Family Pie Shop

Review by: Michael Stern


The Family Pie Shop is not a restaurant. It is more an annex of Mary Thomas’s home, built out of a former bicycle shed, now filled with tools of the baker’s art. Mrs. Thomas starts making pies in the morning, and by lunchtime there might be half a dozen varieties available, the favorites including pineapple, apple, lemon, cream, coconut, and sweet potato, all laid out in gorgeous golden brown crusts that rise up like fragile pastry halos around their fillings.

What to eat at The Family Pie Shop

Her Karo nut pie (the Southern cook’s name for what the rest of the world knows as pecan pie) is a tawny temptress packed with halves of nuts in a profoundly sweet suspension. The meringues on her cream pies are snow white, decorated with tiny grid mark swirls at their cloudy peaks. Fried pies — individual-serving half-moon pockets filled with apples or peaches — shatter into ethereal fragments as soon as they are hit by fork or teeth.

Mrs. Thomas has been selling pies to the public since 1977 at The Family Pie Shop. