I’m a diehard pie guy. As executive director of the American Pie Council (yes, really) and spokesperson for Colorado-born National Pie Day, I’ve taught pie making, judged dozens of pie contests, and written about pie for decades. I always make a pie for our family’s Thanksgiving feasts—this year, blueberry is on the menu—but what I look forward to tasting the most are other baker’s creations, gathered during visits to my favorite local bakeries.
All along the Front Range, great independently owned bake shops stand ready to supply you with an array of traditional and inventive pies. However, this challenging year requires a different approach to keep everyone safe.
First, order your pies well in advance; each bakery has an ordering deadline and some limit the number of pies they bake. Second, take advantage of grab-and-go and curbside delivery to minimize your time spent in socially distanced lines.
Owners Connie Sharp and Jennifer Tom opened up shop in their Denver home kitchen this year, selling five-inch personal pies through a cottage foods license—but the flaky-crusted goodies have grown so popular that the couple had to expand their operation to a commercial kitchen. Flavors (all of which are available gluten-free) include salted caramel apple, butterscotch pumpkin, pear with chai glaze, cherry amaretto, and Black & Bluebarb (blackberry, blueberry, and rhubarb). Order by November 15; pick up at 5701 East. 8th Ave.; delivery is available within a 10-mile radius
Devil’s Food Bakery in Washington Park is offering nine-inch house-roasted pumpkin and double-crusted or crumb-topped apple pies. Other delicious treats available range from caramelized onion, ham, and cheddar quiches to an array of breads and pastries, including pumpkin kouign-amann (buttery layered pastries), six types of cookies, and almond croissants. Order by November 23; 1004 S. Gaylord St., Denver, 303-777-9555
The 26-year-old Lakewood mainstay has a menu of over 30 pies, which counts as the largest variety available in the Denver metro area. Choose from classic fillings such as pumpkin, pecan, caramel apple, cherry, and peach amaretto; or try more creative ones like Swiss chocolate mousse, New York cheesecake, and peanut butter topped with chocolate ganache. Order by November 18; 3333 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Ste. C-107, Lakewood, 303-986-6240
For Thanksgiving, owner-baker John Hinman is making nine- and five-inch pumpkin, cherry, blueberry, apple, toffee pecan, and salted maple pies. He also offers his excellent hand pies, filled with blueberry, apple, or cherry, in six packs, plus ready-to-bake pastry shells and savory chicken and vegetable and green chile pies. Order by November 23; 5604 Kendall Ct., Arvada, 303-287-3431 (select varieties also for sale at Leevers Locavore and the Farmers Market Larimer Square)
The Huckleberry has been a beloved stop in downtown Louisville for fresh-baked cakes, cookies, pastries, breads, and pies for 27 years. This Thanksgiving, the eatery will produce about 1,300 nine-inch pies, from peach huckleberry, cherry, apple crumble, pumpkin, and key lime to chocolate bourbon pecan. Vegan and gluten-free options are also available. Order by November 22; 700 Main St., Louisville, 303-666-8020
Katherine’s is whipping up a plethora of sweet Thanksgiving treats: Six-, eight-, and nine-inch tarts filled with baked fruit, pecan, and pumpkin, topped with whipped cream or pecan-cinnamon streusel; 12 types of quiches (try the spinach, mushroom, and caramelized onion); and fall-themed butter sable cookies. Croissants, petite fours, and cinnamon rolls are also available. Order by November 22; 728 S. University Blvd., 303-282-5888
Inside Boulder’s Lucky’s Market, pastry chef and co-founder Jennifer Bush and her crew craft stellar pumpkin pies with crunchy-spicy gingersnap streusel; salted maple pecan pies with chocolate chunks; and crumb-topped spiced apple iterations. While you’re there, add a pint of salted caramel, whiskey, or vanilla ice cream to your cart for à la mode needs. Order by November 21; 3990 Broadway, Boulder, 720-596-4905
The pastry pros at Mermaids Bakery may be known for their cupcakes in 40 different flavors, but they also make excellent nine-inch pies, including apple, cherry, pumpkin, pecan, key lime silk, lemon silk, and Buckeye (chocolate cream layered with peanut butter cups and whipped cream). Ten different types of cookies are also available. Order by November 20; 1543 Champa St., Denver, 303-534-0956
Owner Shamane Simons is preparing pumpkin, sweet potato bourbon chocolate pecan, sea salt caramel apple, and apple cranberry pies. Look for rotating special flavors such as sweet potato chocolate ginger, sea salt caramel apple crumble, and campfire chocolate mousse. Take-and-bake varieties and a tasting sampler of mini pies—pumpkin, pecan, and apple—are also available. Order by November 20; 2825 Wilderness Place, Ste. 800, Boulder, 303-417-9338
Known for its New Zealand-style hand pies, Tip Top is offering full-size versions for the holidays in two sweet flavors: pumpkin spice streusel and apple caramel crumb. Butter-crusted hand pie flavors include steak and mushroom, curry chicken, apple brown butter, tart cherry—and Thanksgiving, a wonder filled with turkey, gravy, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. Order by November 15; 105 N. Public Road, Lafayette, 720-845-2155
Since 1983, Dana Derischweiler’s pie-centric cafe had held to a tradition of only baking 100 pies each Thanksgiving, but the Boulder institution is making a much larger batch this year. The menu features pumpkin, pecan, maple walnut bacon, tart cherry, and chess, along with specialties such as German chocolate, banana pudding, and Shaker lemon. There’s no set deadline, but act quickly, as the pies typically sell out; 3073 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-447-2315
Wave the Grain in Centennial produces exclusively gluten-free breads and pastries, with dairy-free and vegan options thrown in for good measure. I recommend the pumpkin, sweet potato, coconut cream, triple berry, caramel apple, lemon meringue, and chocolate pecan pies. You can also pick up tasty pretzel roll-wrapped beef hot dogs, cinnamon rolls, and sourdough loaves while you’re there. Order by November 18; 8172 S. Holly St., Centennial, 303-721-7547