Nice Slice: 36 Favorite Pies from Coast to Coast

Whether you crave fruity, creamy or studded with nuts, these pies are among the best in the country. Here's where to find them.

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Photo By: North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission

Dutch Apple Pie from Julian Pie Company: Julian, California

Most people who have heard of Julian, California, a historic town in San Diego County, know about their remarkable pies. Baking since 1986, the Smothers Family has developed a cult following for apple pies made with crisp apples from the family orchard. The Dutch apple pie — the most-popular option — is stuffed with sliced apples and topped with a crunchy, buttery sweet and salty crumble.

Strawberry-Balsamic Pie from Bramble Pies: Boise, Idaho

The hottest pies in Idaho are just a few clicks away: Bramble Pies doesn't operate a storefront, but is available online. The site features an ever-changing menu pies from baker Carolyn Kaufman, who delivers to local coffee shops or homes. Locals favor combinations like local plum with peaches and nectarines; strawberry cut with balsamic vinegar; spicy Mexican chocolate; and salted caramel apple pie with salt harvested off the Oregon coast.

Chocolate Meringue Pie from Sugaree's: New Albany, Mississippi

This incredible creamy pie is only served on Fridays at the pie shop — for good reason: It’s a monster to prepare. The filling alone is three pounds, with an additional pound of meringue, piled high into a one-pound butter lard crust that’s entirely made by hand. The recipe comes from the owner’s mom who still helps out in the bakery. The resulting dessert is so big, the staff orders a special box to contain it.

White Chocolate Strawberry Pie from Peggy Jean’s Pies: Columbia, Missouri

This mother-daughter operation carries on the tradition of the original Peggy, who closed the shop when she fell ill. The duo rotates through pies in locally beloved flavors, like classic cherry and tart gooseberry. They also serve jelly jar mini-pies that have become a popular shippable item. The white chocolate-strawberry pie layers white chocolate over fresh strawberries in a crust made from a secret family recipe.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie from 4 and Twenty Blackbirds: Brooklyn

Two sisters own this mini-pie empire in Brooklyn, turning out clever tweaks to beloved classics, including salty honey, brown butter-pumpkin and matcha custard. The salted caramel apple is the shops’ most-popular flavor, packing Hudson Valley fruit into a sea salt-touched caramel under a golden lattice. The ideal apple dessert for the Big Apple.

Vanilla Salted Caramel Apple Pie from Random Order: Portland, Oregon

With coffee, a liquor license and a ton of pie, this Portland shop is popular for a reason. Their vanilla-salted-caramel-apple pie upstages any American standard with Tahitian vanilla sugar-salted crust that envelops Granny Smith and Pink Lady apples tossed in a homemade caramel sauce.

Sweet Potato Pie from Sweet Potatoes: Winston-Salem, North Carolina

North Carolina harvests the largest number of sweet potatoes in the country, so bakers have plenty of stock for pies. At the aptly named Sweet Potatoes in Winston-Salem, chefs Stephanie Tyson and Vivián Joiner bake one of the best in the state, with a flaky crust and a layer of candied sweet potatoes, topped with a layer of mashed sweet potatoes that’s baked before a finishing layer of whipped cream.

Triple Berry Cheesecake from Piefection, Mesa, Arizona

This Arizona pie shop may have been started by a former bank executive, but one taste of their sweet or savory pies and you’d think the team had been baking for generations. Their triple berry pie whips together blackberries, raspberries and Marionberries atop a layer of cheesecake with a graham cracker crust, creating enough flavors to please any pie fan.

Pear Ginger Pie from Magpie: Philadelphia

This South Street gem celebrates the nearly lost art of classic pie-baking, using from-scratch ingredients, but adding unique twists to each rendition. The pie shop serves both sweet and savory pastries including the fall favorite butterscotch bourbon and a gingery pear, fusing the autumnal fruit with a spicy kick that’s perfect to pair with coffee.

Pecan Pie from Blue Bonnet Café: Marble Falls, Texas

Pecan pie is Texas’ official state dessert, and as part of the state’s heritage as Tex Mex. One of the very best places and times to score a slice is at pie happy hour from 3 to 5 p.m. at Blue Bonnet Cafe in Marble Falls. The decades-old cafe is a family affair that serves as both a gathering place for locals and a pit stop for drivers taking the 281 shortcut from Dallas to San Antonio. With 15 different varieties, there are plenty of sugar rushes to choose from, but the most-Texan choice is the pecan, which uses nuts sourced from less than two hours away.

Michigan Four Berry Pie from Achatz Handmade Pie Co.: Chesterfield, Michigan

Achatz Handmade Pie Co's baked goods have quite a reputation across the state of Michigan. That's especially true of the four-berry pie, which brims with tart Michigan cherries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, all barely contained beneath a delicious crumbly topping.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie from Tower Travel Center: Tower City, North Dakota

Rhubarb has been a prairie favorite for generations, baked on its own or paired with sweeter strawberries for sensational spring pies. Though Tower Travel Center looks to casual passers-by like an ordinary truck stop, it bakes the best pie in the state and is worth a detour.

