Great Pies from Coast to Coast
Whether they're loaded with fresh cream, seasonal fruit or savory meat, we're willing to bet you'll go the distance for these 10 tasty takes on pie across the nation.
Photo By: Jeff Sacks for Magpie
Photo By: John Towner
Photo By: Mette Neilson
Photo By: Jeff Sacks
Photo By: Insung Choe
Photo By: Ed Anderson
Photo By: Rachel Sale of RAS Photography
The Pie's the Limit
Pie is the very symbol of all things American, homemade and nostalgic. It's a metaphor for financial success — not to mention a common prop in slapstick comedy. Most importantly, it's so delicious that we crave it. There are all kinds of pie: seasonal fruit pies, cream filled pies, savory meat pies, and even little hand pies and mini pies. True pie lovers will travel the distance for it.
Chicago: Pleasant House Bakery
Not all pies are sweet. Pleasant House Bakery specializes in British meat pies, which they call Royal Pies, and is revered for its amazingly buttery crusts. Located on the South Side of Chicago in Bridgeport, the bakery serves savory pies that run the gamut from an outstanding steak and ale version to mushroom and kale, as well as balti chicken served with a side of mint chutney. The compact pies are very filling, and many of the ingredients come from the bakery's sustainable and mostly organic family farm.
Estes Park, Colo.: You Need Pie!
NYC: Petee's Pie Company
Osseo, Wis.: Norske Nook
Keeping track of all the awards bakery and restaurant Norske Nook has won for its pies would be a full-time job. In 2014 alone the Wisconsin stalwart won blue ribbons for lemon cream cheese, peaches and cream, and jamberry pies. Norske Nook originally opened in 1973, and there are now five shops, with several more planned in the works. Craveworthy pies include apple or blackberry creamy cheese, lingonberry sour cream, kaffee mocha and a mile-high sour cream raisin meringue pie. They ship many of their fruit double-crust pies across the country.
The signature pie at Magpie is the butterscotch bourbon, available whole or by the slice. It is made with eggs, butter, dark brown sugar, flour, salt, vanilla, lemon juice, evaporated milk and Jim Beam bourbon whiskey. According to Magpie owner Holly Ricciardi, the magic happens when a thick custard sets on the bottom and a little layer of soft sponge cake sets on top. Her recipe is loosely based on her great-grandmother's butterscotch pie recipe, which hangs in a frame in the shop.
Princeton, N.J.: Lillipies
What's better than one big pie? Many little pies. Lillipies is a bake-to-order shop that makes 2-inch bite-size pies, 3-inch single-serving pies and 4-inch tartlets, all handcrafted from local New Jersey farm-fresh fruit. The flavors depend upon what’s in season and include lemon curd, apple, apple blueberry and apple crumb. Baker and culinary school instructor Jen Carson bakes to order in small batches, and her pies are hand delivered locally in the Princeton area. She also sells at the local farmers markets and cafes.
Round Top, Texas: Royers Roundtop Cafe
Seattle: Dahlia Bakery
The triple coconut cream pie from Dahlia Lounge is so loved by diners that it inspired James Beard award winning restaurateur Tom Douglas to open a bakery next door to the restaurant, where you can buy a whole 9-inch pie, a baby pie, a slice of pie or a coco pie "bite." The pie has coconut in the crust, shredded coconut and coconut milk in the creamy filling, and toasted coconut on top, along with curls of white chocolate.
Traverse City, Mich.: Grand Traverse Pie Company
Washington, D.C. and Baltimore: Dangerously Delicious
Dangerously Delicious is a rock 'n' roll pie shop with an actual rehearsal studio available for rent in back. The best-selling pie is the Baltimore Bomb, loaded with Berger cookies (a Baltimore specialty) combined with a sweet vanilla chess pie filling. But for something not quite as sweet, check out the tangy and fluffy lemon meringue pie. If you can't make it to one of the two shops in D.C. or another in Baltimore, follow the Twitter feed @ThePieTruckDC for the mobile version. If you’re lucky, perhaps a pie will come to you.