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Thanksgiving favorites: Lion House rolls and pies

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SALT LAKE CITY -- A quiet, peaceful feeling has settled over the Lion House Pantry now at 63 E. South Temple St., but in the last week the men and women who bake those world-famous rolls and pies have literally worked nonstop to meet the demand. They call what they do "easy as pie" and they make it look that way, but the bakers at the Lion House work around the clock for days.

Two huge racks of rolls come out of the standing, double oven and another two go in, all of this effort to make Thanksgiving memorable for thousands of families.

Brenda Hopkin, The Lion House Head Baker, said, "We've already shipped out about 6,000 dozen rolls to help all those people in other states have Lion House rolls for Thanksgiving. When I started 20 years ago, we made 300 dozen rolls and 150 pies for Thanksgiving, that was all the orders we'd take and now, 20 years later, we are doing that on a daily basis."


Every Thanksgiving, they bake 11,000 pies, 75,000 cookies and 65,000 dozen or three-quarters of a million rolls.

"It's amazing to me, how much more...," she mused..."I don't know how much more we can grow because you keep thinking you'll hit a limit, saturation point, nobody else wants rolls but the more we put them out there..."

And if you think you couldn't possibly do it the way they do at Lion House Bakery, now there's a book and accompanying DVD so you can learn.

Hopkin says, "That's been my goal from the time that I have been head baker, is to help everybody be able to feel like they can be successful doing the same thing that we do. It has just grown and grown, and the more I give out our techniques, the more business we have here."

Thirty bakers have been working 12-hour shifts for weeks, but Hopkin and her assistant set up cots nearby to grab a couple of hours of sleep for the last three days before Thanksgiving.

The now world-famous rolls are featured items at the Lion House pantry, but their popularity inspired Hopkin to expand.

About eight years ago, she and her staff started supplying one Deseret Book in-store pantry, now there are 22 of them that sell pies, rolls, cake, cookies.

And there's more, people who live out-of-state want them as well.

She said, "We started shipping the first part of November to: Chandler, Ariz., Denver, Colo., Rexburg, Idaho, Ammon, Idaho, and then we consider, Logan because it's a ways away, is also one of our out-of-state shipments. Our hope is that they will enjoy Thanksgiving, that it will be a time of remembrance and saying, 'I remember having Lion House rolls at my Thanksgiving dinner, I remember having pies from the Lion House, that it can be a heritage and a tradition for them to have the same thing every year."

So all of this planning and baking and shipping begs the question: What about their Thanksgiving dinners?

"I buy my rolls and pies here just like everybody else," Hopkin smiled, "... and all of our staff does and my husband, bless his heart, he gets up in the morning and helps me stuff the turkey and puts it in the roaster and he peels the potatoes and does the rest of dinner."

Teamwork at home and on the job! It's too late to place an order as the holiday is upon us, but Brenda and her hardworking crew say there's another holiday just around the corner. Happy Thanksgiving!


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Carole Mikita


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