Best Pies in SoCo

Thursday, April 16th, 2009


Triple Berry Pie from Village Bakery

Where are the best pies in Sonoma County? We find out…

Mom’s Apple Pies: Though the apple blossoms have barely finished blooming in the few remaining orchards along Gravenstein Highway, scent of apples and cinnamon hangs heavy in the sprawling parking lot around Betty Carr’s roadside bakeshop. Even in these early days of spring, long before the late summer bounty of berries and ripe apples, her 25-year-old bakery, Mom’s Apple Pies, does a brisk business in heaping apple, rhubarb, peach, cherry and blueberry pies. Any time is a good time for pie.

This time of year, the apples are Granny Smiths rather than Gravenstein’s — but the rush of digging into the flaky, still-warm, piled-high dessert is just the same. Maybe it’s hard-wired into us, we apple-pie-loving Americans, but like mom and baseball, there’s a soft spot for something so comforting and familiar.

The need for so many parking spots around Betty’s bakeshop are testament to that.

But outside of home kitchens and county fairs, pie isn’t always that easy to find anymore. It’s more refined cousins — tarts, clafoutis, and rich cakes have supplanted the humble slice. Which is kind of sad, but all the more fun to seek out. Because the bastions of pie-eaters are unassuming places where moms, grandmas and enterprising nostalgians bake their fresh creations each day without pomp and circumstance — quietly setting their pies out on the counters to be accidentally, wonderfully discovered.
Just down the road from Mom’s, past the vineyards that have supplanted so many of the old orchards,

Kozlowski Farms, stands as a vivid reminder of what West County used to be. Nestled among the apple trees is the homey gift shop filled with jams and jellies, along with the farm’s pecan crumb-top and double-crust pies — inspired by the recipes of Carmen Kozlowski’s family recipes. Gravenstein pies are available year round, along with blackberry, latticed cherry pies, raspberry peach and blueberry apple pies. They’re among locals’ favorites.


Apple Pie from Mom's Apple Pies

CLOSED A newcomer to the scene is Humble Pie, where the Miriam Lee Donaldson does some very ungranny-like pies each day in her tiny Penngrove cafe. Using all-butter crusts and family recipes, her deep-dish apple-cheddar pie, banana cream with coconut and Ohio lemon (flavors change with the seasons) are lovingly baked each day. You can get a slice after dinner or order a whole pie from the restaurant.


Cheddar Apple Pie

Insiders know that despite the name, Betty’s Fish & Chips is another of Santa Rosa’s best pie shops. Owner Susan Corso makes hundreds of pies each week in the restaurant’s kitchen (which will soon be expanding), most notably her rich, lush lemon chiffon cream pie –– though you may have to wrestle with your tablemates over whether the raspberry peach or apple is better.
(above: Humble Pie’s cheddar apple pie)
Other top local picks for SoCo pie:
Village Bakery’s triple berry pie, loaded with blueberries, raspberries and blackberries is tart, sweet and as beautiful to look at as it is to eat.
Dierk’s Parkside Cafe: Apple’s almost always on the menu, made with rich, caramelly fruit and a flaky butter crust to make you weep with happiness.
Original Superburger: The evening cook makes fresh pies daily, according to her whim. Pairs well with tasty burger.

Where to go:

Kozlowski Farms: 5566 Gravenstein Hwy. 116, Forestville
Humble Pie: 10056 Main St., Penngrove, (707) 664-8779.
Betty’s Fish & Chips: 4046 Sonoma Hwy, Santa Rosa, (707) 539-0899
Original Superburger: 1501 4th St., Santa Rosa, (707) 546-4016
Village Bakery: 1445 Town and Country Dr., Santa Rosa, (707) 527-7654
Mom’s Apple Pie: 4550 Gravenstein Hwy N., Sebastopol, (707) 823-8330

Related Images:

Author: biteclub

Food Dining and Restaurants in Sonoma County and beyond, is Wine Country dining with Drive-Thru Sensibility.

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  1. Lenguas de Gato

  2. You left one of the best out. Sam’s For Play Cafe on Cleveland Ave Santa Rosa has some of the best pies around. She bakes them herself. By the slice or you can order whole pies. Her apple is yummy and you have to be quick to get a piece of her blueberry. Her boston cream is the best in the world.

  3. There is obviously a lot to know about this, I think you made some good points in Features also.

  4. Downtown Bakery

  5. P.S.
    Eduardo, I’ll be headin’ down the street from Kozlowski’s to “Moms” aka Betty Carr’s place soon.

  6. I’d been eyeing the Kozlowski Farms Pies at Oliver’s market for some time and my craving was long held, but I finally gave in and forked over the 16.00 dollars for one of Kozlowski’s berry pies.
    I’ve been a die hard for their jellys/jams since the beginning, so I anticipated the pies with mouth-watering delight.
    It was the WORST and I mean WORST pie I have ever tasted. The filling’s constinency was icky-gooey tapioca-y/cornstarchy. WHY, why, why the thickener?!! Real fruit pies don’t need thickener.
    And,the purplish goo filling provided absolutely no indication to my taste buds that I was eating something created with berries…just a mouthful of overly-sweet, gooey, sticky, blehck. The crust was not memorable or I’d include it here as well.
    Kozlowski Pies: Reminiscent of the highly-processed, fake-ingredient-laden Hostess Brand pocket-sized confections found at a grade-school cafeterias…
    16.00 over-priced blehck.

  7. OMG. Now I’m craving pies. I almost wish I hadn’t read this…

  8. HUMBLE PIE….awesome! Their apple ginger is to die for. Everything that comes out of that kitchen is exceptional and I look forward to the changes on the menu…a must stop to anyone who encourages the local economy and the use of fresh local produce.

  9. Where is the pie with the fork from?

  10. I think I have tasted most of the local pies and by far Betty’s (Carr) pies are number one day after day.

  11. Anybody make a decent pie in Healdsburg?

  12. Damn! Don’t you people read anything? The only piece not labeled is the one with the fork. The two bottom photos are the same. I’ve been going to Mom’s since she first opened. Before that her husband used to make great cake doughnuts at their drive-in up in Forestville (Carr’s). Mom’s has slipped over the last few years since Dad isn’t there anymore and someone else does all the work.

  13. You forgot one. Sandy’s kitchen. I make a killer dutch apple pie with creamy filling. Always with Gravensteins if available. One of my guests said it was better than his grandmother’s and she was a great Italian cook. Hmmm maybe I should open a pie shop.

  14. I’ll second that MM, who’s pie is in the top picture, that is one awesome looking crust !

  15. Just wondering which pies were pictured in your piece on SoCo’s best pies.

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