Monday, April 8, 2013

Best Pies in Utah / Best Key Lime Pies in Utah

Best Pies in Utah
(below that, AT BOTTOM OF PAGE, is Best Key Lime Pies in Utah)

- revised 3 August 2015

Check out our Best Peach Cobbler in Utah, Best Desserts in Utah, Best Ice Cream in Utah, and OTHER FOOD REVIEWS at 

The best ever were at the Coffee Cup Cafe in Ruskin, Florida, from 1917-1997 (with regular Tampa Tribune newspaper write-ups and people coming from all over the state to eat there). Nothing else we've had comes close except those listed below:

THE FIRST LIST below are Pies that are regularly available. The SECOND LIST are those that are only served on occasion at some restaurants:

FIRST LIST - Those you can buy anytime
The 12 solid A's:
1. strawberry cream - Rhonda's pies, American Fork
(opened April 2013 off Main St.) A
2. ginger-peach - Shabu's, Park City (Main Street) A-
3. banana cream - Rhonda's pies, American Fork A-
4. mixed berry with raspberry sauce (most eat this pie same day as made!) - Windy Ridge Bakery, Park City. A
NOTE: Wild Mustang, below, is now closed: however, the same pies are at Crenshaw's in St. George!
5. banana cream - Wild Mustang, Orem / (same as: Crenshaw's, St. George: A-
6. coconut cream - Wild Mustang, A-
7. sour cream apple - Wild Mustang, A-
8. sour cream blueberry - Rhonda's. A-
9. German chocolate pie - Wild Mustang (NOT their chocolate cream pie): A-
(note: the rest of Wild Mustang's pies are Bs and C's - good and fair).
10. NO LONGER MADE: cream cheese apple - apparently retired now at Village Inn (it used to be avail. only Nov-Dec) (the rest of Village Inn's pies are horrible): A- for this one pie.
11. NO LONGER MADE: pecan - Pat's BBQ, Salt Lake City: A-
12. chocolate pecan - Harvest Restaurant - Thanksgiving Point: A-

The 14 B's and B+/A- grades:
a. sour cream lemon - Rhonda's Pies, American Fork - B+
b. very berry - B+ Rhonda's Pies, A.F.
c. very berry - B+ Wild Mustang, Orem
d.  apple - B+ Wild Mustang, Orem
e. apple - B/B+ Rhonda's, A.F.
f. double cream lemon - Marie Calendar: B- (it replaces their good, former sour cream lemon; but this one is not NEARLY as good. Note that all the rest of their pies rated mediocre at best)
g. lemon tart (really a pie) - B+ Red Butte Cafe, SLC (CHECK OUT THEIR FANTASTIC CAKES AT OUR SITE, "BEST DESSERTS IN UTAH."
h. coconut cream - B+ Rhonda's Pies, AF
i. blueberry, layered B+/A- Wild Mustang 
j. raspberry chocolate with cake B+ Village Inn
k. sour cream lemon B+/A- Rhonda's Pies (compared to D+/C- at Wild Mustang) and D/D+ at Village Inn, too sweet and artificial)
l. mixed berry B/B+ Wild Mustang (compared to B at Rhonda's Pies and B- at Village Inn)
m.  berry top, cream and cake layers B/B+ Village Inn
n. blueberry, layered pie B+/A-

SECOND LIST of REGULAR PIES - MORE A'S - Those you can buy only occasionally
These pies are AVAILABLE A COUPLE DAYS ONLY when they have them.  So, CALL AND ASK THESE PLACES before going!  The first two are solid A's:
1. Peanut Butter Pie: Communal, Provo. A-. (This is a mousse-ice cream combo.)
2. Coconut Cream Pie: Communal, Provo: B++ (A on the crust and A+ on the whipped cream, but B on the filling)

Note: Other pies from Rhonda's rate "good" (B's), with only a couple fairs (C's). It's a fantastic place to check out! (Their breakfast quiche's are especially good with the sausage gravy! And their beef pie beats out all we've had in England and the States. Be forewarned the gravy/sauce inside is very mild, not as strong as some. The crust is unusually soft for a meat pie and terrific.)

Rhonda's Pies and Wild Mustang (which is Crenshaw Pies of St. George) are by far not only the best places in the state for a variety of good pies but are the best in several states we have found. We test pies everywhere we find them in our travels. These two leave Marie Calendar's and Village Inn in the dust. The ones listed above are by far their best offerings.
Note that we've tested all the pies at Rhonda's, Wild Mustang, Marie Calendar, and Village Inn. So, the "best pies" above is a comprehensive test.
Historical note: The peanut butter pie and key lime pie at Soul and Bones, Ogden, were both best in the state for those flavors; but it's now out of business.

