Most of these “National (insert random food) Days” are really not worth giving a second thought…but there are a few that actually matter. This Saturday in one of them…National Pie Day. It’s an important and significant day to many Arkansans. Without a doubt, there are a whole heap of fabulous pies in central Arkansas to choose from. It’s practically a crime in this state not to love pie.
Interestingly, I’ve never written up a “best pie” list as of yet. Probably because I’ve always felt the task rather daunting and slightly overwhelming. With so many great pies, I felt obligated to carefully sample my way around town, gathering sufficient data to produce a valid, reputable list. Well, that time has arrived, and I now present to you (in no particular order) the 10 best pies in Little Rock. Enjoy this year’s National Pie Day as it’s meant to be enjoyed and dig into one of these fabulous pies.
1. Peanut Butter Pie from Three Sam’s BBQ – This Mabelvale staple always draws a crowd at lunchtime for their sizable plates of smoked meat, but dessert is truly the star at this small joint. There’s a number of excellent pies to be had, but the thick, creamy peanut pie with whole roasted nuts and peanut butter and chocolate candy pieces really deserves special attention.
2. Pear Pie from Honey Pies – Honestly, I’ve not eaten too many pear pies in my lifetime. I like apple pie, so when I recently sampled this pear pie, I figured it would also be enjoyable. But I’ve got to say, this pie was nothing short of perfection. Apple has met its match. Perfectly soft, tender, and spiced pears meet some of the finest pie crust in Little Rock. It’s a seasonal pie, so you’ll need to act fast if you want to get your hands on one.
3. Coconut Cream Pie from Charlotte’s Eats & Sweets (Keo) – Yes, I’m venturing outside of Little Rock just a smidge…but if you’ve eaten this pie, you know it deserves a place here. The short drive out to Keo is meaningless once you’ve sunk your teeth into this creamy, packed-with-coconut, cream pie with light airy meringue. It should be on everyone’s Arkansas bucket list.
4. Raspberry Cream Pie from Trio’s – Another Little Rock staple that makes choosing a single dessert an excruciatingly painful process…particularly when it comes to pies. They’ve regularly got a healthy stock of 5-6 pies on hand, and all of them are noteworthy in their own right. But it’s this slightly tart and tangy pie that really won my heart. A thin layer of fresh raspberry puree rests atop a silky white cream base. Good luck eating just one slice.
5. Blueberry Tart from One Eleven – The difference between a “tart” and a “pie” is irrelevant in this case. Just know that this little beauty is well worth eating and the perfect way to cap off any fancy feast at One Eleven. Think warm, sugary, juicy blueberries in a buttery, crisp shell. It comes with housemade honey thyme ice cream on the side. You shouldn’t need much more convincing.
6. Chocolate Cream Pie from Franke’s – It’s all too easy to crowd your tray up with chicken, meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, and eggplant casserole before you even reach the end of the line where dessert lurks. Save some space, folks. You’ll find a whole assortment of pies on this cafeteria’s line…but the classic chocolate pie with whipped cream is an underrated delight.
7. Coconut Cream Pie from Capers – I don’t get into Capers all that often…but this coconut pie is probably the strongest force luring me back. It’s a classic design with creamy golden coconut custard and pure white cream topping. All the other desserts play second fiddle to this lovely pie.
8. Chocolate Chess Pie from Alley Oops – Another place that often gets lost in the mix of newer, fancier restaurants. But one of the most notable achievements of this humble West Little Rock neighborhood restaurant is their assortment of daily house-made desserts. And amongst them, the chocolate chess pie may be the best I’ve had here. It’s gooey and grand, rich with chocolate, nestled in a flaky crust. Just go eat it if you’re in the area.
9. Bourbon Pecan Pie from Delicious Temptations – I’m a sucker for nut pies…and a good pecan pie is pretty difficult to top. Unless you add a little bourbon to the mix for a slightly spicier version of this classic dish. Delicious Temptations may have built its name on breakfast but their pies are not to be overlooked. Heck, eat pie for breakfast. I won’t stop you.
10. Chocolate Fudge Brownie Pie from Honey Pies – Why does Honey Pies get two slots on this list? …because they’re just that good. Sharon Woodson may be a newcomer to the Little Rock food scene, but she’s quickly earning a slot as one of this town’s most talented bakers. This brownie pie was the first thing I ever tasted from Honey Pies…and I’m still dreaming of that first bite. Contact Honey Pies and order a pie already.