Celebrate Pi Day By Eating A Few Of LA's Best Pies
This article was originally published ahead of Pi Day 2019 and has been updated throughout with new information on locations and, sadly, a number of closures. Please let us know if you spot something that still needs updating. Happy Pi (Eating) Day to all!
It's time for the flakiest, crustiest food holiday of the year: Pi Day.
In 1988, physicist Larry Shaw decided to honor the endless mathematical constant. Since then, mathematicians have celebrated π, which rounds to 3.14, on March 14, a date that also happens to be Albert Einstein's birthday. For everyone who's not a mathematician, it's a(nother) excuse to eat pie.
A myriad of Los Angeles pie purveyors are ready to sate your sweet tooth. We've divided them into four categories:
As for savory pies, you'll have to wait for a separate roundup. Research, people. Research.
27th Street Bakery
This 63-year-old bakery, owned by the third generation of the same family, is best known for its sweet potato pies, which they make in a regular and a sugar-free version. They also make a mean pecan pie. Can't decide? You're in luck. 27th Street Bakery makes a sweet potato pecan pie. You also won't go wrong with their pumpkin pie and their peach cobbler. Everything comes in both full-size and miniature pies.
- 2700 S. Central Ave., south of downtown L.A. 323-233-3469.
In 2019, the West L.A. treasure, which opened in 1947, was quietly sold. Fortunately, the new owners — entertainment mogul Irving Azoff and his wife, Shelli— vowed to keep the counter-service spot the same. That means Apple Pan regulars can rest assured that nothing about their beloved banana cream pie will change. Along with the apple, pecan and other cream pies, it'll hopefully stay on the menu for another 70 years.
- 10801 Pico Blvd., West LA. 310-475-3585
Every morning after Cole's bakes its bread, roasts bones for its au jus and pickles its veggies, their cooks roll out the pie crusts and fill them with the necessary ingredients to make banana cream, chocolate cream and seasonal fruit pie. Our favorite is the stunning bourbon pecan pie.
- 118 E. 6th St., downtown L.A. 213-622-4090.
Four 'n 20 [Closed]
Since we first published this list in 2019, Four 'n 20 closed its doors during the pandemic after more than 40 hours serving terrific pies. The restaurant opened in 1969 as a pie shop, which is probably why it had nearly 30 pies on the menu every day. We will miss the seasonal strawberry and peach pies and especially their banana fudge pie.
4723 Laurel Canyon Blvd., North Hollywood. 818-761-5128 5530 Van Nuys Blvd., Sherman Oaks. 818-988-1152.
The first Du-par's was founded in 1938 at the Los Angeles Farmers Market. There's now a second location in Pasadena. At both, they serve reliable diner eats and a variety of pies including their two signatures, green apple and southern pecan. Be sure to ask your server about the pie of the month. [Note: the Pasadena location was another victim of the pandemic.]
- 6333 W. 3rd St., Beverly Grove. 323-933-8446
214 S. Lake Ave., Pasadena. 626-405-8820
House of Pies
House of Pies marked half a century of success in 2019 and continues to produce fresh pies, seven days a week, in the heart of Hipsterville. Fruit pies, cream pies, specialty pies — they do it all. And many slices of pie still cost less than $5.
- 1869 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz. 323-666-9961.
The Original Pantry Cafe
One of the last bastions of 24-hour dining in Los Angeles, the Pantry, is so old school it only takes cash. It's also the kind of joint where the servers have worked there for decades. If you're there before or after any major sporting event in downtown, or on a busy weekend, it's worth the wait in line for their amazing apple pie à la mode.
- 877 S. Figueroa St., downtown L.A. 213-972-9279.
Philippe The Original
After you've scarfed down Philippe's famous French dip, treat yourself to one of the fruit or cream pies. They have apple, peach, coconut cream, lemon meringue and others, and they're all made by Martino's Bakery in Burbank and delivered daily. The heaping portions are perfect to share.
- 1001 N. Alameda, downtown L.A. 213-628-3781
Pie and A Meal
Baby Blues BBQ
Baby Blues BBQ is the brainchild of two Southerners who moved west and found themselves missing barbecue. After some smoked chicken, beef links, baby back ribs and pulled pork, the hardest decision you'll have make is whether to order a slice of the buttermilk pie or the key lime. [Note: The Echo Park location closed in April 2021.]
- 444 Lincoln Blvd., Venice. 310-396-7675
1901 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park. 213-529-4062.
Open since 1949, the Brite Spot recently got a new owner who spiffed up its midcentury interior. Choosing between the whiskey buttermilk, bourbon pecan and chocolate peanut butter cream pies is hard. Throw in the salted honey pie with a brown custard core that oozes like honey onto the plate and it's damn near impossible. [Note: Closed on Mondays.]
- 1918 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park. 213-674-7780.
Cassell's makes a great burger and its old school vibe is so charming, you might get hypnotized by the shiny, spinning pie case. It often contains banana, apple, chessman and even vegan peanut butter pie. Maybe they're worth $9.50 for a slice à la mode.
