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The one well-known savory pie from coast to coast is chicken pot pie, which includes gravy, peas, and carrots. A more obscure cousin is called simply chicken pie – nothing but warm, moist chicken in a crust. Vegetable-free chicken pie is unknown outside southern New England, where it once was common for farm wives to sell it from their back porch. It remains a specialty of a few diners and some bake shops.
Also found in neighborhoods up and down the East Coast are pie places with roots in the British Isles, serving the likes of steak and kidney pie at Savannah’s Pie Society and chorizo pies and salmon pies at Hartley’s Original Pork Pies of Fall River, Massachusetts.
The Midwest has an abundance of single-serving, fully enclosed pastries with crust that makes them fit the definition of savory pie: Cornish pasties in Michigan’s Upper peninsula; bierocks, runzas, cabbage pockets, and “cabbage burgers” in Nebraska and the Plains.
Tomato pie means different things in different parts of the country, and while some do verge on sweetness (the tomato technically is a fruit), the ones you find in the South are a savory pastry cup filled with tomatoes and spice, customarily eaten as a side dish for plate lunch. Throughout much of the northeast, “tomato pie” means something else altogether: a virtual synonym for pizza, dating back to pizza’s early days when in fact many such pies were little more than crushed tomatoes and seasoning spread across a flatbread crust. It is still common to call a pizza a pizza pie.
Most pie-focused places focus on either sweet or savory pies, but a few destination-worthy restaurants make both. In particular we’re thinking of crawfish pie and S’mores pie at Elsie’s Pie and Plate in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and chicken-mushroom pot pie and Tahitian cream pie at A Slice of Pie in Rolla, Missouri.
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