In Conversation with Martin Flores of Marty McPies - The Bend Magazine

In Conversation with Martin Flores of Marty McPies

The Marty McPies owner discusses switching from a food truck to a brick-and-mortar, menu expansion and more

Photo of Martin Flores, owner of Marty McPies, in front of his new restaurant

Martin Flores | Photography by Robin Blackshear

Martin Flores, affectionately known to most as “Marty,” is the brains behind one of the most popular food trucks in the Coastal Bend, Marty McPies. The food truck first opened its service window in January of 2021 and its reputation as one of the best pizza places in town began to spread quickly. Now, just two and a half years later, Flores is opening a permanent location. 

Before 2021, Flores hadn’t ever actually worked in a kitchen. He spent the majority of his career in the military and working in the railroad and refinery industries around the country. “Everywhere I went,” he said, “pizza was there.” Similar to seeing a familiar face in a crowd, eating a slice of pizza became a way for Flores to feel connected to the communities he resided in. “There are so many styles of pizza, but I didn’t have a favorite,” he said. “So I took my favorite parts of each pizza and created Marty McPies. I wanted to come home and make pizza for my people.” 

a photo of the staff from Marty McPies posing in front of the new restaurant
Marty McPies team | Photography by Robin Blackshear

Kylie Cooper: After running a popular food truck for the last few years, Marty McPies is moving into a brick-and-mortar. How did you decide it was time to expand in this way?

Martin Flores: Weather definitely played a big factor in the decision to expand. If it rains, we can’t operate; if it’s peak summer temps, we risk heatstroke. The struggles of a food truck are real and our business depends on the weather. Also, being limited on space and manpower, we could only serve so many pizzas at a time and we were selling out constantly. The demand is growing and so are we. We just want to offer a better experience with more consistency at a permanent location — with air conditioning. 

KC: How did you land on the Best Western building downtown? 

MF: We knew we wanted to be downtown; that’s where we planted our roots. After working with the Downtown Management District for over a year, and facing the ups and downs of missing out on locations, we were beyond lucky to have landed the old Blimpie at the bottom of the Best Western Hotel off Shoreline. We had our eyes set on multiple locations that could have worked but fell through. It was basically our last option, and it was the most perfect option. We fell in love with the potential immediately. 

KC: Describe the new space for us! What can customers soon come to expect?

MF: We are keeping the same open kitchen experience you get with the food truck with a 30-foot bar, seating and dining room tables and chairs on the inside. Outside we will have a large deck patio with views of the water from Shoreline with picnic tables and high-top tables and chairs to enjoy pizza and vibes. 

KC: Going from a food truck to a bigger space to design, what was the inspiration behind the look and feel? 

MF: Well, I’ve only designed one thing in my life and that was the food truck. Everyone has seemed to like it, so basically, I’m just making a bigger version of the food truck with seating and an amazing view. It doesn’t hurt that we also have the “Opalescent Octopus” mural painted by artist Kip Toe on the side of the building. We want to bring a cool, nostalgic, modern pizza vibe to Corpus. Pizzerias are typically, pizzerias. We just want to make it fun. I’m a big kid at heart and you’ll notice that with little design things here and there once it all comes together. 

Photo of Martin Flores, owner of Marty McPies, in front of his new restaurant
Photography by Robin Blackshear

KC: Talk to us about the food — with expanded kitchen space, will the menu change at all?

MF: Of course, but baby steps. With a bigger kitchen, we will offer more of your favorite specialties like the Elote Pie and The Mikey permanently with our already unique pizza lineup. Just like most pizzerias, we plan to offer wings, salads, sandwiches, calzones, desserts and beer/wine. We also plan on offering gluten-free pizza on certain days. 

KC: What have been some of the biggest challenges in switching from a food truck to a permanent location? 

MF: Still working and having to operate the food truck while also having to be there to build a restaurant at the same time has been the most difficult. I’ve never worked in a restaurant, so learning everything has also been a challenge. I am just grateful for all the knowledge and help fellow restaurateurs have given me. Most of all, I’m grateful for my crew — which consists of my amazing girlfriend, Amber Flatt, who left her teaching career after 10 years as an elementary school art teacher, and my best friend Jefte Flores — to keep this boat afloat. The support from every angle has gotten us here and I greatly appreciate it. 

KC: What is the planned open date, and what will your hours look like?

MF: Our hours will be Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. We’re aiming to open by June — crossing our fingers we make that happen. Wish us luck! [UPDATE: Since this article’s publish date, Marty McPies has officially opened its doors with soft opening hours of Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and 6-9 p.m]

300 N Shoreline Blvd  |  @marty_mcpies