How to bring a community together? Try pie. Diners and county fairs have long held the secret, but now innovative businesses are catching on as well. From traditional apple to spinach-and-bacon quiche, pies may be tart, sweet or savory, but they always satisfy. Especially at the following pie joints.

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Mission Pie / San Francisco
The eco-minded bakery and corner café is revered for its daily selection of quiches, tarts, potpies and dessert pies loaded with mixed berries or banana cream. Much of the bakery’s produce — strawberries, greens, winter squash — as well as ingredients like heritage wheat flour (for the crusts) comes from surrounding farms such as Blue House Farm and Pie Ranch. Mission Pie also collaborates with the local nonprofi ts New Door Ventures and JVS for an internship program, and some of the participating innercity youth even take advantage of Pie Ranch’s educational program; by working at Mission Pie they’re able to see the fruits (literally) of their labor — from harvest to oven.
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Mission Pie

PieLab / Greensboro, Ala.
Part design studio, part pie kitchen, this former pop-up shop relocated to Main Street and now plays host to community workshops and potluck events, but it’s the $2 slices that really help facilitate discussion among residents of this rural Southern town. A constantly changing selection includes Oreo, cushaw (a type of squash) and New York– style cheesecake.
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Texas Pie Kitchen / Austin, Texas
With no set storefront, customers phone ahead for these madeto- order pies — 30-plus varieties include ones with lattice tops, graham-cracker crusts and cream cheese fi llings, as well as local favorites like Dr Pepper pecan and Mississippi Mud — that are baked by low-income adults working toward economic empowerment.


Try this best-selling recipe by Jen Biddle of Texas Pie Kitchen.

German Chocolate Pecan Pie

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup dark corn syrup
1 cup chopped pecans
3 tablespoons softened butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup (plus a handful)
chocolate chips
1/2 cup coconut
1 unbaked pie shell

Whisk ingredients together for filling. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Sprinkle the handful of chocolate chips over the top. Bake at 350° for one hour.

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Texas Pie Kitchen