Who’s Behind the Counter: Rebecca Quinn of Nonni’s Pies and Tarts
That’s Rebecca Ferrara Quinn, who is half Italian and is called Nonni by her three grandchildren
Catonsville Patch: Tell us about Nonni’s Pies.
Rebecca Quinn: I worked for 24 years as a manager for the Maryland State Teacher’s Association. When I retired six years ago, I started baking. Then in 2007, I saw the movie Waitress. The main character bakes pies and she has a passion for it, and I started thinking and talking about my dream of baking pies for people. People encouraged me; I took a course with the Health Department; I connected with Connie Neiman, who owns The Lunchbox Lady, and she agreed to let me use their commercial kitchen. I have marketing students at CCBC Catonsville working on a brochure and on my website, which should launch on May 19. Everything has fallen into place.
Patch: What has been the biggest challenge in starting a business?
Quinn: We opened on October 25, 2011, and I have found it challenging to balance the business with taking care of my mother and helping out with my grandchildren and being a mom to my youngest child, who is a senior in high school. But my therapy is baking pies!
Patch: What are some of your most popular pies?
Quinn: My signature pie is the Skillet Apple; you can buy it with or without the skillet! People also love the “Real” Tavern Toasted Coconut Cream Pie. We also have savory pies: Chicken Pot Pie and Classic Quiche Lorraine.
Patch: Tell us about someone who had a strong influence on you, personally or professionally.
Quinn: After I retired, I had a bunch of different jobs. One of them was taking care of an elderly woman, Mrs. Bennet, at Charlestown. She would tell me, “Rebecca, bloom where you are planted.” I was always thinking of chasing my dreams all over the place, and she helped me to see that Catonsville, where my roots are, was where I needed to be.
Patch: What do you consider to be your greatest strength?
Quinn: My people skills. I love talking to people. And I can make great pies. That’s not boasting; that’s from following recipes. Anyone can do it.
And I am a spiritual person; I pray for people when I bake pies.
Patch: Tell us about one of your hobbies.
Quinn: I love theatre and drama. If I’d had my wish at eighteen, I would have gone to New York. So my pies are sort of my theatrical presentation.
Patch: What is your favorite room in your house?
Quinn: Of course, the kitchen; it’s the warmth and the heart of the home.
Patch: What kinds of music do you listen to?
Quinn: I listen to country music and I love Torch Songs. Those are songs of longing and love, like Billy Holiday. I sing them out loud when I’m by myself.
Patch: Where is your favorite place in the world, other than home?
Quinn: I have loads of places I’d love to go: Paris, Portugal, but now that it’s spring, I’ve been thinking about Sherwood Gardens. I grew up around there and I would go when I was a kid. And right now, financially, I could do that!
Patch: What is your favorite thing about Catonsville?
Quinn: Catonsville has been home to me ever since my family moved to Rosewood from the city when I was sixteen. I went to Archbishop Keough High School. I know so many people. It is a down-to-earth community. We believe in our children and we have faith in the future.
Patch: Share some of your vision for the future of Catonsville.
Quinn: Part of my vision for Catonsville is my dream of having a shop on Frederick Road where people can come and have a slice of pie and share conversation and community and even learn to make pies. I could teach everyone how to make a homemade crust.
To order, email Quinn at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 443-743-0108. Quinn is also at the Catonsville Sunday Farmers Market this year.