Betty’s Pies serves things other than pies – a whole menu of meals including walleye sandwiches, hamburgers of all kinds, wraps, and salads – but the few non-pie items we’ve tasted haven’t been compelling. We do appreciate Betty’s pasty (or, as spelled here, pastie), an authentic combo of beef chunks, rutabaga, potatoes, carrots, and onions in a pastry crust. While not an exciting dish, its values — hearty trumping spice — seems right for this old north country dish.
It’s the pies that have made Betty’s reputation, and they are treats to remember: bright fruit pies with lightweight crusts, thick cream pies that are heavy and satisfying, and a delightful chocolate creation that is dark chocolate cream, cinnamon meringue, whipped cream and chocolate whipped cream on a flaky crust. Oh, and there is one pie-plus item I do recommend: Betty’s pie shake. That is an entire piece of pie – your choice – blended with ice cream and milk. My waitress dissuaded me from getting one made with fruit pie, as it would have too grainy a texture, so I chose banana cream. It is a delight: pie a la mode in a tall glass. Pieces of banana and bits of crust inevitably clog the straw, so this is a drink that must be gulped or spooned.
No longer a hidden gem, Betty’s is famous and gets crowded in the summer when tourists come to enjoy the beauty of Lake Superior’s North Shore. Although Betty herself retired long ago and the place has been rebuilt and remodeled since its opening in 1956, it remains a worthy north country destination with country-craftsy kitchenette décor and waitresses who are outspoken in the best diner tradition.
Note: Betty’s has limited hours in winter months: be sure to call ahead.