12 of the Best Pie Shops Across 6 American Cities
It’s an undeniable fact that Americans love pie (and pie shops, by association). Thanksgiving tables feel barren without slices of pecan and pumpkin, Fourth of July picnics seem unpatriotic with at least one blueberry or cherry pie in attendance, and, of course, there’s that whole “as American as apple pie” saying to consider.
But traditions and popular expressions aside, there are some real numbers and statistics backing up America’s pie obsession. According to the American Pie Council (yes, you read that correctly), if you lined up the number of pies sold at American grocery stores in a year, it would be long enough reach around the globe and then some. The APC also reports that one in five Americans has eaten an entire pie by themselves, and as many as six million American men admit to eating the last slice of pie and denying it.
Yes, any way you slice it, Americans gotta have pie. Luckily, the land of the free is also the home of some amazing pie shops, with stand-out slices being slung from sea to shining sea. In celebration, we put together this list of the 12 best pie shops across six cities in America, so grab a fork and get ready to pledge allegiance to America’s favorite pastry.
Four & Twenty Blackbirds | New York City
Why it’s great: The sisters behind Four & Twenty Blackbirds wrote the book on pie. Literally. Melissa and Emily Elsen’s recipe book is currently Amazon’s best-selling volume on pie, which is funny considering they recently opened a location inside the Brooklyn Public Library. The Elsens still maintain their gorgeous flagship location on 3rd Avenue as well, where people can chow down on seasonal creations such as black-bottom oat and lemon chess, all made from local ingredients.
Pie to try: Perhaps it’s cliché, but in the Big Apple, it’d be hard to overlook the salted caramel apple. It’s legitimately one of Four & Twenty Blackbirds' best pies, though, proven by the fact that it’s one of the few flavors available year-round.
Honorable mention: Little Pie Company. They have mail-order pie. MAIL-ORDER PIE.
Hoosier Mama Pie Company | Chicago
Why it’s great: Any Chicagoan worth their weight in shortening knows there’s really only two contenders for this title. But Hoosier Mama Pie wins out because, well, it’s hard to top a shop that only sells pie. It gives the bakers the freedom to offer dozens of sweet and savory varieties each day, from the clever leek-apple-cheddar quiche to the delectably simple sugar cream. If you hate having to choose, stop by on Friday evenings, when you can build a custom pie flight.
Pie to try: The chocolate chess. We named it as one of our favorites in 2013, and we stand by every moist, brownie-like bite.
Honorable mention: Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits. Their seasonal plum pie has a sweet spot in our hearts as well, and we love that they have their own leaf lard rendered weekly.
Mission Pie | San Francisco
Why it’s great: Mission Pie isn’t just obsessed with baking the perfect pie. It’s passionate about improving the community—not only does the green-certified bakery support local artists by displaying their work both inside and outside the shop, it also has direct-purchase relationships with local farms. This allows the bakers to transport produce to the shop more quickly, and prepare fruits and veggies at their peak of ripeness.
Pie to try: The banana cream is probably Mission Pie's signature slice, supported by an all-butter crust rolled by hand and made from California-grown wheat flour. Though if savory pies are more your thing, there are plenty of veggie tarts and pot pies on the menu as well.
Honorable mention: Chile Pies & Ice Cream. Thanks to recipes inspired by owner Trevor Logan’s time living in Santa Fe, the curious selection of flavors includes green-chile-apple and frito pie with pinto beans. You can also have an entire slice of pie blended into a milkshake. *Fork drop.*
The Pie Hole | Los Angeles
Why it’s great: Mother-son team Becky Grasley and Matthew Heffner may joke that they hid their recipe book in a safety-deposit box in Switzerland, but their pies are seriously delicious. So good, in fact, that they also opened a counter in terminal two at LAX, in addition to their downtown and Pasadena locations. And because they know that nothing pairs better with pie than coffee, they’ve also put a lot of care into curating the best organic, locally roasted joes.
Pie to try: These dear, sweet earth angels created a mac ‘n’ cheese hand pie (pictured above), which should probably earn them a Nobel Prize or something.
Honorable mention: Susina Bakery & Cafe. Susina’s best known for cake, but the selection of incredible pies is just one more reason to check out the charming European-style cafe.
Why it’s great: Dangerously Delicious was born in Baltimore but perfected in DC, where it won Best Pie in the Washington City Paper Readers’ Poll five years running. On a good day, you can taste their from-scratch flavors in one of two brick-and-mortar DC locations; on a great day, you’ll stumble upon DDP’s food truck and snag a slice (or five) of sweet or savory pie. Plus, the H Street location stays open until 3:30 a.m. on weekends, which means drunk-eating pie is now a thing you can do on the regular.
Pie to try: There are upwards of two dozen flavors available daily, but the Baltimore Bomb often sells out first. Brimming with melted Berger Cookies (a B’more specialty), the chocolate is balanced by a vanilla-chess filling.
Honorable mention: Baked & Wired. Its to-go pies come in a Pyrex (secured with a returnable deposit), which means you can pass off the handiwork as homemade at your next barbecue.
Pie Shop | Atlanta
Why it’s great: Pie Shop’s pies are so good, they’ve even replaced the ubiquitous wedding cake at many area receptions. While you may not have to wait for a wedding invitation to try one, you will have to put in a little work—the brick-and-mortar shop is hidden behind a retail complex in Buckhead. You can also hunt down slices at farmers’ markets in Piedmont Park, Sandy Springs, and Brookhaven, or take the easy route and have whole pies sent to you via a subscription service.
Pie to try: Though classic apple is the best-selling flavor of the 100 available throughout the year, coconut cream (pictured above) is also a standout. It’s filled with homemade vanilla custard and organic coconut.
Honorable mention: Mary Mac’s Tea Room. Though not officially a pie shop, this 70-plus-year-old restaurant has been congressionally declared Atlanta’s Dining Room, thanks in part to its delicious peanut butter, key lime, and pecan pies.
Photos courtesy of Four & Twenty Blackbirds, Hoosier Mama Pie, Mission Pie, The Pie Hole, Dangerously Delicious Pies, and Pie Shop.