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.

Falling Under Pella’s Charm Spell

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Pella, Iowa is a charming town built around a square, as many communities in #MiddleAmerica are, with architectural distinctions from its Dutch founding families. There is a historic portion of town where the buildings are preserved as they might have been in the 1800s. I focused on the more modern parts of town during “Thursday Night on the Square.”

This particular Thursday had an agricultural theme with Vermeer tractors, NRCS soil health booth, and the Iowa Corn trailer explaining the many wonders and uses of corn. There are also a number of fun stores to browse (including a quilt shop), but a must is Jaarsma Bakery where I tried the Dutch Letters for the first time. The only letters are an “S” and they are a light flaky pastry around an almond filling similar to that used in bear claws. It was delicious.

My cousin Lori lives in Pella, but because the other six siblings and families live closer to Stuart and Des Moines, she’s always been the one to drive to our gatherings. I decided on this trip to satisfy my curiosity about Pella. It is famous as a Dutch town with a tulip festival. It is a sister city to Holland, MI (where I visited in May). It is also the headquarters of the window manufacturer. It is a prosperous and friendly community. It is definitely worth the drive, even if you don’t have a cousin to visit.