Very Berry Pie from The Bunnery: Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Jackson Hole is a popular winter ski destination, but in warmer weather, the region erupts with blossoms and berries. Try some in pie form at The Bunnery, a forer blacksmith shop, which packs raspberries, strawberries and blueberries until they burst from the double crusts.

Chocolate-Bottom Peanut Butter Pie from The Crossing Bar & Grill at Fetty’s: Wisdom, Montana

Wisdom, a spit of a town in the heart of Montana’s Big Hole Valley, is home to The Crossing Bar & Grill at Fetty's and some of the best pie under The Big Sky. Clad in a crisp, pink vintage apron, Diane Havig — who owns the business with her husband, Dennis — greets customers with a rolling pin as she perfects crusts on lattice-topped apple pies, huckleberry-blueberry pies, rhubarb, chocolate-bottom peanut butter and other pies — so many, in fact, that the dining room chalkboard barely squeezes in the list.

Key Lime Pie from Kermit's: Key West

Few trips to Key West are complete without some of the region’s namesake Key lime pie. It’s the signature dessert, and though most restaurants serve it, Kermit’s is the place to get it. The shop specializes in everything Key lime, including sauces and candies but the real treat is the classic Key lime pie filled with tart key lime curd spread into a graham cracker crust and decorated with dollops of whipped cream.

Amaretto Pear from Windowsill Pies: New Orleans

Started by two female baking entrepreneurs, this NOLA pie shop takes into account the history of the city and uses the French and Southern influences to bake picture-worthy pies. The Amaretto Pear and Dried Cherry pie is almost too beautiful to eat with the delicate lattice of autumn leaves, but the flavors are an equal work of art combining Lazzaroni amaretto-soaked dried cherries with succulent ripe pears and enough nutmeg and lemon zest to draw out the fruit.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie from Rye: Leawood, Kansas

Combining her two most-beloved desserts – peanut butter cakes and chocolate cream pies – award-winning pastry chef Megan Garrelts created the ultimate old fashioned peanut butter chocolate pie to serve year-round. In the restaurant it’s topped with bittersweet chocolate sauce and a sprinkling of cocoa nibs.

Chocolate Pecan Pie from Bang Bang Pie: Chicago

This Chicago pie shop delights fans with unexpected flavor combinations and a stellar crust. The popular chocolate-pecan pie coats toasted pecans in dark chocolate and maple-sorghum, in a graham cracker crust.

Pumpkin Crumble Pie from Pie Junkie: Oklahoma City

Run by two moms, this pie shop serves inventive takes on classic pies in both slice and whole form. Their fall favorites put a twist on the classics with pies like their pumpkin crumble, served with a swirl of maple bourbon whipped cream. The small pie shop also does what they can to give back, picking a charity each month to “pie it forward,” donating a percentage of their proceeds to that cause.

Passion Orange Guava Pear pie from Hawaiian Pie Co.: Honolulu

A three-generation family affair, this Honolulu pie bakery creates flavor combinations that would be impossible to find in other states. This one is filled to the brim with tangy and sweet tropical fruits and sprinkled with their Hawaiian topping, a secret blend with a mochi-like consistency.

Derby Pie from Kern's Kitchen, Louisville

A trademarked Kentucky tradition since the 1960s, Derby Pie is a year-round favorite for locals. Kern’s Kitchen in Louisville produces the custardy walnut-chocolate dessert from a secret recipe, selling it frozen online and to restaurants and grocery stores in parts of Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. For the most-authentic experience, pair it with some Kentucky bourbon.

Buttermilk-Blueberry Pie from Bluegrass Kitchen: Charleston, West Virginia

A summery spin on classic Southern buttermilk pies, baker Keeley Steel’s blueberry-studded pie balances the classic tang with bright berries. It’s excellent with ice cream and a mug of coffee.

Peanut Butter Cream Pie from Honey Pies: Little Rock, Arkansas

Once a popular food truck, Honey Pies serves pie in a homey brick and mortar, where locals head for pie, coffee and local Loblolly Creamery ice cream. A favorite is the rich peanut butter cream pie with a fluffy layer of peanut butter cream piled high with whipped cream on top. It’s perfect pie equivalent to a peanut butter cookie.

Peanut Pie from The Virginia Diner: Wakefield, Virginia

Peanuts are one of Virginia’s proudest products: They have been grown commercially in the state since the 1840s, and are renowned for their size and flavor. Try them in pie form at The Virginia Diner — located in the heart of Virginia peanut country. The kitchen bakes as many as four dozen peanut pies a week, each containing half a pound of local legumes.

