In 2006, I arrived in Minneapolis with a dream.
Passionate about building a career in the food business, I got my start as a sales rep for a food distribution company and, the next year, I knocked on the door that would become my destiny. As I walked into Merlins Rest Pub for the very first time, I felt like I was coming home—and I’ve felt that way ever since. Little did I know that the British Isles pub owner, Lee, would become the love of my life.
A proud Englishman through and through, Lee loves his British culture and food traditions—something he delights in sharing with his pub patrons. When he needed a new manager a year and a half later, he asked if I’d step in; he wanted his pub to make a name for itself by serving up satisfying, authentic British fare. His vision became my mission. I immersed myself in all-things British cuisine. Creating the dishes he grew up with became my favorite pastime, starting first with the classic Sunday roast and then experimenting with more advanced bakes.
In the time I had known Lee, he had been back to England, but not for the Christmas holiday. So, he’d buy his mince pies—a classic British holiday tradition—at World Market; they were the only option available to him here in the U.S. When he offered me my first mince pie, I thought it would taste like fruit cake. It didn’t. The flavor was unexpected—boozy, but also overly sweet, and it tasted like it had been mass-produced. It’s then that I knew I had to create an authentic, scratch-made mince pie. I wanted to bring a beloved holiday food memory home to Lee here in Minnesota.
While my first Christmas pudding wasn’t much to write home about, Lee’s eyes twinkled when he took a bite of my first mince pie. These were the pies of his memory. Crumbly shortcrust. Rich, layered, boozy mince. That was in 2012. I then slowly began introducing mince pies to our patrons at Merlins Rest. They were a huge success and, for British expats, they served as a vivid reminder of home. Anxious to put my mince pies to the ultimate test, we brought them home to England in 2018, where they were met with rave reviews from family. When my niece tried her first and then reached to claim all that remained, I knew I’d hit the mark. My mince pies were USA-made, Brit-approved.
Fast forward to December 2020. Coming off an exhilarating year that saw the opening of our second pub, Eagan Arms Public House, and the strain of the “dreaded lurgy,” as Lee called it, I was making my final batch of mince pies for the season. It was Christmas Eve, and tears were welling up in my eyes. I simply felt so blessed to have created a life that I loved and to have infused that love into the food I created. I wanted to ensure the Lees of the U.S. could share this quintessential British holiday tradition with their American family and friends.
I glanced at the clock—it was 11:11 am. At that moment, I knew I’d found my calling. I decided to create a new, online food business to share my mince pies, as well as my savory pies and Cornish pasties, with all who loved authentic British food like I did.
With a grandson on the way and borrowing from the name my beautiful niece Maddie used to call me as a baby, I gave the idea a name—Nana Tay Tay’s. My British bakery was born.
Now, in an extraordinary partnership with my daughter, Nichole, we’re delivering mince pies across the country to the delight of British expats and American converts, alike—and we’ll begin shipping the savory pies and pasties enjoyed by our pub patrons in the spring.
This bakery has been a labor of love, and I know that love comes through in the food we create.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
xo - Tracie
Nana Tay Tay's Team
Tracie Munce (right)
Tracie Munce became the owner of Merlins Rest Pub in 2007, and she opened Eagan Arms Public House in 2020 and Nana Tay Tay’s in 2021—fulfilling her dream of a rewarding career in the food business. Tracie specializes in leadership development and nurturing strong, collaborative teams. She’s also Nana to her amazing grandson, Ben. Passionate about cooking and baking, you can usually find her in “Tracie’s test kitchen.”
Nichole Munce (left)
Nichole Munce is the owner-operator of Nana Tay Tay’s, general manager of Merlins Rest Pub, and adoring mom to Benjamin. A master of execution and the brains behind the business, Nichole turns Tracie’s creative vision into a delicious, satisfying reality.