In Search of Pie: Coffee Cup Cafe and More

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A slice of peach and a slice of blackberry pie at Coffee Cup Cafe in Sully, IA

Whenever I travel I brake for pie. When I travel in Iowa I make a special effort to seek out pie. Before I left I found an on-line feature by Michaela Kendall, “10 Places in Iowa Where You Can Get the Most Mouth-Watering Pie.” (February 21, 2016) I looked these restaurants up on Google maps to see if I’d be going near on my road trip. Alas, only one was close enough to ask my cousins to go with me to try the pie.

The Coffee Cup Cafe in Sully, Iowa is somewhere my cousins know well. We made it part of my tour of Pella and surrounding countryside. We had to work up an appetite for lunch before we got to Sully. I learned a lot about the Vermeer tractor manufacturer, and Goalsetter basketball hoops. It was great also to see the golf course where my cousin Jerry plays and the reservoir where the Army Corps is retrofitting hydroelectric power. (With wind power, Iowa is getting very green!) .

IMG_8632Then we arrived for pie in Sully. Sully has another claim to fame: a Freedom Rock by Ray “Bubba” Sorensen II. The artist is creating a rock painting to honor veterans in each of Iowa’s 99 counties.

The Coffee Cup Cafe had a group of Vermeer employees arrive for pie just before we walked in. These hungry gentlemen almost wiped out the white board of pies available. We quickly ordered pie, whew! We enjoyed our lunch and pie and continued on our way.

Cousins also recommended that we try the Menlo Cafe in Menlo, IA. It is a cafe owned by the city and leased to a caterer so the town will always have a breakfast and lunch place for people to gather. Fortunately, the caterers also bake good pie. Tevis and I tried their breakfast buffet and I ordered a slice of rhubarb pie. It was excellent and the waitress complemented me on my breakfast choice of pie.

RAGBRAI is going to roll through Menlo and Stuart in a couple of weeks. I highly recommend you try the pie at Menlo Cafe. My cousin Kathy bakes a terrific pie and she lives in Dexter/Stuart. I thought for sure she’d be baking for a pie fundraiser for her Catholic church when RAGBRAI rolled through. Too bad for the cyclists, the church as decided to bake and sell cookies. Lucky for me, she brought a gooseberry pie and her famous black raspberry pie and I got to try a small slice of each at our family reunion.

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Saving the best for last! Kathy’s black raspberry pie and gooseberry pie.

I Brake for Pie!

I just finished a 5 mile hike and was driving away from the State park, when I spied this sign across the highway from Humboldt Lagoons State Park:

PIe and coffee--it is a siren song!
PIe and coffee–it is a siren song!

My car was running on fumes and I needed to find gas within 15 miles, so I thought “Why not check this place (pie) out and ask about the closest gas station?” The Elk Valley RV Park and Campground turns out to be a happy place. The people who manage it were organizing a New Years lunch with salmon pate and bouillabaisse. Woowhee. A step up from hot dogs and beans.

The blackberry pie was just coming out of the oven, so I decided to go put some gas in my Passat up the road in Orick and come back for a slice of pie.

Got Gas? Nope. Please sell me some Betty.
Got Gas? Nope. Please sell me some Betty.

The spot in the road that is Orick is just 5 miles down the road and one of those places time forgot. Betty sold me $20 worth of gas and I used one of the oldest gas pumps I have seen in awhile!

Gas pump circa?

I went back to the Elk Valley RV Park and finally got my piece of pie to go. When I got back to Radar at the rental I took my first bite. Oh my!  The pie crust was flaky and the filling was sweet, sour, and berry good.

Pie worth waiting for!

I learned a couple of things while I was hanging out waiting for pie. There is a local wild elk herd of about 60 cows that roams through the campground about once a day. I saw them from the highway about 8 miles north of Trinidad on my way back!  And I thought someone told me there is a rock band called “There will be pie later.” When I tried to google it other pies came up: Humble Pie and a Russian band called Apple Pie. And then there is the classic Don McClean “American Pie”. (I may have to make a pie themed mixed CD.) I could not discover the Pie Later band, so if you know it please share. Apparently after their concerts spontaneous pie potlucks happen.

Remember if you are following me on the highway, I brake for pie!