Across Ohio, recipes for homemade crusts, luscious fillings, and meringue perfection are passed down through generations and attract travelers from all over. Here are some that are worth going out of your way for.
Airport Café, Urbana
For 28 years, the Airport Café at the Grimes Field Airport has served up slices of fruit and cream pie to regulars who come for comfort food, conversation, and plane-watching — the café’s large picture windows overlook the tarmac for a view of takeoffs and landings. By late afternoon, there’s a fresh batch of pies — the fresh-baked ones for the lunch crowd are often long gone.
Owners Doug and Michele Hall use pie recipes from Doug’s great-grandmother; toasted coconut cream and butterscotch are fan favorites.
Henry’s, West Jefferson
Henry’s, an unassuming rectangle of a building on U.S. 40, has new owners and a fresh, spruced-up look. Brent Bennett and his fiancée, Bobbie Gaul, took over the nostalgic diner from Bennett’s dad, Chester, who bought the restaurant from Henry and Miriam Summerford in 1985.
Henry’s pies have been a legendary draw since the Summerfords started the business in 1953 as a restaurant/gas station combo. Diners are advised to order their pie before their meal — otherwise it might be gone. These days Gaul makes the cream pies, but Chester still comes in twice a week to bake the fruit pies known for their flaky, perfect crust and just-right juicy filling.
Kathy’s Korner, Arcadia
Now owned by its namesake’s daughter, Rachel Sterling, and Rachel’s husband, Matt, Kathy’s Korner has served up pies worth the drive for more than 30 years — and it’s still going strong; the restaurant’s team of pie bakers recently broke its record for the most pies baked in one month: 1,163.
Browse the pie board and it’s hard to choose between classics like lemon meringue and cherry or a twist on a favorite — the caramel apple walnut blends sweetness with crunch. Old-fashioned sugar is one of Rachel’s grandma’s specialties.
The Cornerstone Inn, Beverly
Owner Carolyn Plummer’s cooking philosophy is to make it like her mother did — which is only part of what makes The Cornerstone Inn feel like home. Mismatched dishes and place settings from customer donations also give a friends-and-family warmth to the restaurant’s cozy décor.
Located at one of Beverly’s crossroads, The Cornerstone is frequented by locals as well as travelers passing through southeastern Ohio. Here, Plummer serves up home-style menu offerings where pie is a crowd pleaser. Favorites like chocolate peanut butter pie with chocolate sauce drizzle bring repeat guests.
Tonya’s Country Kitchen, Marietta
When Tonya Pelphry opened Tonya’s Country Kitchen in downtown Marietta in 2015, she fulfilled a longtime dream of restaurant ownership. As soon as she saw the historic storefront, the pressed tin ceiling, and small hexagon-tiled floors, it was love at first sight.
The cheery décor of red-vinyl-and-chrome chairs that are a cross between country and throwback 1960s matches the menu. Thanks to Pelphry’s home-style cooking from breakfast to dinner, business is brisk — so brisk that Pelphry turned the pie duties over to Dawn Gutberlet. A slice of warmed blackberry or peach pie with a scoop of vanilla is large enough to share.