America's Best Pie Spots
Ann Arbor, MI: Achatz Handmade Pie Co.
Run by cousins of chef Grant Achatz, Achatz Handmade Pie Co. uses over a million pounds of Michigan fruit each year in pies like Four-Berry and Caramel Nut Apple (Dutch apple with a half-pound of mixed nuts plus caramel poured on top). The owners opened their eighth Michigan bakery this November in Ann Arbor and also sell pies online.
Brooklyn, NY: First Prize Pies
After winning a local bake-off, Allison Kave launched First Prize Pies with flavors like s'mores and Apple Cider Cream Pie. Kave sells pies at her mother's chocolate stand Roni-Sue's in Manhattan's Essex Street Market, and also ships nationwide.
Chicago, IL: Hoosier Mama Pie Company
Paula Haney made pastries at acclaimed Chicago restaurants like Trio before opening her adorable, and adorably named, Hoosier Mama Pie Company. The Hoosier Sugar Cream comes with a rich brown sugar filling. One of her top seasonal pies is cherry-berry (pictured).
Durham, NC: Scratch
Available all year round at this bakery and lunch spot: Shaker Lemon Pie, which combines macerated lemon slices that, once baked, give the filling a marmalade-like consistency. The latest holiday pie menu features Heirloom Apple Pie with Sesame Streusel and a Chestnut Cream Pie.
Greensboro, AL: PieLab
PieLab serves as a café as well as a classroom where young men and women who are just out of school can learn about business and culinary arts. The PieLab team's recipe for Cranberry Glazed Pumpkin Pie has a super-simple crust made with store-bought gingersnaps and ground walnuts, a silky pumpkin filling and a cranberry compote topping with more crunchy walnuts.
Los Angeles, CA: Simplethings Sandwich & Pie Shop
The filling for this caramel lovers' dream pie is sweetened condensed milk sprinkled lightly with sea salt and baked until thick and gooey, then chilled in a simple graham cracker crust. Executive chef Carrie Cusack also makes a rich signature Missouri Mud pie: chocolate filling topped with toasted homemade marshmallow in a pecan-graham crust.
Milwaukee, WI: HoneyPie
Valeri Lucks, the co-owner and self-titled "chief people wrangler" and "pie master" at Honeypie Cafe, makes a Black-Bottom Banana Cream Pie that marries two of her best-selling pies: chocolate cream and banana cream.
Napa Valley, CA: Sweetie Pies
Sweetie Pies ships baked goods including luscious seasonal pies with all-butter crusts, like the Harvest with pear, apple and cranberry. In lieu of slices, the Napa Valley café serves hand-pies and individual 4-inch pies that staff will warm to order. (The strawberry-rhubarb pie pictured will be available in the spring.)
Portland, OR: Random Order
This coffee house specializes in pies made from scratch with all-butter crusts. Bakers source from the organic Old World Apple Farm for a classic double-crust pie, and an over-the-top version in which apples are tossed with caramel and vanilla salt sprinkled on the crust.
San Francisco, CA: Mission Pie
This corner hang-out makes walnut pie, "California's answer to pecan," and other flavors with local ingredients, some from nonprofit Pie Ranch farm.
San Francisco, CA: Three Babes Bakeshop
Three Babes Bakeshop offers fun, portable pie: They bake the pastry in a jar, then fill it with ingredients like fig-and-pear syrup, mascarpone cream, fruit and toasted walnuts.