a vestige of the old Hubig’s network in place for the day when he does have better news for the pie-eating public.
Other hand pies have appeared around town (see related story). None can replace the niche Hubig’s held, but the way New Orleans people respond to them speaks to a yearning that grows each time some semblance of Savory Simon crosses our paths.
Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter @IanMcNultyNOLA.