There is something about pie that feels uniquely American. Sure, pies have been enjoyed across the globe for centuries (the first recorded pie recipes date back to 5th Century Greece), and most ‘American’ pie recipes were brought here by immigrants of all stripes over the years. Every grandmother seems to have a legendary recipe carried down through the generations from the ‘old country’, wherever that may be.
When you conjure an image of a pie in your mind’s eye, you don’t picture a toga-clad Greek chowing down on a lamb’s meat pastry in ancient Athens. Chances are, you picture golden brown lattice crust, a bubbly fruit filling, and a matriarchal figure in a flour-dusted apron lovingly placing the confection on a picturesque windowsill to cool.
Experiencing National Parks in all their beauty requires the consumption of a considerable amount of calories to keep those legs churning on long hikes. What better treat than pie, which boasts ingredients from every food group in one form or another, to fuel hungry hikers? Unfortunately, on a cross-country road trip, you don’t find yourself grandma’s windowsill-adjacent as often as you find yourself jonesing for her toothsome pies. Enter the Mom & Pop diner, a dwindling yet quintessentially American establishment found in every corner of this hungry nation. I’m talking about stainless steel countertop, checkered tablecloth, breakfast-all-day, 70 year-old waitress named Delores who’s worked there since the Nixon administration, meatloaf is a staple of the menu, real American diners.
I have identified over 50 such establishments in small towns and big cities alike, coast-to-coast, owned and operated by the people who make up the bedrock of the American economy. Each pie tasted will be rated on five criteria and scored on a scale of one to five slices of pie. These criteria include the diner’s atmosphere, the pie’s crust, the pie’s filling, the ice cream served with the pie (where applicable), and the pie’s price. Stay tuned for pie reviews, updates, and recommendations as I perform the hard, thankless task of gobbling up delicious homemade pies nationwide!