- 3600 W. 6th St., Koreatown. 213-387-5502
- 421 W. 8th St., downtown Los Angeles. (213) 372-5601
- LAX Airport, Terminal 1
- Inside the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, Indian Wells. (760) 200-8400
This Googie diner has been operating since 1948 but underwent a revamp — of both its interior and its menu — in 2016. Before you get to dessert, start with the creamy shrimp and grits, the smoked brisket Rueben or the burger topped with smoky cheddar and housemade candied jalapeño. Now, you're ready for one of pastry chef Gian Trinidad's pies. Cindy's offers approximately nine pies each day. The southern lemon custard pie comes on a saltine crust, a throwback to post-WWII rationing, and the derby pie might be the best chocolate bourbon pecan concoction you ever try.
- 1500 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock. 323-257-7375
Gjusta, the cafe and bakery spinoff of nearby Gjelina, sources almost all of its produce from SoCal farmers, making this the place to order a slice of fruit pie. Some of their best flavors include strawberry rhubarb, apple, blueberry chess and banana cream. Located at the end of a row of industrial buildings in a residential neighborhood, you enter enter through an unmarked screen door. Inside the sprawling, warehouse-like space, you'll find soups, salads, sandwiches, smoothies, freshly baked breads and pastries. It's part bakery, part deli, part adventure.
- 320 Sunset Ave., Venice. 310-314-0320
Gus's Fried Chicken
Gus's Fried Chicken is famous, and rightly so, for its namesake dish but be sure to save room for a slice of chess pie, a midwest and southern staple that's hard to find in SoCal. Made with the most basic ingredients -- butter, sugar, flour, vanilla and eggs -- it tastes like a million bucks. Other pie options include pecan, chocolate, sweet potato and coconut.
- 1262 Crenshaw Blvd., Crenshaw. 323-402-0232
- 509 S. Glenoaks Blvd, Burbank. 747-231-3990
- 2580 Long Beach Blv, Long Beach. (562) 276-1819
Boasting they'll "put a little south in your mouth," this roadhouse-esque diner offers several classic pies. We recommend the fried apple pie. Johnny Rebs puts its spin on the classic pie by transforming it into a personal-size calzone. The self-contained creation features apples in a deep-fried biscuit crust that's smothered in vanilla ice cream then dusted with cinnamon and sugar. [Note: Only the Long Beach location remains open.]
- 4663 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach. 562-423-7327
2940 E. Chapman Ave., Orange. 714-633-3369 16639 Bellflower Blvd., Bellflower. 562-866-6455
Jones is best known as a WeHo nightspot with classic cocktails, dim lighting and a throwback vibe but don't ignore its "Apple Pie for Two." For $11, you get a sizzling platter with a large slice of pie drizzled with brown sugar sauce and topped with a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream. There are five other dessert items on the menu; they don't matter.
- 7205 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. 323-850-1726.
Odys + Penelope [Closed]
When it was still open, there was only one piece of pie on the dessert menu. It was so special, we gave it a shout out when this list first published in 2019. It was no ordinary chocolate pie. Odys + Penelope added rye and a bit of caramel to the pie's fudgy filling then topped it with a cocoa crumble and served it with a scoop of fresh-mint ice cream.
127 S. La Brea Ave., Beverly Grove. 323-939-1033.
Pie n' Burger
What its name promises, its menu delivers. This small joint with an old school counter has been around since 1963, serving the basics. Those include Dutch apple, rhubarb, butterscotch meringue and, for part of the summer, olallieberry, along with many other pies. Pro Tip: An adult can order any kid's meal at Pie n' Burger for a $1.50 upcharge. Smaller main courses mean more room for dessert!
- 913 E. California Blvd., Pasadena. 626-795-1123
The name Polly was chosen, in part, because the front doors of their first restaurant had handles shaped like the letter "P." Also, the newborn daughter of the restaurant's first manager was named Polly. Thus, in 1968, the first Polly's opened, paving the way for the family-owned business to expand. The banberry pie, a combo of banana and strawberry, is a customer favorite. So is the tangy rhubarb. Ready for the plot twist? It's only $1.99 to turn any pie to a "pie shake," which is exactly what it sounds like — a milkshake with a piece of pie blended in.
- Polly's has 14 locations in Southern California
Sweet Lady Jane
Jane Lockhart began her business by baking desserts at home and selling them to local restaurants. Her reputation grew and she opened her first bakery in 1988. With three locales in SoCal and national recognition, Sweet Lady Jane is now a full cafe with apple, blueberry, cherry or mixed berry pies available on their dessert menu. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you can also enjoy breakfast pastries, soups, salads and sandwiches.
- Sweet Lady Jane now as six locations around Southern California
Launched more than 25 years ago as an organic, heirloom coffee company, Urth Caffe appeals to... well, earthy types. The health-conscious chain prides itself on sourcing local, sustainable and, whenever possible, organic ingredients. That's also true for its pies, which come in flavors like pecan, pumpkin, apple and banana cream.
