Pies may be filled with meat, poultry, seafood, or vegetables, but when most people think of pie, they probably envision a pastry shell filled with cooked fruit or custard, sometimes with more pastry on top in either a latticework pattern or a solid sheet. That’s the kind of pie most pie shops and pie-making bakeries sell. That’s the kind of pie we love so much that it’s even become a symbol of our nation — as in the expression “As American as apple pie.”
Early English settlers brought the idea of pie across the Atlantic, and apple pie became particularly popular because the apple trees planted by the Pilgrims flourished in the New World and because the fruit was easy to store for the winter.
Pumpkin pie became popular in America in the early 1800s (the English original was made with spiced squash). Pecan pie as we know it today was probably first developed in Texas — a major pecan-growing state — in the 1920s, going on to become a holiday essential nationwide.
Other pies that were originally regional but later found broad audiences include Florida’s Key lime pie, Maine’s blueberry pie, the molasses-based shoofly pie of the Pennsylvania Dutch (said to have been named after the fact that flies were attracted to its sticky surface as it cooled), the sweet potato pie of the South, and Boston cream pie (which is actually a kind of early mashup between pie and cake).
Traditional pies — apple, pecan, blueberry, and the rest — remain popular, but there’s room for creativity in the pie world, too. One example is the copyrighted Crack Pie (the name refers to its supposed addictive nature), made with a toasted oat crust and a buttery, gooey brown-sugar filling. Invented by New York pastry chef Christina Tosi.
Whether you prefer tradition or innovation — or a little of each — America’s best pie shops have got a slice (or a whole pie) for you.
In order to determine the best pie shop in every state, 24/7 Wall St. obtained for each state the five pie shops, bakeries, or pastry shops rated highest on restaurant review website Yelp! We reviewed each state’s set of shops and chose the best candidate based on its pie menu and accolades. In the handful of cases where Yelp! did not return a viable candidate, we consulted reviews and other ratings and used our editorial discretion to make our choice. We excluded shops operating predominantly as restaurants or wholesale businesses, as well as units of large chains.