Or “any excuse for a piece of pie is as good as the next”! Since Pi day is opening day for the season at the Pie-o-neer Restaurant in Pietown, NM, we make it a point to take a short road trip each year to be a part of the festivities, and this year was no exception. What a party! We heard from Kathy later in the day that they served over 300 people yesterday between 11:30 am when they opened and 3:14 pm when the last piece was devoured and the restaurant had to close early. Not bad for a tiny little restaurant in a tiny little town on the continental divide in New Mexico!
We arrived a little early but the crowd was already starting to gather. Since this was touted as the ultimate Pi day, there were many different T-shirts commemorating the occasion.
We didn’t try to be first in line because we knew the crew had been frantically baking pies for the onslaught and by the time we got inside, every table and stool at the counter were filled.
Not being the shy retiring type, we asked one table of four if we could provide our own chairs and join them. The college students said sure, so LeRoy went to the car for our folding chairs. We enjoyed great conversation while waiting to be served. To say the staff was a little overwhelmed is an understatement. There was a line from the door to the counter, mostly takeout orders and waiters could barely squeeze through! Before we left, the line extended way past the porch and the steps, into the parking lot and almost out to the highway!
The cars that couldn’t park in the usual parking spaces lined up to the left.
We weren’t too concerned about getting our pie for lunch, since we had called ahead to reserve a few to bring back to share, one group of friends tonight and another tomorrow evening. This one is a pick your berry pie and if I remember correctly, we picked raspberries and blueberries.
This one is quite possibly my favorite. It is New Mexico pie, made with apples, green chilies and pine nuts with a pastry pepper on the crust.
Probably the prettiest, in my estimation, is Starry starry night, a blueberry pie with a top crust of various sizes of pastry stars. Yum!
Aside from the occasion of the Pi day of the century, we think one of the things that served to increase the size of the crowd from last year is the publicity the place has received due to an award winning documentary about it, and of course, Kathy Knapp, proprietor. A November segment on Sunday Morning with Bill Geist didn’t hurt their exposure either.
The trip to Pie Town takes us on one of the prettiest drives we’ve taken since we’ve been on the road, through the Salt River Canyon. One remarkable thing about the canyon is that you actually get to drive through it for miles, unlike the Grand Canyon where you drive along beside. We were impressed to see a river, in Arizona, with actual running water. That’s a pretty rare sight. The terms “river” and “water” are not necessarily synonymous in Arizona! When we are there, though, I’m always glad we are in our car and not the bus. The road, while paved and smooth, is steep with lots of sharp turns. Photos cannot do this place justice. It’s something you just have to experience.