The Sweet Legacy of Worcester’s Table Talk Pies

How Table Talk Pies, and its iconic red-and-white box, became a New England icon.

By Joe Bills

Jul 16 2023


The first pie I ever tasted was a Table Talk pie. Well, I don’t really know that for certain, but the odds are good. After all, those iconic red-and-white pie boxes have been a ubiquitous presence in New England supermarkets—and on the tables of families like mine—for a century.

In 1924, a couple of Greek immigrants named Theodore Tonna and Angelo Cotsidas started a bakery in Worcester, Massachusetts. Their bread was a hit, but it was the pies they’d cook at night and sell the next day that got people buzzing.

Aluminum pie plates from those early days, stamped “New England Flaky Crust Pie – 10c Deposit,” have become popular collectibles. They’re fun to throw, too—in fact, Table Talk acquired the Frisbee Pie Company in 1958, just as Wham-O was borrowing the name to brand its famous pie pan–inspired flying disc. 

As for the Table Talk name, it was inspired both by Tonna’s initials and by a cozy vision of American families gathering to eat and socialize. It struck a chord, and sales climbed. By the time the New York–based Beech-Nut Company bought Table Talk in 1965, it was the largest pie bakery in the country.

Two decades later, a series of corporate mergers and acquisitions relegated Table Talk to the scrap heap, seemingly for good. But former employee Christo Cocaine, who also happened to be Tonna’s son-in-law, bought the company out of bankruptcy and brought it home to Worcester, reopening it in 1986.

Today, under the leadership of Cocaine’s son Harry Kokkinis, the company employs more than 300 people and produces 250 million pies each year. 

Table Talk pies come in dozens of flavors and several sizes, including a popular 4-inch mini pie, perfect for snacking on the go. While not quite the social centerpiece the founders imagined, perhaps, it does leave one hand free for holding your phone.