SXSW: An Outsider’s Guide to Finding Pie in Austin, Texas

PECAN PIE

Pecan Pie @ The Salt Lick

Let me preface this by saying, I don’t really have a right to be recommending pie in Austin. I’ve only been there a couple of times, and only have had a small sampling of what Austin has to offer.

But, I have a certain affection for Austin. It’s like Portland’s sister-city (or in my case, it’s my brother-in-law’s city).

So, if you’re in Austin for SXSW and need some pie, I’m going to try to help you. But, just note that this is based on only a little experience on my part, and mostly on web research.

Cutie Pies: I haven’t been to Cutie Pies (I tried… next time), but having talked to some people from Austin and people that have visited Austin, “The Pie Queen” of Austin is one of the best-known pie-centric options in town.

In fact, LeAnn from the Portland Pie-Commission visited with owner Jaynie Buckingham a few years ago.

Cutie Pies used to be located in a food-cart lot on South Congress, but have since opened a storefront at 7329 Burnet Road

The Pie Society: I haven’t had it, and they are only a catering company, but I recently started following them on Twitter and it looks they are participating in some SXSW events – check it out. Or you could have a pie delivered while you’re there, for Pi Day, perhaps? Even better – like their Facebook page for a special SXSW discount!

Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop: I don’t know much about them, but they have excellent reviews on Yelp, and have plenty of pie options.

Boomerang’s: If you’re looking for Aussie-style meat pies, Austin’s got it at Boomerang’s. They’re located near the University of Texas campus. Another place I haven’t been, but the reviews are decent, and it looks pretty tasty.

Lucy’s Fried Chicken: You can’t have fried chicken without pie. I’m kind of a fried chicken-fiend, and this place is on my list for the next time I visit. I’m particularly intrigued by Sweet Tea Pie and S’mores Pie.

OK, let’s move on to a few places I actually visited and if I would recommend them.

Pecan Pie - Old Pecan Street Cafe - Austin

Pecan Pie – Old Pecan Street Cafe

Old Pecan Street Cafe: Pictured above is the pecan pie from the Old Pecan Street Cafe. To tell the truth, my memory is a little fuzzy about all the details of the pies I tried (it was over a year ago). But, I don’t recall anything bad about this pie, it was a decent pecan pie, a good “nuts to goo” ratio. Old Pecan Street Cafe is right off 6th Street too, so the location may be convenient.

Chez Zee: I thought the dinner here was decent, but I wasn’t super-impressed with the pies we ordered, plus, as I recall, they were on the pricey side. None of them seemed very fresh and it didn’t have that “homemade” feel that I prefer.  I’d say skip it, unless you are staying nearby and need a break from the crowds. I read that they claim to have the best dessert in Austin, and I would definitely have to disagree with that.

Kerbey Lane Cafe: Kerbey Lane is an Austin staple and has a few locations. They’re known for their pancakes and have some good tex-mex options, too. We were in search of pie, so we grabbed an apple-cranberry slice. They didn’t have a lot of pie options, so I wouldn’t recommend going here if you’re in search of a great pie-joint, but if you’re desperate for pie, I thought it was pretty decent. The crust was really thick, but that doesn’t bother me so much.

The Salt Lick: OK, I admit it, I fell for this sort of  tourist-trap-y restaurant. I saw it on the Travel channel or whatever and was dead-set on going for the mouthwatering BBQ. I’m not saying it’s not good, because it is good. The BBQ was really good – but it wasn’t a life-changing experience like I was hoping for. The problem is, it’s a super-long wait and it’s a pretty long drive out to hill country. We had fun and the food was good, but it is a real time-commitment. The pecan pie, though… I actually thought the pecan pie was pretty exceptional. So, if you are willing to make the journey, don’t skip out on dessert. Or, you might check their Airport location, I’m not sure if they have pecan pie there, though.

OK, now, like I said, I admit that I don’t necessarily know what I’m talking about, so if you are privy to pie in Austin, please let us know where you recommend getting a slice – leave a comment below.

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1 Comment

  1. Yum! This is a really great list! You know more than you think. ;)

    I’m in Austin and appreciate (all year long!) you posting this list. If you ever want to host or participate “live” in a Pie Social yourself, there is an organization based in Austin called Peace Through Pie. You can produce one of these in your own area in Portland easily – and this group will be glad to give you tips.

    It provides a template directly from their site for becoming a Pie Social host – and just so far in 2014 their following has produced over 40 such gatherings.If you are ever in the Central Texas area itself, these are happening regularly and the web calendar keeps tabs on where and when.

    Peace Through Pie is an official non-profit which is already working with over 20 schools, at least a dozen culinary institutes, and a significant number of churches and community organizations. It specializes in adding into the youth-educational mix some sweetness and real nutrition to the art of coming to the table together.

    http://www.peacethroughpie.org

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