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Food Critics: Where To Get The Best Pie In Kansas City In 2020

Hello Pie
Hello Pie's chocolate chess pie has the texture of a "gooey brownie."

Every day is a good day for pie. Whether you're on the hunt for pumpkin, pecan or something else, here are our food critics' top recommendations for the season.

In 2020, we're as divided as we've ever been. And don't think that doesn't extend into the dessert realm.

Every year around this time, KCUR food critic Carlton Logan has the same tense debate with his friends: sweet potato pie vs. pumpkin pie. They're no closer to having a definitive answer today than when they started.

"The dividing lines of pie go pretty far and pretty deep," says KCUR food critic Jenny Vergara. "You're either a fruit pie person or a cream pie person."

Another sticking point? Sweet pie vs. savory pie.

Regardless of which camp you fall into, here's where you should go when you're craving pie in Kansas City:

Jenny Vergara, Feast Magazine:

Sweet pies:

  • Ashleigh’s Bake Shop — butterscotch pie.
  • Rye — banana cream pie.
  • The Upper Crust— pumpkin pie.
  • Dolce Bakery — bourbon pecan pie.
  • Heirloom Bakery & Hearth— honey apple thyme pie.
  • Bloom Baking Company — French silk pie.
  • Ibis Bakery — pumpkin pie, pecan pie, Harvest pie. These 6" personal pies are being offered for the first time this Thanksgiving. The Harvest pie features apple, cranberry and orange. This way everyone gets what they want and no one has to share.
  • Crumbs: A Bakery — pumpkin pie w/ chocolate ganache. The earthy, spiced pumpkin in this really melds well with the rich, chocolatey flavor of the ganache. This excellent home baker will deliver pies to your home. Alternatively, you can visit one of her “drive-thru” bake sales.
  • The Pie King — peanut butter chess pie, salted honey pie. Both of these get rave reviews, but the peanut butter chess pie is especially impressive. As a custard pie, it has a sweet and salty filling with a thin layer of dark chocolate. Master pie maker Casey Hannan was the pastry talent behind the recently-closed Black Sheep.
  • Hello Pie — maple pumpkin pie. The silky, spiced pumpkin in this pie is sweetened with brown sugar and maple syrup and then wrapped in a light and flaky crust. The two women behind this business — including baker, Leslie Janis — have been popping up all over the place with a cute little pie cart for over a year now.
  • Skratch Bakery — pumpkin pie, pecan pie. This is a great place to order whole pies and cakes for Thanksgiving, right up until the day itself. Owner Ron Kelly in Lee Summit, Missouri, makes everything from scratch. His cookies, bars, Danishes, croissants, cinnamon rolls and cupcakes are also worth trying.
  • Pie Time — pumpkin pie, pecan pie, Dutch apple pie, cherry pie, coconut cream pie, German chocolate pie. All of the classics at this cute Liberty, Missouri, pie shop are great. They also have full sized take-and-bake chicken pot pies and quiches.

Savory pies:

  • Sweet Tea Pie Co. — take-and-bake pot pies. Previous flavors have included vegan root veggie with a hard cider gravy, poblano hard cider braised chicken and Korean chicken with shiitake mushrooms.
  • Empanada Madness— shredded beef empanada, ground beef empanada, potato, egg & cheese empanada. With their flaky crust, all of these hand pies are hard to resist.
  • Pot Pie— beef & mushroom pot pie. These full-sized pot pies make the restaurant worthy of its name.
  • Banksia Bakehouse— beef & red wine pie, beef & cheesy potato pie, chicken, leek & mushroom pie, Greek lamb pie, smoky vegetable pie. Now with two locations, this place serves all kinds of Australian meat pies. In addition to being available for carry-out, some of these can be bought frozen to cook at home.
  • G’s Jamaican Quisine — Jamaican Beef Patties. This little spot on Troost Avenue has been serving up traditional island dishes for a long time. Similar to an empanada, these hand pies are made with a buttery, soft dough that's then filled with ground beef, cumin, garlic, onions, hot pepper, allspice, thyme, paprika and a little curry.

Carlton Logan, Kansas City Eats:

  • Clock Tower Bakery — chicken & mushroom bake, steak bake, cottage pie, chocolate peanut butter pop tart. Come here if you want unique pies, including meat pies. The chicken and mushroom bake includes puff pastry and a light cream sauce. The cottage pie is topped with delicious mashed potatoes. The chocolate peanut butter pop tart is delicious served warm. They also have half-moon-shaped pies in various flavors.
  • Rye — banana cream pie, lemon meringue pie. I credit owner/pastry chef Megan Garrelts for turning me into someone who now likes banana cream pie. In addition to bananas in a delicious pastry cream, there's a layer of chocolate at the bottom and crunchy bits of toffee sprinkled on the whipped cream. I've also fallen completely in love with her twist on lemon meringue. Think toasted marshmallows to imagine the taste!
  • The Upper Crust— pecan pie, chocolate chess pie, cherry pie and brown sugar buttermilk pie. The pies are truly the stars of the show here, but you can also find big, wonderful cookies.
  • Niecie's Restaurant — sweet potato pie. This soul food restaurant is a great place to go for pie. In African American culture, sweet potato pie is preferred over the traditional pumpkin pie and most are homemade.
  • Big Momma's Bakery Cafe — Big Momma's Sweet Potato Pie Bar. This twist on traditional sweet potato pie includes pecans in the crust.
  • Ravenous — sour cherry fried pie. The cherries on this hand pie are tart, but they balance perfectly with the dusting of sugar on the crust.

Listener recommendations:

Whether it’s something happening right now or something that happened 100 years ago, some stories don’t fit in the short few minutes of a newscast. As a podcast producer and reporter at KCUR Studios, I help investigate questions and local curiosities in a way that brings listeners along for adventures with plot twists and thought-provoking ideas. Sometimes there isn’t an easy answer in the end – but my hope is that we all leave with a greater understanding of the city we live in. Reach me at mackenzie@kcur.org.
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