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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

By the pie: good stuff in central Indiana

Posted By on 05.23.12 at 07:17 AM

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  • Gabriel Amadeus
Last summer, somewhere in the middle of rural Utah, my road trip companion and I stopped into a small corner diner that advertised "homemade pie" among the usual breakfast plates and burgers. There are at least two types of magical thinking I can’t not succumb to when traveling. The first is the illusion that it’s ever a good idea to take Amtrak. The second is that diner pie, that platonic ideal, actually exists in some delicious form.

Amtrak is an unrelenting mess. And the Utah pie incident—I only made it through one bite—was like every other similar experience I'd had until then: gloppy filling, crust out of a box. I’d never had good roadside pie.

Until now.

We were recently heading back toward Chicago from Louisville, Kentucky, which lovely little city I wrote about in last week’s Summer Guide, and stopped for lunch into Gray Brothers Cafeteria. It was just a ways outside of Indianapolis. Lunch—a mountain of fried chicken, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, green beans—was just fine. The fact of the line of people behind us militated against taking too long to dawdle over the choices of pie available—there were lots—so, a bit hastily, we grabbed two: chocolate meringue and rhubarb. The first, with its pudding filling, was fine, but the second was a wonderful surprise—sweet, tart, a tribute to the form. The crust on both pies appeared suspiciously to have been made from scratch, and the rhubarb filling sure tasted that way too.

This was it! This was the answer: the good pie is located in Mooresville, Indiana, just southwest of Indianapolis.

NB: The Norske Nook, in Osseo, Wisconsin (etc), ain't too bad in the pie department either. Also, lefse.

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