Laid out in a different format, these pie places are presented again below:

* Rhonda's Pies, American Fork 
a. Fresh Strawberry A
b. Cherry cream cheese A-/A (compared to Wild Mustang's cherry B/B+ and Village Inn's cherry B-/B)
c. Chocolate pecan A-
d. Banana cream (artificial flavor but still great) A- (compared to Wild Mustang's natural but weak flavor: B and Village Inn's pudding-like texture but nice flavor B/B+)
e. coconut cream. B+
f. strawberry cream. A
g. sour cream blueberry. A
h. pecan B/B+
i. key lime D+ (in 2013, next time C+/B-, and perhaps has improved since) (compared to Wild Mustang's lemon merange D and Village Inn's lemon merange C-)
j. banana (artificial flavor in 2013) B
k. coconut cream C+/B- (another time B+) (compared to Wild Mustang's coconut cream A-, Wild Mustang's coconut merange B+, and Viillage Inn's coconut cream with puddling-like texture C++/B-)
l. peanut butter B/B+ (compared to Village Inn's too-sweet chocolate peanut butter C-)
m. apple B+
n. pumpkin B/B+
o. peach, first C, then later B+ (compared to Wild Mustang's B, and Village Inn's B-, and Maddox's A)
p. chocolate C+/B- (compared to Wild Mustang's B++ and Village Inn's B- that is too sweet)
q. german chocolate cream with coconut B+ (compared to Wild Mustang's A, and Village Inn's similar caramel chocolate pecan that is too sweet B/B+)
r. cookies and cream B/B+
s. s'mores C+/B-
t. raspberry cheesecake C+
u. pecan B/B+ (compared to Village Inn's B-/B)
v. lemon cream C+
w. cherry B+
x. pear ("paradise pie") C
y. caramel apple C-/C
z. mixed berry B+
aa. sour cream lemon B+

Wild Mustang, Orem
(pies originate from Croshaw's Pies, St. George)
a. Coconut Cream pie. A- 
b. Coconut merange B+
c. Banana Cream pie. B
d. German Chocolate cream pie. A
e. Strawberry pie - seasonal. A- JUNE IS UTAH'S STRAWBERRY MONTH
f. Sour  cream apple. A-
g. lemon merange D
h. peach B
i. chocolate B++
j. cherry B/B+

Village Inn, multiple locations
a. lemon merangue C
b. pecan B-/B
c.banana cream (pudding like texture - a drawback) B/B+
d. coconut cream (pudding-like) C++/B- 
e. chocolate peanut butter (too sweet) C-
f. peach B-
g. chocolate cream (too sweet) B
h. caramel chocolate pecan (somewhat like german chocolate) B/B+
i. cherry B-/B
j. cream cheese apple - apparently retired now at Village Inn (it used to be avail. only Nov-Dec) (the rest of Village Inn's pies are horrible): A- for this one pie.

Shabu's, Park City

a. Ginger-peach pie A-Windy Ridge Bakery, Park City.
a. mixed berry with raspberry sauce (most eat this pie same day as made!) -  A

Best Key Lime pies in Utah
rev. 2 March 2015
A category of its own. If you love this flavor, it's at the top of the dessert list, and it is the favorite dessert in the history of the world for some of us. Even in south Florida (the editor's old stomping grounds), where it was invented, restaurants make it all different ways and in varying degrees of quality (and not all there are good!). The best in Utah are below. Note that 8 of these 10 were tested side by side against each other. Only #7 and 8 were tested against a few on the list, in a separate test.

      #1. Costa Vida Provo location only. Their cook makes it differently than other Costa Vida locations.). A
    2. Cost Vida (downtown Salt Lake City makes it for their other Salt Lake City locations, also has best crust) A -
3. Cheesecake factory, Midvale B++
3 (tie) Red Lobster (they used to buy it from Cheesecake Factory and likely still do). B++
5. Windy Ridge Cafe (and Windy Ridge Bakery), Park City. B+
6. 350 Main Restaurant, Park City. B+ (strong cheesecake flavor) B+
7. Market Street Grill, South Jordan and SLC. B
8. Joe's Crabshack, Sandy (thick, heavy filling) B
9. Slate, Provo (tart with C grade graham crust) B-/B (NOT TESTED SIDE BY SIDE AS ALL OTHERS ON THIS LIST WERE)
10. Cafe Rio (stronger condensed milk flavor than the others, 2nd best crust) C+/B-
11. Costco (bakery section, whole pies) C+/B-
12. Rumbi Island Grill C-
13. Whole Foods Market. C-.

For the graham crust typically used for key lime pie, the following 4 were the winners:
1. Windy Ridge Cafe, Park City
2. Costa Vida, SLC
3. Cosa Vida, Provo
4. Red Lobster/Cheesecake Factory (same baker)

Cheesecake - another category of its own: (the favorite of others of us) 
Black Sheep, Provo A- (Note: with the former chef leaving in mid 2013, it may not be as good anymore.

Best frozen cheesecake in a store: Jon Donaire at Emigration Market at 1700 E. 1300 S., SLC

(Historical note: Spark in Provo was the best, but out of business in June 2013)

chocolate cheesecake
A. Cheesecake Factory's "Godiva Cheesecake", national chain downtown SLC and Midvale
b. whole foods market, SLC, choc cheesecake alone C-, with their whipped cream B+

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