But there's just one place to think of when you're talking about the queen of rural fast food desserts. Just one place to consider when you're talking about the down-home yet delicate and delicious morsel we like to call the fried pie.
That place, hands down, is Ms. Lena's Pie Shop in DeValls Bluff.
I made my most recent drive the first day of December, waking before seven to get ready and head an hour east from my Little Rock home. I feared the proverbial crowds that might come and swipe them all before I might get a chance to enjoy one myself.
When I stepped out of my car at the little house beside Highway 33, just south of Highway 70, I was overwhelmed with the scent of baking pies. No, I wasn't inside -- the smell of fresh baked dough and fruit hung in the air outside the establishment like a tasty cloak of goodness. It was impossible to keep from salivating as I shut the car door and made my way up the step.
Each pie is a wonder in itself. The chocolate pies are creamy and surprisingly light, with a filling reminiscent of a good meringue pie instead of the pudding that so many places erroneously use. The cherry is a pleasantly light filling with the hint of maraschino that could never have come from a can.
Apricot pies are pungently sweet and tasty, like the best preserves.
Peach pies are smooth and sweet and chunky,
and apple pies are full of slightly crisp tart bites in a creamy syrup.
they continue to work on.
Vivian told me about all the different people that had come through. She told me about a gentleman from New
And I would have shown you what the inside of that pie looked like, but I ate it too quick. Well, I had help. But by the time I thought to pull out the camera, nothing was left but a few measley crumbs in the bottom of the pie shell.
And if you really ask nice, you might get a special order. For that, you'll have to call Vivian at (870) 998-1204.
*** UPDATE: The pie shop is open once again. Yay! For more information, call (870) 998-7217.
And if you decide to take your pie home and notice it's not as crisp as you might like it to be, just put it uncovered in the refrigerator for a bit. It'll crisp right back up.
Catch this story, along with other Tie Dye Travels, on BestTalkRadio.com by listening to the Tie Dye Travels podcast.
UPDATE 9/5/17: I keep coming back to this story, thanks to its prominence in earning a little recognition with a nod from Max Brantley at the Arkansas Times. It certainly started an emphasis on covering food. I had no idea that'd lead to all this other stuff.
Alas, the old Best Talk Radio podcasts are long gone. But I was checking out the Ms. Lena's Pie Shop Facebook page today, and indeed, it's still going.
And here is the very first piece I wrote about Ms. Lena's - back when I worked for THV.