There may be some upstarts out there doing cool new things with pie, but there are more than a few restaurants and diners that have a proud, decades-long pie tradition. Here are a few of our favorites.
Carshon's Deli: Opened in 1928, this spot not far from TCU still bakes the must-have, most perfect chocolate meringue pie known to Fort Worth. Artisan Baking Co.'s Gwin Grimes says she has it for her birthday instead of cake. Go early, particularly on chocolate day (Wednesday and Saturday), or other days for coconut or the rare butterscotch meringue. 3133 Cleburne Road, Fort Worth, 817-923-1907; carshonsdeli.com.
Paris Coffee Shop: Now in its 85th year, this Fort Worth Hospital District institution has been ranked one of America's 10 Best Places for Pie by Bon Appetit, and has been featured on the Food Network's Duff Goldman-hosted Sugar High. Owner Mike Smith's selection changes daily, but the most coveted is the lemon meringue (Fridays only), egg custard (daily) or pecan (Thursdays in fall). A new favorite: sugar-free peach pie (Mondays). 704 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth, 817-335-2041; pariscoffeeshop.net.
Swiss Pastry Shop: This Vickery Boulevard hangout has gained fame in 40 years for its Black Forest cake, a flourless almond macaron whipped-cream cake, but its extensive breakfast menu includes buttermilk chess and lemon chess pies, as well as meringue, fruit, cream, mousse and pecan pies, whole or by the slice. 3936 W. Vickery Blvd., Fort Worth, 817-732-5661; www.swisspastryonline.com.
Theresa's Dixie House Cafe: This 30-year-old local chain's pies won a 2008 Star-Telegram taste-off. The Simon family's cafes in Fort Worth, Euless, River Oaks and Saginaw offer a choice of about 10 pies and six cakes daily, led by the coconut meringue pie, Hawaiian cream pie or chocolate-walnut cake. (It is considered perfectly appropriate to have Dutch apple pie for breakfast.) Multiple locations.
Norma's Cafe: The Bishop Arts District may be where its at in Oak Cliff right now, but just a little bit west you'll find this spot that opened in 1956, and the parking lot always seems to be packed. It prides itself on "Mile-High Cream Pies" that come in flavors such as chocolate, lemon or even peanut butter, and it has fruit and mini pies as well. This was Oak Cliff before Oak Cliff was hipster, but hipsters love it, too. 1123 W. Davis St., Dallas, 214-946-4711; www.normascafe.com. Also at 17721 North Dallas Parkway, No. 130, Dallas.
Mama's Daughters' Diner: Located on a modest stretch of Irving Boulevard in west Dallas, the original "Mama's" opened in 1958 and has remained a family business that has expanded to Irving, Plano, Lewisville and north Dallas. The original location is about as unpretentious as you can get, and is a good spot to have a slice of apple crumb or coconut meringue with a cup of coffee. 2014 Irving Blvd., Dallas, 214-742-8646; www.mamasdaughtersdiner.com.
Ranchman's Cafe: This Ponder steakhouse, which opened on Thanksgiving Day in 1948, may be known for its meat, but it has terrific pies using made-from-scratch recipes that Evelyn "Granny" Stack used at Ranchman's for nearly 35 years. Really, you have to have pecan pie at a place this Texan. And buttermilk. And apple ... 110 W. Bailey St., Ponder (about 35 miles north of downtown Fort Worth), 940-479-2221; www.ranchman.com. Reservations recommended.
Koffee Kup Family Restaurant: About 80 miles southwest of Fort Worth in Hico, this spot has been turning out sky-high meringue pies for nearly 50 years. The 12 flavors include not only the towering coconut meringue but also caramel meringue and peanut butter cream. It's the northern terminus of the "Great Texas Pieway," U.S. 281 south to similar pies at the Blue Bonnet Cafe in Marble Falls. 300 W. Second St., Hico, 254-796-4839; www.koffeekupfamilyrestaurant.com.