National Pie Day is January 23rd, and opportunities to celebrate it are abundant in the Shenandoah Valley.
But first, a few interested facts about pies. According to holidaycalendar.com: Did you know 20 percent of Americans have admitted to eating a whole pie by themselves? Or that 186 million pies are sold just in supermarkets and grocery stores each year? And, several states have “official” pies; foodnetwork.com considers Peanut Pie an “iconic” state dessert of Virginia.
Of course, there’s no need to wait until January 23rd to indulge a love of good pie. In the Shenandoah Valley, you can find it anytime. Check out the following restaurants and bakeries to satisfy your pie craving.
Family-style dining is a daily part of staying at Capon Springs and Farms in West Virginia, and traditional favorite pies such as Apple, Cherry and Blueberry grace their tables. Find out how they are made and even watch a video of Cherry Pie preparation here. At Capon, you can explore 4,700 acres of breathtaking scenery; feast on farm fresh eggs and delicious baked goods prepared on-site daily; or rejuvenate with the resort’s healing spring water. Their season opens April 30 this year.
In Linden, just next door to Front Royal, the Apple House Restaurant and Gift Shop has a wealth of Virginia products including homemade pies, peanuts, hams, jellies, apple butter, and Alpenglow Sparkling Cider. They carry Virginia wines only. Pork BBQ and other specialty sandwiches will tempt you. The pies are mouthwatering but the shop is locally more famous for their Apple Butter Donuts.
At the multi-faceted Shaffer’s Catering, BBQ and Deli in Woodstock, you can pick up lunch at the deli or plan the catering for your wedding. Mainstays of the menu include chicken, beef and pork BBQ. Their wide pie selection includes: Apple, Cherry, Peach, Pecan, Lemon Meringue, Chocolate Meringue or Chocolate Cream-Butterscotch Meringue, Key Lime, Pumpkin, Mixed Berry-Coconut Meringue or Coconut Cream. “But our bestsellers are Apple and Pecan,” said staffer Raya.
Daisy’s Diner—located at Cooter’s Place in Luray—has Sweet Potato Pie and Pecan Pie on their no-nonsense menu along with soups, salads, sandwiches and more, all reminiscent of what characters ate on the Dukes of Hazzard.
Under new ownership this year, the Woodstock Café maintains a daily breakfast and lunch menu, with dinner now served three nights a week. Using locally sourced ingredients is a priority, and a wine shop on the premises has expanded. Asked what their bestselling pie is, co-owner Nikki Grant said, “Coconut Cream Pie with Toasted Coconut, baked by Paje Cross.”
If you’re truly looking for “pie in the sky” (in season), Skyland Lodge’s Pollock Dining Room can serve up Mile-High Blackberry Ice Cream Pie, a house specialty. Enjoy the views and the food after a hard hike in Shenandoah National Park, or just take a break from cruising the 105-mile Skyline Drive.
The Edinburg Mill Restaurant in Edinburg has one of the more extensive local menus including fresh seafood, hand cut steaks, vegetarian and vegan choices. The restaurant is located on the lower level of the Edinburg Mill building, a Virginia Historical Landmark since 1848. As for pies, owner Abbey Sherwood told us, “Our most popular dessert is Dark Chocolate Pecan Pie,” shown here with Butter Pecan Ice Cream.
A longstanding favorite with locals, Brookside Restaurant is the first restaurant you pass if you exit Skyline Drive at Rt. 211 West, toward Luray. Homemade pies are a feature of their extensive dessert bar. Rental cabins are on the premises, plus and Art Gallery and Gift Shop.
Casual and hospitable, Southern Kitchen in New Market serves highly regarded fried chicken and fresh pies, particularly the Lemon Meringue (left), Coconut Cream as well as cheesecakes in a family atmosphere. New specials offered every day.
The Dayton Market has been in operation more than 30 years. It is a “community” of 20 specialty shops, including the Country Village Bake Shop, which serves up all manner of cakes, buns, breads, biscuits and of course pies. The most popular include: Fruit, Shoofly, Pecan, Cream and. Key Lime.
We also conducted a highly informal survey of hardened pie eaters up and down the Valley, and asked about their personal favorites. Their choices include:
At the Down Home Comfort Bakery in Front Royal, they offer: Apple Bourbon Pecan, French Apple, Peanut Butter Fudge Truffle Mousse, and of course all your traditional pies, all in large or personal sizes. (540) 635-6013
In Harrisonburg, the Bittersweet Bakery serves up apple crumb, bourbon pecan, key lime, banana cream and a tempting variety of other baked goods. In season, look for them at the Harrisonburg Farmer’s Market. 301-616-5609
In Waynesboro, accolades were voiced for the Peanut Butter Pie at Stella, Bella & Lucy’s (540) 949-5111; likewise the Cheesecake (using a family Italian recipe) at Scotto’s (540) 942-8715.
In Staunton, Mrs. Rowe’s Restaurant serves home-cooked food in a casual family atmosphere. Try their Coconut Crème Pie or the Peanut Butter Pie. 540-886-1833. The Firkin Pie Company, also in Staunton, has many choices; take a good look at the Super-creamy Meringue Topped Chocolate Pie if you don’t mind throwing your diet into a temporary tailspin. (540) 885-7437
In Lexington, the Muddy Turtle Pie at the Southern Inn boasts a German Chocolate – Turtle Pudding, Topped with Whipped Cream, Chocolate and Caramel Sauces, Toasted Pecans, Oreo Crumbs, Coconut and Served with a Crème Anglaise. (540) 463-3612
Natural Bridge General Store and Natty B Cafe has delicious homemade pies (left) in many flavors including Cherry, Fruits of the Forest, Sawdust, Blueberry, Apple, Strawberry Rhubarb, and Pecan.
One surprise response we got answers the age-old question, “Can you find good pie in a gas station?” Turns out the answer is yes, at Exxon Convenience Store, 4774 John Marshall Hwy in Linden.
Banner photo courtesy Mrs. Rowe’s in Staunton