We're not sure exactly when Chicago became so pie-crazed, but we don't care—the past few years have been an embarrassment of riches when it comes to our favorite bakery treat. And you can find some of the best desserts in the city in all kinds of places, whether it's pecan pie at one of the best seafood restaurants (we're looking at you, Shaw's Crab House), rich chocolate pies by the slice from Bang Bang Pie Shop or decadent peanut butter pie from Bub City. Whether it's for Thanksgiving dinner or just an average day, here's where to go for the best pies in Chicago.
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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), along with Metropolis coffee, at her tiny, retro pie shop. The pies are, in a word, extraordinary.
David and Megan Miller's (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 bay leaf–laced pumpkin with graham crust, a sweet-tart cranberry apple with a vegetarian crust that uses coconut instead of lard, and creamy butterscotch pie with oat cookie crust.
Stephanie Lock whips up daily pies (including an insanely good maple custard pie) to sell at Bow Truss locations around the city. But she doesn't just make great pies—she helps out home bakers by selling Ready-To-Roll Dough at shops like Provenance and Plum Market. Grab the frozen dough and stash it in the freezer for home baking projects.
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.
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 (red wine and poached pear, and standbys like apple) and feel good about giving back.