Last week, services were held for Otto Hasselbarth, who has owned Anaheim's iconic La Palma Chicken Pie Shop since 1972. The German immigrant had run the shop with his wife all these years, drawing in customers for not just the restaurant's flaky chicken pies, but also the most underrated German chocolate cake in the county.
Restaurant workers tell the Weekly that Hasselbarth was getting ready to reopen the Chicken Pie Shop after his customary summer break, but that he passed away in his sleep earlier this month. The restaurant will remain closed for about a month, but is scheduled to reopen.
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My connection to the place was deeper than just digging into his pies for a piece of breast meat. My high-school sweetheart and all of her sisters worked at La Palma Chicken Pie Shop, with the best commute in the world--they lived in the house just across the parking lot from the restaurant. And the guy across the street from where I grew up, a native of Jalisco, worked at the place for as long as I could remember. My recollections of Hasselbarth were of a gruff owner who worked right alongside his workers--which is why they respected the hell out of him.
Our thoughts and prayers to those who knew Hasselbarth. And may La Palma Chicken Pie Shop continue for many more years...