| CRAIG CHADWELL & MIKE MOFFO
As your designated foodie fanatics, we try to find a balance between eating healthy and, well, enjoying all of the food we can, but as we head into comfort food season, there’s one food which we consider a favorite: pumpkin pie. And being adventurous types, we’ll venture into pretty much all things pumpkin, as long as they’re – well, honestly, we have no additional criteria. That’s just who we are. We’ve roamed all over town from bakeries to restaurants to provide our personal perspective on some primo pumpkin pastries and pies.
Moving south down High Street to the Short North, we found one of the favorites of our adventure: The Pumpkin Cheesecake Tart at Piece of Cake Bakery. The description placard describes this as a “graham cracker crust topped with a decadent pumpkin cheesecake finished with cream cheese and caramel.” While we know what all that says, we’re not that fancy. We call this “Yum. And another yum tomorrow.” If you’re in the Short North, give this a try.
Hopping east a couple of blocks to Italian Village for lunch and in hopes that they would have a pumpkin treat, we visited Cray. This one, kids, is a must. We actually had one of our children along for this part. After a lot of “Mmm” and “Oh m...Oh...Oh, my,” she gave the verdict on Cray’s Mini Homemade Pumpkin Cheesecake: “It’s an amazing, gooey pumpkin pile drowned in graham cracker.” Whether her description is enticing to you or not, this one warms the soul with its fresh-from-the oven temperature and taste. (Check out the September issue online for more about Cray’s many delights.)
Heading southeast into Olde Towne East, we knew we had to check out The Angry Baker. We were able to sample the last-for-the-day Pumpkin Oatmeal Cream Pie. Two oatmeal-heavy, well-spiced cookies with a not-too-sweet, just right filling added yet another satisfying variation to our pumpkin sampling cornucopia.
So what’s that? You’d just like some regular old, ‘Merican pumpkin pie? Have we ever let you down before? Oh, no. We sampled those, too, just for you. For a locally-owned restaurant, best all-around pumpkin pie (with or without the whipped cream), we vote for Tee Jay’s Country Place. Whether you’ve visited their Parsons Ave location at 2 a.m. and forgot they had pumpkin pie (or forgot your own name), it’s worth a stop-in when you need a quick pumpkin pie fix.
With one hundred-plus years of history in Columbus, Resch’s Bakery at 4061 E. Livingston Avenue in Whitehall is our pick for the best traditional pumpkin pie. It’s not too sweet “naked,” but those with a sweet tooth will be more than satisfied by adding a dollop of whipped cream.
Another place that we really liked was Just Pies. With locations in Worthington, Westerville and Gahanna, you’ve got a bit of a hike from downtown, but it’s worth the effort. It’s a great place to go, especially if you’re looking for a couple different pies because they have a great fresh-made variety.
If holiday travel or just an urge to road trip while the weather still permits takes you a little further past the boundaries of Columbus, we’ve got you covered for pumpkin pie tastes regardless of which direction you’re heading. If you’re heading north, you’ve got to check out the G&R Tavern in Waldo. Pie slices the size of your head! To the west, visit Henry’s Sohio just outside West Jefferson. They no longer have gasoline, but their pies and food are legendary. To the south, check out Ben & Joy’s in Mount Sterling. And if you’re heading east, just keep going until you get to Pittsburgh. Grab one of those mammoth pastrami sandwiches with cole slaw and french fries and everything-but-the-kitchen-sink from Primanti Brothers. You won’t have room for pumpkin pie and you won’t care if you ever eat pie again.
See? We’ve always got you covered. Happy pumpkin-eating, our foodie Pilgrims!