Food Critics: The Best Pies In Kansas City

Oct 27, 2017

Credit Joy / Flickr -- CC

It’s a great time of year for pie.

Whether you’re celebrating the holidays with a traditional pumpkin pie, or warding off the chill with a hearty chicken pot pie, it’s amazing what can go under, over or between flaky, golden crusts.

On KCUR’s Central Standard, our Food Critics searched out the best pies — both sweet and savory — in and around Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

Mary Bloch, Around the Block:

Carlton Logan, KCFoodGuys.com and co-administrator, Kansas City Eats Facebook group:

  • Rye — lemon meringue. I’m not a big fan of meringue but I am a big fan of this pie. The short crust is made with lard so it is wonderfully flaky. The filling is made with Meyer lemons so it’s sweet but not too acidic. It is topped with a fluffy, fat swirl of beautifully toasted Italian meringue.
  • Anna’s Oven — chicken pot pie. This is not a traditional pot pie with a dual crust. It’s served in a double-handled soup bowl filled with chunks of chicken, potatoes, celery and carrots and topped with puff pastry instead of regular pie crust.
  • The Upper Crust — chocolate chess. This pie has a crisp crust on top, a rich and fudge-y filling and a flaky crust. Can be served cold or at room temperature.
  • Tippin’s — French Silk. This is probably my favorite non-fruit pie. It’s the flaky crust, the creamy chocolate filling, the whipped cream — and you have to get that little chocolate curl on your slice.
  • Conroy’s Public House — cottage pie. Conroy’s has a pie section on their menu. The cottage pie is basically a shepherd’s pie. The filling is beef from McGonigle’s Meat Market with bits of onion, celery and carrots, and it’s topped with mashed potatoes.
  • Conroy’s Public House — fishermen pie. With salmon, cod and shrimp in a cream sauce.
  • Conroy’s Public House — chicken pot pie. Both the Fishermen and chicken pot pies have a puff pastry crust on top.
  • Heirloom Bakery & Hearth — homemade pop tarts. A lot of bakeries are taking this childhood breakfast treat/afternoon snack out of the box and recreating a fresh baked version. It’s basically a baked hand pie. Heirloom typically has apple, blueberry and strawberry pop tarts. The crust is very flaky, filled and then topped with icing and sprinkles. My favorite is the blueberry.

Charles Ferruzza, 435 Magazine:

  • Café Europa — quiche. A limited selection of choices, but always hearty and imaginative.
  • André’s Confiserie Suisse — quiche. Many Kansas Citians got their very first taste of cheese-and-custard pie at the original tea room opened by the Bollier family in the 1970s. It’s still delicious.
  • Aixois — quiche. A pie that’s both elegant and substantial. Not too ladies-who-lunch-ish.
  • Rye — lemon meringue. It may be the best lemon meringue pie you will find in this city.
  • Ashleigh’s Bake Shop. I think her pies are just delicious. Her fruit pies are almost extraordinary; they’re very light.
  • TJ’s Cafe in Grandview. It’s an old-fashioned diner with homemade pies.
  • Englewood Cafe in Independence. They have the best selection of fruit and cream pies in that area.
  • Costco. The biggest pies. The sweet pies are great. The best chicken pot pie in the city for one reason: you just put it in the oven and it’s done.

Listener recommendations:

  • Plaza III — Key Lime.
  • The Upper Crust — bumbleberry pie. Made with blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and apples with a crumb topping. It’s my favorite, and they have a good cup of coffee to go with it.
  • The Upper Crust — blueberry. The best blueberry I’ve ever had. The crust is perfect, slightly sugared but not overly done, and the filling is not overly-sweetened or spiced.
  • Ladybird Diner — chicken pot pie. It’s phenomenal. It has a bottom crust and a top crust (you don’t usually find a bottom crust).
  • Ladybird Diner — sunflower and honey custard. It’s really a good “show off your Kansas pride” pie.
  • G’s Jamaican Quisine — meat pies. It’s just a simple Jamaican street food with heavily-seasoned ground meat and a flaky fried pastry. It’s jus delicious.
  • Tippin’s — peach cooler.
  • Wanda’s Roadside Café in DeSoto, Kansas, is worth the drive. Amazing homemade pies and great diner dishes.
  • Paola Livestock Auction. On Fridays, they have a livestock auction and they serve lunch. They make some of the best pies you’ll ever eat. There are several different kinds that are the more old-fashioned types like my mother used to make (mostly not as sweet). My favorite is cherry and she makes a mean apple. My wife really likes the coconut cream.
  • Charley’s Buffet in Lincoln, Missouri. All sorts of pies, from the traditional apple, cherry and blueberry to coconut cream. My favorite is apple. What’s really great is it’s all homemade cooking, buffet-style.
  • Bradley’s Corner Cafe in Topeka. They make 25-30 pies brand-spankin’ fresh every morning. They have all the standards, but the neat thing is they also make rhubarb, gooseberry-rhubarb and gooseberry. My favorite is sour cream raisin. The filling is creamy and smooth, the raisins are plump and juicy and the crust is just flaky and wonderful. It’s just like my mom used to make, and this is the only place I’ve ever found that makes a pie like that.

Jen Chen is associate producer for KCUR's Central Standard. Reach out to her at jen@kcur.org and follow her on Twitter @JenChenKC.