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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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
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
Pear Ginger Pie from Magpie: Philadelphia
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
Chocolate Pecan Pie from Bang Bang Pie: Chicago
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
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
Peanut Pie from The Virginia Diner: Wakefield, Virginia
Peanuts are one of Virginiaâs 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
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
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
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.