As a versatile food, pies can take on a number of delicious flavor combinations that can transform it from a savoury dinner dish to a decadent dessert. Whether you’re a newcomer or local, you will soon discover that Austin is home to many famed versions of this baked dish that are bound to cater to all taste buds, served in restaurants and cafes all around the city. From Southern classics to mouthwatering fruit and chocolate combinations, we take a look at the the top 10 pies in Austin.
Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken: Chess Pie
Restaurant, American, $$$
Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken, Chess Pie | Courtesy of Cheryl Phipps
Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken is a chain that began in Tennessee over 60 years ago and made its way to Austin. While the fried chicken may be their claim to fame, their homemade chess pies are some of the best in town. Chess pie is a classic Southern dessert: eggs, sugar, butter and some flour combined to make a rich, sweet custard in flakey pie crust. Gus’s offers two types of chess pies, Chess & Chocolate Chess; Chess wins as favourite but the Chocolate Chess comes in as a close second.
Bourbon Banana Pie at Franklin Barbecue | Courtesy of Vicky Nguyen
Franklin Barbecue is known for barbecue so good that people are willing to wait 3-4 hours in line. The barbecue is not the only attraction on this menu, check out the Bourbon Banana Pie. Supplied by local bakery, The Cake & Spoon, some customers even say this pie is better than the barbecue! Small in size, but big in flavour, imagine a boozier banana pie pudding in a cookie pie crust. Be sure to get in line early, this one sells out quick! (Or visit Cake & Spoon at the SFC Farmer’s Market on Saturdays!)
Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill: Signature Skillet Apple Pie
Bar, Restaurant, American, Pub Grub, Contemporary, $$$
If you’re looking for a pie that will completely satisfy your hunger, look no further than Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill. Served in a large skillet, this dish is so substantial it could even be considered a meal and has been known to feed as many as four at a table! Double-crusted, filled with cinnamon sugar glazed apples, cooked to perfection, and finally topped off with a scoop of salted caramel ice cream. Notable runner-up to the Signature Skillet Apple Pie is Moonshine’s Peanut Butter Mousse Pie with Oreo cookie crust.
Brisket Frito Pie at Micklethwait Craft Meats | Courtesy of Nikki Casillas
One of Texas’ favourite pies has to be the Frito pie. Micklethwait Craft Meats takes this classic dish and cranks the flavor up a notch by adding brisket into the mix. The end product is a blend of brisket chili con carne, Frito chips, cheddar, sliced brisket, pickled jalapeño escabeche, house made sour cream and fresh cilantro. What makes this Brisket Frito Pie so good? Michlethwait knows their meats, you can even ask Michelle Obama, who made sure to stop by for some of their famous Texas barbecue during SXSW.
Key Lime Pie at Quack's 43rd Street Bakery | Courtesy of Dan Brennan
Quack’s Bakery, previously located on Guadalupe St. and known as Captain Quackenbush’s Intergalactic Dessert Company and Espresso Cafe, was the first coffeehouse in Austin in 1983. The name and locale have changed but the Key Lime Pie is still one of the best in town. A crunchy crust holds the sweet, tart custard filling together perfectly. Some say the crust is so good that it could be a stand-alone order! Even better, Quack’s doesn’t use any frozen dough or mixes, preservatives, high fructose corn syrups or additives.
Tiny Pies may be small in size, but they are big on taste! Started by a mother and daughter with a love for baking pies, they were inspired to open up Tiny Pies when their kids requested pie in their lunch bags. Tiny Pies offers many flavors but the stand-out is the Pecan Pie. The buttery, flaky crust (almost like a pastry) is packed to the brim with pecans. The filling is well-balanced, the sugar is a subtle complement to the pecans and not a competitor, allowing the roasted pecan flavor to be the real highlight. Just the way pecan pie should be!
Bourbon Sour Cherry Pie at Pie Plante | Courtesy of Pie Plante
Austin is famous for their food trucks and Pie Plante is certainly a foodtruck to note. It’s the Bourbon Sour Cherry pie that really holds the top spot here. Butter crust, almond crumb topping and a filling that is boozy, tart, sweet and multi-faceted, each bite has a uniquely delicious flavour profile. As if that’s not appetizing enough, top off this bourbon-cherry fusion with ice cream for an even sweeter treat.
Lucy’s Fried Chicken is relatively new to Austin, first opening in 2012. In just four years, Lucy’s Fried Chicken has expanded to include two more locations in the city. The made-from-scratch Sweet Tea pie might have something to do with this. Sweet Tea Pie is a classic Southern dessert and Lucy’s is doing their part to keep the tradition alive and well. Forks have no troubles cutting through the buttery crust and smooth filling. This pie is tart with a hint of zesty lemon and a dollop of homemade whipped cream is the perfect lightness to the thick custard filling.
Triple Berry Pie at Sugar Mama's Bakeshop | Courtesy of Tiff Ting
Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop is a sweet stop for a number of reasons and their Triple Berry Pie is definitely one of them. An Austin favorite for almost 10 years, Sugar Mama’s gained national fame with their victory on Cupcake Wars and a birthday cake for Kanye West. The Triple Berry Pie met first place success in a local Austin contest for best pie. So what makes this slice so sweet? The combination of blueberries, blackberries and raspberries in a crispy, butter double-crust made completely from scratch, plus Sugar Mama’s admirable dedication to high-quality, locally sourced ingredients and eco-friendly packaging.
Upper Crust Bakery serves a wide variety of desserts and homemade sandwiches. The majority of Upper Crust’s pies are seasonal, so mark your calendar for the Coconut Cream Pie, available January through mid-October. The coconut pastry cream is sweet, rich and thick, no runny cream filling here! Fluffy, whipped topping and toasted coconut flakes combine for another crave-worthy layer. You’ll want to include the bottom layer of crust in every bite! Upper Crust upgraded the traditional coconut cream pie recipe by coating the crust in a Belgian-chocolate.