In her 2009 book, Pie: A Global History, author Janet Clarkson
wrote, "The homemade pie has been under siege for a century, and
surely its survival is endangered." Clearly, she has not been
hanging around the Chicago area recently!
From the city to the suburbs, places abound where families can
enjoy a delicious slice of homemade pie.
The folks at The Sugar Path in Geneva are using seasonal,
locally-sourced ingredients to turn out an ever-changing selection
of pies. Michelle Adams and her sister started The Sugar Path in
2011 after learning the art of pie-making from their grandmother
and spending years working together on recipe creation.
"Our pies are special because they are handcrafted with love in
small batches using only the finest ingredients. Most of our pies
are old favorites with an artisan touch and we enjoy experimenting
with flavors," Adams says. Popular pies include the Cowboy Pie
(walnuts, bittersweet chocolate and a splash of whiskey), Classic
Apple and Salty Honey.
Paula Haney's pies were coveted farmers market finds until she
opened Hoosier Mama Pie Company in Chicago's Ukranian Village. Each
morning, The Hoosier Mama team prepares more than 10 kinds of sweet
pies (plus a couple of savory choices) from a repertoire of dozens
of options. Customers can choose from whole pies or slices. The Fat
Elvis Pie (graham cracker-peanut-pretzel crust filled with
chocolate, peanut butter and banana) is the stuff of legends.
When Ali Graeme and her son were both diagnosed with celiac
disease several years ago, she found that the gluten-free baked
goods options on the market were sub-par (to put it politely). An
avid baker, Graeme knew she could create products for those
following gluten-free diets that tasted delicious. Devoted
customers love that the gluten-free bakery items taste as good as
their conventional counterparts. This Hinsdale-based bakery makes
everything from bread mixes to custom cakes, muffins and pies-and
it is all gluten-free. Pie options include apple, blueberry and
French Silk. Call three days ahead to place your gluten-free pie
The cafe serves amazing pie, but the business is about more than
just delicious baked goods. "First Slice was founded with the
mission of providing the 'first slice' to those in our community
who are struggling with homelessness and hunger, rather than just
giving them the crumbs left over at the end of the meal," says
Interim Executive Director Ann-Louise Haak. Every purchase helps
support its Outreach Meal Program, which provides 600 meals a week
to the needy.
The thriving business now has three locations on the north side
of the Chicago. Customers can choose from a dozen pie options every
day. Best sellers include fresh fruit pies like Michigan Sour
Cherry and Apple. Haak says the specialty pies like Chocolate
Peanut Butter, Coffee Toffee and Polka Dot Pie all have devoted
followers, too. "We love to make delicious pies for our customers,
but we also love it that our pies help feed those who might
otherwise go hungry."
In the spring of 2012, Megan Miller (the granddaughter of a pie
shop owner) opened Bang Bang Pie Shop with her husband Dave Miller
and business partner Michael Ciapciak. Word of their delicious
homemade pies spread quickly and the trio began receiving rave
reviews from both enamored customers and the local food media. Bang
Bang offers only three pies per week-a seasonal fruit, chocolate,
and cream-based pie. If you call ahead, they are happy to reserve
pies for you so you don't end up disappointed.