Sam Jackson, the owner of KO Pies in East Boston, plans to sell the acclaimed Australian restaurant in 2019 and leave the city. This news comes just one month after Jackson announced the official closure of the smaller original KO Pies location in South Boston, which had already been closed temporarily since late April.
But there are no immediate sale plans in place for the waterfront Eastie outpost, Jackson told Eater, and patrons will be able to continue to enjoy Australian meat pies and beer-soaked parties for now.
“People think I’m packing up and leaving this weekend,” Jackson told Eater. “We haven’t found a buyer yet. We’re doing this in an untraditional way because we can. It’s a wonderful position to be in.”
Jackson told Eater he’s happy to be able to sell on his own terms, which is something that doesn’t always happen for restaurant operators.
“Sometimes you owe your vendors a shitload of money, you can’t pay your staff, and you have to close the doors really quickly,” he said. “A lot of places have to do it that way, and we’re lucky we’re not one of them.”
KO Pies first opened in South Boston in 2010, before expanding to the East Boston Shipyard in 2012. Along with its pies, it has become known for throwing Australian-themed parties, like the Dundee Pie Challenge and Australia Day celebrations.
Jackson told Eater that the outpouring of support since he made the announcement has been overwhelming, and he’ll miss Boston once he departs.
“Of course I’ll miss Boston,” he said. “I have property here, I have an awesome little house by the beach in Winthrop. I have a huge network of friends, people I plan on staying in touch with. I’ll miss the tight-knit food community. I’m not going to miss the winters, though.”
Jackson told Eater that he’s not exactly sure what the future holds, but that it will probably include food in some capacity. Mostly, he’s excited about the inevitable adventure that lies ahead.
“The success of KO came from that fact that I landed in Boston with no plans to do meat pies,” he said. “I worked privately for a family, and after living here for two years I noticed a gaping hole in the food scene regarding meat pies.”
“I like the idea of bouncing around the world, finding somewhere to live, and saying, ‘Hey, this place is lacking something that I can produce,’” continued Jackson.
But he reiterated that he’s in no rush to sell, or to leave.
“I’m not going in a hurry,” he said. “I want to make sure the decision I make offloading KO is the right decision.”
He even noted that he hopes someone will buy the business and, instead of turning it into something else, ramp the KO Pies business up a notch.
“But until that day comes, come on down and have some fun.”