The holidays are here, and you know what that means: It’s time to pass the pie (and a few other delicious things).
You may want to order one of the minutas (short-order dishes), like delectable prosciutto-and-tomato sandwiches or tender gnocchi in a bright tomato sauce, at this family-friendly spot. You also may want to go straight for a slice of pasta frola, an Italian-style shortbread pie filled with sweet, tart dulce de membrillo (quince jelly), best enjoyed with a cappuccino or cortado.
Every Houstonian knows: It’s the fried chicken, not the brisket, that keeps the lights on here after more than 70 years. But the excellent pies are worth a visit in themselves. Options include pecan, lemon-meringue, chocolate-meringue, and our favorite, apple, with a thick fruit filling and a blanket of sparkling-sugar topping on its sturdy crust.
After debating between the chicken-fried steak and whatever amazing daily special is on offer at this landmark dating to 1941, it’s time to consider the gorgeous slices o’ pie. There is no wrong answer here, but we especially love the coconut-meringue, its tall wedge of meringue balanced atop a thick layer of yellow coconut cream, sprinkled with coconut shavings for added crunch. Get an extra slice of lemon-chess or chocolate-icebox—you know, for the table.
Maybe calling an egg-custard tart a pie is cheating; if so, we are guilty as charged. We simply cannot resist including this flawless dessert, served at a bakery whose very name means Egg Custard King. You’ll want to stockpile the flaky pastries filled with a silky, buttery, golden custard, although they’re at their most delectable when they’re still warm.
You’ll want to come to this temple of Gulf Coast cuisine for the fried chicken and mash with ham gravy, and the chicken-salad sandwich on cranberry-walnut bread, no doubt. But you’ll want to stay, forever, for the stunning chocolate-bourbon-pecan pie topped with a generous dollop of Mexican vanilla ice cream.
The pre-Thanksgiving lines are famously long here. After all, many Houstonians simply can’t celebrate the season without the shop’s boxes of pecan, pumpkin, Dutch apple, and—in our case—strawberry-cream, packed with fresh fruit slices and topped with sweet, creamy whipped goodness.
Since opening its first location on Kirby in 1977, this Houston stalwart has added three outposts. Houstonians love both the old-fashioned barbecue and the sticky-sweet Brazos Bottom Pecan Pie, packed with nuts collected from the banks of the Brazos River. It’s a super-popular gift this time of year; they’ll mail one for you, in a festive wooden box, for $40.
The king of all Houston pie purveyors, this 24-hour diner serves dozens of different slices, including pecan, banana-cream, lemon-icebox, strawberry-cream, buttermilk, and cult favorite Bayou Goo, a blockbuster combo of cream cheese, vanilla custard, and chocolate chunks and shavings, somehow contained on a perfect pecan crust. You can get whole pies here, too.
The bustling breakfast and lunch spot has a not-so-secret weapon in its desserts. Pastry chef Andrea de Gortari’s chocolate cream pie is nothing less than stunning, its fudge-like base topped with fresh, thick whipped cream and, for an extra bit of texture, chocolate crumbles.
Open since 1949, this classic Jewish bakery offers myriad pastries and desserts, plus bagels and coffee. The pecan, chocolate-fudge-pecan, and lemon-meringue pies receive high marks, but it’s the key-lime version—with its strong graham-cracker crust; refreshing, tangy filling; and generous whipped-cream topping—that won first place at the 2017 National Pie Championships, and for good reason.