Pie in the Sky Pie Company

"We sold 60,000 pies from our original location in Conroe, and we hope to do more with our new Heights location," says Marlene Stubler, owner of the Pie in the Sky Pie Company (632 W. 19th St., 713-864-3301). "Years ago, before I opened my own place, I started baking and selling pies out of my parents' convenience store in Conroe. After that, we moved to the Heights, and next, we opened this location in what used to be an antiques store."

Pie in the Sky offers the best pies in the city — and more. "We serve a collection of things that I've developed over time, mainly soups, salads, wraps, sandwiches and burgers, and we always serve some nice fruit on the side," says Stubler. The place has a lot of character, with kids' drawings and paintings adorning the interior walls. There's a small but manageable number of tables. It seems as though word about the new place has already reached quite a few people, because not only is there a line out the door most days at lunch, but every table seems to have a piece of pie on it (with four adult entrées, you get a free slice of pie).

Stubler is not only the owner — she's also the chef and chief tester of new pies. "We've been working on a new pie, a sour cream and raisin, and it took them awhile to get it right. I kept sending them back for little tweaks, but when they got it, boy, did they get it! In fact, I had one customer recently tell another customer, who asked what pie he was eating, 'I think there's heroin in there.' It's that good," she says.

Dish enjoyed a lime cilantro chicken sandwich and a spinach salad with grilled chicken, but followed the menu's orders to "save room for pie." Going with the waitress's recommendation to try the bumbleberry pie proved to be a good decision. Wow, what a pie! Full of fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, it really brought to mind the handmade pies of yesteryear and quickly vanished.

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Paul Galvani