Marie Callender, namesake of a popular restaurant chain and frozen-entree business that evolved from a pie shop, has died. She was 88.
The chain of 146 restaurants, 75 percent of them in California, is known for its pies.
Callender got into the food business by chance, answering a delicatessen’s help-wanted ad and making pies for the business at home, she recounted in 1986. The owner later persuaded her to start her own baking business and sell him pies.
She, her husband and son set up shop in Long Beach in a rented Quonset hut and began selling pies in 1948. Her only child, Donald Callender, sold the company to Ramada Inn in 1986, when it had annual sales of $175 million.