Flying High

How Many Pies Does Flying Saucer Pie Co. Sell for Thanksgiving?

A Houston institution for Thanksgiving pie, by the numbers.

By Gwendolyn Knapp October 28, 2019 Published in the November 2019 issue of Houstonia Magazine

Image: Amy Kinkead


Years since family-run shop Flying Saucer Pie Co. first opened in Houston


Initial investment—by pastry chef William “Pie Bill” Leeson and business partner Marilyn Turner—to buy their first batch of apples, lease the shop’s original space, and open for business


Year the duo built the shop’s current, and beloved, 436 W. Crosstimbers St. location, thanks in part to their winning a contract to supply apple pies to the NASA commissary


Age that Pie Bill’s daughter, Heather Leeson, first “popped boxes and counted back change” during the Thanksgiving rush


Age at which Pie Bill sadly passed away, two weeks before Thanksgiving in 2015, leaving Heather to run the business with her three siblings as co-owners


Number of days the shop was closed, during May and June of 2019, for a half-million-dollar facelift that includes 5 new convection ovens and 2 new space-themed murals by artist Rafael Angel Villarreal


Number of days before Thanksgiving which Leeson refers to as “our Super Bowl,” right down to the thousands of fans who tailgate while waiting in line for a pie


Number of scratch-made pies sold during those 3 days last year, with strawberry cream, apple, and pecan the perennial top-sellers


Cost of a 10-inch strawberry cream pie


Number of pounds of dough—made from flour, shortening, salt, and cold water—made by 8 full-time staffers, plus additional seasonal hires, each November


Number of days you can keep a fresh-made pecan or apple pie unrefrigerated, making them perfect for traveling

2.5 to 3

Average number of hours that customers wait in line to buy a Flying Saucer pie the day before Thanksgiving


Number of hours before the shop opened on the day before Thanksgiving last year, that a couple set up chairs to start Wednesday’s line next to the Monday one. They brought along tamales for the crowd and an entourage—trading off shifts going home to sleep—in order to secure the first spot for fresh pies.


Chiropractor, Dr. Randall Holmes, who sets up a table behind the shop each year on the day before Thanksgiving, to adjust staffers’ sore backs

Show Comments