Pie Peddlers has the best pie in the Lone Star State.
While local residents and visitors to downtown Glen Rose have heralded the pie shop's coconut cream, strawberry rhubarb, buttermilk and others as the best for almost a decade, a popular Texas television program has made it official.
Beginning in the summer, Texas Country Reporter invited viewers to vote in an online poll to determine which were among the best eateries and attractions, and the winner of the Best Pie category was announced this past weekend on RFD-TV.
While the pie shop's proprietors, Rhonda Cagle and Jean Ford, were already thinking of the influx of business that will come with the holiday season, they were not prepared for the weekend announcement.
In fact the duo said Monday they had more or less forgotten about the contest at texascountryreporter.com until Cagle's parents, Windell and Jo Rozell, stopped by the pie shop Sunday. The Rozelles told the women, theirs took first place.
"Then we got 10 telephone call asking about our Sunday hours," Cagle said, adding the phone continued ringing and visitors came knocking on Monday as well.
Unfortunately pie aficionados were disappointed to find the peddlers were closed Monday, a day reserved for purchasing ingredients for the week.
Ron And Michelle Cook were in town for a retreat and said they learned about the shop from Texas Country Reporter and had to try a slice. While there was little to offer, the Cooks left with the remnants of Sunday's sales.
"Whatever else we do while we are in Glen Rose, it's not going to get any better than this," Michelle said.
"There is a group of people who trust (Texas Country Reporter host) Bob Phillips and know he does his homework," Cagle said. "They record the program, watch it later and just get in the car and go wherever he leads them."
An episode of Texas County Reporter featuring the downtown pie shop hit the airwaves sometime ago, and the already busy eatery experienced an immediate boom. A rerun of the Pie Peddlers episode caused another upsurge in business. Since the program originally aired, a guestbook has logged visitors from across Texas and others from places like Minnesota and Harvard, Mass.
"We got a call from a man In North Carolina wanting a strawberry rhubarb after he saw the program on RFV-TV," Cagle said. "He hadn't had one since his mother passed away."
Family memories and reminiscing about life's sweetest moments are what Ford and Cagle say the success of Pie Peddlers is all about.
"People come in happy when they want a piece of pie," Ford said.
"They are making a memory," Cagle added, saying families meet up at the pie shop and oftentimes share stories about their grandmother's recipe while enjoying their favorer flavor.
And with the recent accolades, the business partners spent some time Monday recalling memories of their own and the opening of Pie Peddlers in May 2003. The shop was opened after Cagle and Ford, good friends and teaching partners, retired from teaching kindergarten at Glen Rose Elementary.
"When we retired, we started talking about what we were going to do. Somehow, we came up with pie," Ford said. "As I was growing up, my mother taught me how to cook and the first thing she did was show me how to make pie. My dad had to have dessert with every meal. I never really became a good cook because I got stuck on desserts."
As they began to formulate a business plan, the ladies turned to another business owner, Brenda Ransom, who the women say was kind to allow them to put up a display case with eight pies inside her store, the Country Peddler.
"We decided to start small, just to see how it would go," Cagle said. "She didn't charge us any rent, and we had no idea if we would be able to sell pie."
After a few months, the partners offered to pay rent and as the popularity of the pies grew, so did the space inside Ransom's shop. Eventually the demand outgrew the space.
"Brenda was our incubator, we owe a lot to her," Cagle continued, adding Pie Peddler moved to its current location at 102 Walnut Street in December 2010. "Now, we're going to be celebrating our 10-year anniversary in May."
In light of their Texas Country Reporter success, the peddlers admit the competition was stiff. Their pies were pitted against the Koffee Kup Family Restaurant in Hico; Washington Street Bakery, Jake and Dorothy's Cafe in Stephenville; Blue Bonnet Cafe in Marble Falls and others.
But viewers of this weekend's program said Pie Peddlers won the contest by a wide margin, and a few comments on the online poll told what some people think of the prized recipes.
"The Pie Peddlers pie is amazing!" Jennifer Graves Wilder said. "I've had pie at the Blue Bonnet Cafe, Koffee Kup and Jake and Dorothy's and the Pie Peddlers have them beat. So amazing! And if you haven't had the buttermilk pie, you are missing out!"
"I consider myself somewhat of a pieaholic," Vocki O'Donald said. "I do not put Koffee Kup in the same league with Pie Peddler. Pie Peddler is by far the best pie I have ever tasted. Truly a slice of heaven. It is more than a two-hour drive for me and well worth it."
Pie Peddler is open Thursday-Sunday.