Eyes on the Pies

New blog to explore the upper crust of Michigan’s baked goods
Photograph by Carolyn Chin Watson

Editor’s Note: A group of Hour Media staffers often hang out in our lunchroom taste-testing the best local pies. So we decided to take advantage of their collective sweet tooth with a “Pie Blog.” Look for their findings on hourdetroit.com and—on special pie occasions (Thanksgiving perhaps?)—in the pages of Hour Detroit. Enjoy!

Not much says “the Mitten” more than a warm pie that mixes Northern Michigan cherries with Vernors ginger ale. Created by the Grand Traverse Pie Company, this seasonal Vernors Cherry pie stands out with its slight hint of carbonated fizz and smooth, refreshing ginger flavor.

On a hot summer morning, members of Hour Media’s pie club met at the Michigan-based franchise’s Rochester Hills location for a first bite of this specialty fusion pie.

With piqued interest at the slightest scent of berries and cream, brown sugary crumb topping, or flaky and fresh just-out-of-the-oven crust, we consider ourselves “pie-curious” enthusiasts.

Since forming the group last Christmas holiday season, the three founding members have already enjoyed more than 25 unique local pies.

Why pies?

While cake is usually served during a celebration, pie has no such limitations. It’s an everyday, accessible dessert that hugs you deep in your soul.

Plus, it’s fruit so it’s healthy, right?

The act of eating has, since the beginning of time, brought humans together for companionship, camaraderie, and a chance to discuss the highs and lows of one’s day.

Sharing a sweet treat can lighten the stressors of everyday life.

Mike Busley, the co-founder and owner of the Grand Traverse Pie. Co, emphasizes the importance of deepening relationships, not only with the members of his staff but also with the communities he serves. Part of the company’s purpose is to create a place where people can connect over pie — or take the experience home.

We couldn’t agree more.

As we recollect some of our favorite pies, another Grand Traverse offering by the name of Cherry Ganache takes the top honor. Served warm, this cherry pie’s chocolaty top is melt-in-your-mouth gooey. It was a game-changer. Even the members not favoring fruit pies were sold on this gem.

Grand Traverse’s chocolate stout fusion pie, tapping on flavor from Right Brain Brewery’s CEO Stout (another Michigan product), was a Father’s Day delight.

Not to let Grand Traverse hog the spotlight this time out, we also find that Achatz Handmade Pie Co.’s four-berry crumb top stands out as a triumphantly classic fruit pie. Mixing cherries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries seems simple—yet this pie was far from it. We’re sure you’ll be hearing more about Achatz’s offerings in a future blog.

We’re excited to tap into Detroit’s thriving food scene. We have a fully loaded plate to explore — and inches of waistline to gain.

Let us lead you into temptation. Join us for more “Pie-Curious” adventures online at hourdetroit.com.

P.S. The Grand Traverse Pie Company’s Vernors Cherry pie will be available in stores until Sept. 11. A bird has tweeted in our ear that we should be on the lookout for a fall-themed “sweet” soufflé. Visit gtpie.com for locations.