With the exception of the Pie Shop at Terry's, these folks need a couple days' notice if you want to buy a whole pie. We figured volume because we wanted to include pi in our pie. Volume figures are a tiny bit fudged, given that none of the pies were cylinders.
Lemon icebox pie
Big Orange, 379-8715
$32 per pie, $6 per slice
A top vote-getter by the Times' taste-testers, nicely lemony with a whipped cream topping instead of meringue (a plus with one of the testers) and a graham cracker crust, which gives any pie an advantage. Don't drink with sauvignon blanc, however, or you'll have a hard time tasting the lemon.
Aesthetics: The orange zest on the top added a nice touch.
Volume: A bit less than 113.5 cubic inches.
Charlotte's Eats & Sweets, 842-2123
$26 per pie, $4.25 per slice
Winner of the highest meringue category at two and a half inches, this pie would have been better served before the rest, so delicate is its flavor. In fact, we're sure of it. Don't have a piece of lemon pie first. And here's a hint: When you go to Charlotte's, don't wait until you've eaten your hamburger to order your pie, or you might be out of luck.
Aesthetics: Thanks to the meringue, described by one tester as "wicked," this prize wins for looks.
Volume: A bit less than 270.4 cubic inches.
Three Sam's BBQ Joint, 407-0345
$20 per pie, $4 per slice
Testers liked the combo of chocolate and peanut butter in this creamy pie, heaped high and blanketed with peanuts. It got an "OMG" from one taster; another compared it favorably to a giant Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.
Aesthetics: A little over the top nut-wise.
Volume: A bit less than 238.6 cubic inches (biggest pie tasted).
German chocolate pie
$32 per pie, $4 per slice
Is this a German chocolate pie with pecans? Or a pecan pie with German chocolate? One naysayer, the type who doesn't color outside the lines, was bothered by the cross-cultural identity of this pie. Naysayer was shot down in a hail of derision, however. The pecans were praised.
Aesthetics: We could look chocolate in the face for a long time.
Volume: A bit less than 80.1 cubic inches.
Franke's Cafeteria, 225-4487 (Marketplace), 372-1919 (downtown)
$14.94 per pie, $2.69 per slice
This was the bargain pie, from the venerable Franke's. It should be served hot, and if you are home, put a scoop of ice cream on it. Drawback: an undistinguished crust.
Aesthetics: Ice cream makes everything beautiful.
Volume: A bit less than 85.1 cubic inches.
Raspberry cream pie
Trio's Restaurant, 221-3330
$26 per pie, $6 per slice
Excellent cream filling and graham cracker crust, rather than the raspberries, made this pie a standout. (But if strawberries are in season, get the strawberry shortcake instead at Trio's. Outstanding.)
Aesthetics: Wayne Thiebaud.
Volume: A bit less than 75.39 cubic inches (smallest pie tasted).
Caramel apple cinnamon crumb
Pie Hole food truck, 712-6366
$27 per pie, $4.50 per slice
Pockets of crunchy caramelized sugar cinnamon plus apple plus pie crust ... such cries of pleasure one never heard in a newsroom. This pie was so delicious that its appearance — the color of dog food — was completely forgiven.
Aesthetics: Ol' Roy, but smelling great.
Volume: A bit less than 143.1 cubic inches.