Ahhh, pie. Or as we like to call it, sweet slices of heaven. Cake may take the dessert cake, but pie is so much more. By combining filling and fine crust, and maybe a bonus crumble or lattice topper, pie gives you flavor, flake, and layers of depth. One bite could be all luscious filling, the next buttery crust. Or you could combine the two for a texture party, and the marriage of sweet plus slightly salty. In short, a good slice is piefection—and should never just be reserved for holidays.
Salted Bourbon Caramel Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie at Welcome Diner
929 East Pierce Street
Granted, we’d stuff our pie hole with anything from Welcome Diner – bomb ass burgers, crazy good fried chicken biscuit sandwiches, unforgettable jackfruit fries – so it’s not like we’re going to tell you to save room for dessert. But one look at this glorious pie and your taste buds will tell you what to do: Order it! And while your mouth is Mmmming over the crunchy meets gooey insides, your brain will be wondering why flaky sea salt and jumbo chocolate chips aren’t always invited to the pecan party. Consider this a standing invitation.
Apple Crumb Pie at Pie Snob
3630 East Indian School Road
Apple crumb ... more like apple yum. This pie is better than your mom’s pie or even grandma’s (yes, we went there). Owner Traci Wilbur, who sold pies out of her house for eight years before opening this Arcadia storefront, more than deserves the pie snob moniker. When you make pie this good, with cinnamon’d-to-perfection chunky apple slices and a buttery crust so flaky grandma would be jealous (sorry again, grandma), you can brag all you want. She also serves up Key lime, chocolate cream, blueberry, cherry, and caramel apple.
Key Lime Pie at The Bakery PHX
1528 Bethany Home Road
If Key lime has a special place in your heart (and mouth) – that not-so-subtle marriage of subtly tart citrus meets decadently buttery graham cracker crust meets clouds of fluffy whipped cream – then this is for you. And instead of just a slice, you get the whole kit and caboodle: A five-inch circle of fluffy delight that zings your taste buds with each bite. Owner Lisa Levinson puts that same love and magic in her from-scratch cookies, cupcakes, croissants, and carrot cake. In other words, bring your sweet tooth.
Cherry Pie at Sugar Jam Bake Shop & Bistro
7950 East Redfield Road, #100, Scottsdale
There’s something decadent about having a personal mini pie, an all-for-you circle of yumminess topped with an expertly woven golden brown crust singing with crystals of sugar and splatters of cherry. Forget moving it to a plate. Just dig right in, through the flaky butter crust and into the eye of the storm, a syrupy wonderland of anti-gravity cherries suspended in a lava-like syrup. Cold butter is a yes and imitation flavors are a no for owner and head baker Dana Dumas. Get there early or cherry might be long gone.
Chocolate Meringue at Kiss the Cook
4915 West Glendale Avenue, Glendale
You’ll be breaking up with a la mode and whipped cream as pie’s main squeeze after your mouth meets this chocolate meringue delectation. Steep golden peaks dance over the dense chocolate base, a rich filling that might be too sweet on its own, but with the airy meringue is a match made in pie heaven. The crust is more chalky that flaky, but the texture works and keeps the whole gravity-defying slice from toppling over. A Glendale breakfast and lunch fixture since 1982, Kiss the Cook closely guards this pie recipe (Hagadorn will divulge she uses butter in the crust), but some mysteries are better eaten than solved.
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Naughty Pecan at MacAlpine's Diner and Soda Fountain
2303 North Seventh Street
There’s plenty of nostalgia at MacAlpine’s, from the old-school counter to the wait staff clad in pink diner shirts and bright lipstick. While the stacked sundaes and ice cream floats might hog the spotlight, the pie is where it’s at. Take the Naughty Pecan and its tappable layer of dense caramel on top of plump whole pecans that give way to an gooey caramel finish, all held together by a combo Crisco-butter crust. Warm it up for maximum ooze. Not that there’s a wrong pie move at this throwback diner in the Coronado district. The stacked apple more than stands up and the berry is practically bursting.
Cherry Pie at My Mother’s Restaurant
4130 North 19th Avenue
This is a smothered-in-gravy kind of place, with paper place mats, gargantuan portions, servers who have worked here for decades, and décor so wrong that it almost looks right (we’re looking at you indoor pergola accented with plastic vines). Take a seat in a vinyl booth of this spot open since 1977, order up a slice of pie –strawberry, banana cream, cherry, peach, you can’t go wrong – and out will come not a sliver but a wedge. A quarter of a pie, to be precise. Size matters, but so does taste … and filling-to-crust ratio … and flavors that speak for themselves … and home-baked goodness. Well, yes, yes, yes, and oh, yes!