Tipsy Pecan Pie from Pie Lab: Greensboro, Alabama

From pop-up shop to full-fledged restaurant and key part of the Greensboro community, Pie Lab was started by designers as part of Project M, which encourages people to do good in their community. The goal was to create a space where locals could gather over a good slice of pie. In time the pies became wildly popular for flavors like their Tipsy Pecan pie, a twist on the typical Southern nut pie, spiked with bourbon and Kahlua.

Blueberry Pie from Two Fat Cats Bakery: Portland, Maine

Maine blueberries are different from the version found on supermarket shelves and in your pancakes: The flavor is more tart and each berry is more compact. Try the at their best in a pie from Two Fat Cats, where they're cut with a little bit of sugar and some secret spices.

The Great Pumpkin from Loving Pie Company: Nashville

Owner Suzanne Loving follows the mantra that pie can fix almost everything. In her Nashville coffee shop and bakery she whips up classics and modern interpretations like the Great Pumpkin, a twist on the typical pumpkin pie made with pumpkin, pecans and a bottom layer of chocolate.

Banana Split Pie from Just Pies: Columbus, Ohio

Just Pies is, fittingly, all about pies, with more than 35 varieties, including apple crumb, Boston cream, Buckeye and German chocolate pecan. A fan favorite is the special Banana Split pie, mashing the favorite childhood ice cream treat with pie, layering chocolate, strawberries and banana cream piled high with whipped cream a dash of sprinkles on top.

Maple Pecan Pie from Poorhouse Pies: Underhill, Vermont

If a quality slice of pie isn’t retro enough for you, try grabbing some from an honor-system self-serve pie shed in rural Vermont. The adorable little hut, adjacent to the bakery, is stocked in all but the coldest days, with fruit pies, cream pies and maple pecan, a twist on the classic pecan pie, with fresh Vermont maple syrup.

Banana Cream Pie from O'Farrell Sisters: Okoboji, Iowa

Right at the bridge where East and West Okoboji lakes connect in the marina, this little restaurant entices boaters to dock for pancakes, cinnamon rolls and piled-high pies. Sold by the slice or whole, pies have been popular in the region since 1949. Locals favor the banana cream pie, towering with meringue.

Triple Berry Pie from New Scenic Café: Duluth, Minnesota

Minnesota has long fostered a local love of pie. Bakers pride themselves on preparing blue ribbon-fetching rounds at state fairs, and the fastest pies to be devoured at potlucks. Pies abound at restaurants and bakeries, including at New Scenic Café on Minnesota's North Shore, where local berries, pumpkin and other produce fill the buttery, flaky crusts for slices topped with whipped cream or buttermilk-vanilla ice cream.

Pumpkin Pie from Michele's Pies, Norwalk, Connecticut

Each fall, the team at Michele’s Pies turns locally grown Connecticut pumpkins into 4,000 pounds of pumpkin puree. The pumpkin becomes fodder for the countless iterations of pumpkin pies at Michele’s Pies. Though the shop has at least a dozen different types of award-winning fruit, nut and cream pies, perhaps none are as famous as her Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, as seen on an episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay.

Cherry Berry Crumb Pie from PieGram: Milwaukee

If you can dream up a pie, this Milwaukee spot likely already makes it. With close to 50 different pies available, they make everything from old fashioned coconut cream to strawberry pretzel. Pie is so serious here that they hold a pie contest and host various pie making lessons to help inspire those aspiring home bakers. It’s hard to bypass the Door Country cherry pie made with fresh cherries from local Wisconsin area Door County, one of the best places to get cherries, only a few hours north.

Apple with Green Chile and Pine Nuts from Pieoneer: Pie Town, New Mexico

There is a little town in New Mexico called pie town that has become known for its pies. History recalls the town as a place that was a common rest stop. The owners of Pieoneer agree, having stopped on their own road trip and never continued on. Their pie bar is full of delicious pies including the tart New Mexico Apple pie made with green chiles and pine nuts, the dish has savory and spicy elements not often found in an all-American apple pie.

Rhubarb Pie from Purple Pie Place: Custer, South Dakota

This seasonal haunt, down the street from Mount Rushmore at the foot of the Black Hills, is hard to miss for its bold purple and pink exterior. Although there is a full menu, the pies are a real draw — evident by hundreds of slices ordered each week, along with full pies. Anything rhubarb is worth trying whether it be the simple rhubarb pie or the sweet, spicy and tangy rhubarb-raspberry-jalapeno.

Baltimore Bomb from Dangerously Delicious: Baltimore

Pie meets rock and roll at this Baltimore pie shop, which was founded by baker, band front man and former Food Network Star contestant Rodney Henry. The pie shop hosts a few music events alongside their full menu of both sweet and savory pies. The Baltimore Bomb — a shop original — is packed with Maryland-made Berger cookies melted into a vanilla chess filling and served in a saltier crust to balance out the sweetness.