Best pies in Chicago
Former fine dining pastry chef Paula Haney made a name for her pies at farmers’ markets and coffee shops. Now she sells seasonal creations (from strawberry-rhubarb in spring to apple and pumpkin in fall) and signatures (like her incomparable banana-cream and the new Malört-inspired "Chicago Sunrise"), along with Metropolis coffee, at her tiny, retro pie shop. The pies are, in a word, extraordinary.
David and Megan Miller's (formerly of Bang Bang Pie Shop) millhouse and bakery is, unsurprisingly, serving up some of the best pies around. Since they're milling grains in-house, that means pies like a a double crusted apple cranberry in leaf lard crust, lemon cream in graham and a vanilla bean cheesecake in graham cracker crust. They're also serving a limited menu (no pies, but biscuits abound) at their new location in Ravenswood at 4642 N Francisco Avenue.
The charming Humboldt Park pie and soda spot has spinning stools that lend a retro feel, but the flavors here aren’t stuck in time—the creative slices rotate regularly, but think blueberry-rose or key lime-hibiscus flavors. The house soda program is just as successful, with sodas like a lively pineapple-lemongrass or lavender grape. Savory options, including ham and cheese scones and breakfast sandwiches, round out the menu.
Pie is the name of the game at Bang Bang, where daily pies include seasonal creations like chocolate pecan or spiced tart cherry, all atop perfect crusts. They're darn cute too—slices are served on checkered paper, which makes them ideal for Instagram. In the summer, snag a seat at one of the picnic tables in the yard out back. Plus, there's a new location in Ravenswood (4947 N Damen Ave), serving up many of the same favorites you'll find in Logan Square.
We love the seafood at Shaw's, but dessert's another high point—Shaw's pies are among the best around, and one bite of the thick, gooey pecan pie (with hot fudge sauce or Madeira wine), and you'll wish you saved extra room. Thankfully, you can get the pies in mini form in a dessert sample, with a key lime, pecan and raspberry pie, plus a mini crème brûlée—it's the perfect way to try it all and more.
Between the bourbon, a live music stage that would be easy to hop onto and the very disturbing mannequin of a cowboy urinating in the women’s bathroom, the Melmans’ hit is a place where one could make a lot of bad decisions. Here’s one you won’t regret: ordering a slice (or six) of chef Doug Psaltis’s pie for dessert. The Peanut Butter Chocolate Delight—made with Valrhona chocolate ganache and house-made peanut butter—is positively insane, a marriage of comfort food and unimpeachable finesse. Psaltis’s secret: his wife, Hsing Chen, the former pastry chef at the Peninsula, who he says taught him everything he knows about pie.
By employing homeless and otherwise at-risk youth and training them to enter the hospitality workforce, this nonprofit café doubles as a social venture. But to be honest, the only thing you'll think about once you've had one of its chocolate-chunk cookies, cheddar-chive scones or local produce–packed pies is how well this cute café is serving you.
Maybe it's the giant pie sculpture in the window here that seduces you and draws you in. Or maybe it's the fact that eating at this charitable café is an easy way to support an organization that provides hunger relief. Inhale the aroma of fresh-baked pie (balsamic raspberry pear, and standbys like apple) and feel good about giving back.