- Urth has nine locations in L.A. and Orange counties.
Atticus Creamery & Pies [Closed]
Atticus was known for two things. They made pies in unusual flavors like lemon lavender, strawberry pistachio and Nutella Reese's peanut butter chocolate. They also made cheesecake pies — a flaky pie crust with cheesecake on the bottom, pie filling in the middle and fluffy whipped cream on top. All of the pies were smallish, four inches, so you didn't have to limit yourself to one. [Note: Atticus closed in the spring of 2021. A note on the website calls the closure temporary and their Instagram account last said they hoped to find another location.]
10893 Pico Blvd., West L.A. 310-474-7464.
With flavors like triple berry cabernet, maple espresso bourbon sweet potato and espresso butterscotch pecan, this little Eagle Rock shop has won many awards. Knowrealitypie will be open this Pi Day, Monday, March 14, from 3:14 p.m. to 6:28 p.m. or until pies on hand sell out. [Note: Pre-orders for Pi Day already are filled and they recommend placing all whole pie orders two weeks in advance.]
- 5106 Townsend Ave., Eagle Rock. 916-799-5772.
The Pie Bar
Typically, you can pop in to the Pie Bar to grab a cutie pie jar (Mexican chocolate, anyone?), order a whole pie, like cherry amaretto, or stick around to enjoy a flight of pie shot. On this pie day, instead of being closed like most Mondays the shop is offering $3.14 slices of its famous Key Lime Pie until it sells out, of course. And one very lucky customer will win free pie for the year.
- 450 Pine Ave., Long Beach. 562-444-8743.
The Pie Hole
"Pie hole" isn't just slang for your mouth, this local chain actually serves pie holes. Think donut holes but, ya know, pie. You can get them in a myriad of flavors including raspberry cream cheese and strawberry lavender. The unique menu doesn't end there. The Pie Hole is also home to the famous "cereal killer" pie made with Fruity Pebbles and Frosted Flakes.
- The Pie Hole has six locations in Southern California.
Republic of Pie
In this quirky spot you'll find a pie menu that pairs well with teas, coffees and sandwiches. Among the traditional choices at Republic of Pie are less common variations like Earl Grey cream, espresso chocolate cream and marionberry.
- 11118 W. Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood. 818-308-7990.
Cake Monkey's pies are no joke. Many consider them among the best in the city, in part because of the crisp buttery crust on their brown butter pecan and chocolate cake pudding pies or the double cheddar crust on their cider roasted apple and blueberry lemon frangipane pies. Consider getting a "Cider Roasted Apple pie," which they tout as being the L.A. Times' pick.
- 7807 Beverly Blvd., Beverly Grove. 323-932-1142
- 10844 Chandler Boulevard, North Hollywood. 818-508-9579 (pick-ups only)
Cobblers Cakes and Kream
Their chief baker, Pam the Cobbler Lady, makes a mouthwatering array of desserts, including three kinds of Southern-style pies: pecan, key lime and sweet potato, which you can get with a side of Fosselman's ice cream.
- 2323 W. Manchester Blvd., Inglewood. 323-455-1224.
Hotcakes Bakes is known for its cupcakes, with more than 20 kinds on the menu. Don't overlook their pies. Currently they list apple, cherry and peach on the menu.
- 4119 S. Centinela Ave., Culver City. 310-397-2324.
New York-based Magnolia Bakery, famous for its cupcakes and banana pudding, opened its Los Angeles location in 2011. In 2019, we recommended their blueberry, apple, peach and pecan pies for delicious buttery crusts. Their website currently doesn't list pies (although there re some delicious looking mini-cheesecakes._
- 8389 W. 3rd St., Beverly Grove. 323-951-0636.
Since opening her Los Angeles outpost of Milk Bar in the fall of 2018, Christina Tosi has been wowing fans with her crack pie, a variation on a chess pie. The story goes that she was trying to make a chess pie and messed it up but liked it so much, she kept making it that way. The bakery is also known for its whimsical desserts, like its chocolate malt cake, its confetti cake and its cake truffles.
- 7150 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood. 347-577-9504.
Southern Girl Desserts
As the name implies, the sweet potato and pecan pies from Southern Girl Desserts aim to transport you to the South. If you stop in on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday, you can also get a slice of lemon icebox pie. Additional flavors pop up spontaneously. Go at the right time and you might spot Magic Johnson, Denzel Washington or Misty Copeland, who are all fans of these Southern dessert divas. [Note: Closed Mondays.]
- 650 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Suite 100, Crenshaw. 323-293-2253.
- 9950 S. Laurel St. Freedom Plaza, Los Angeles
Winston makes five to ten pies each day in flavors like cranberry chess, dixie cherry and blue ridge blueberry. You can get them in multiple sizes or as a single slice. For Pi Day 2022, they're reopening reservations for pies in the morning and are opening their Brentwood and West 3rd St. locations.
- 8366 W. Third St., Beverly Grove. 323-925-4743
- 11678 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood. 310-207-5743
- 1705 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica. 310-974-4743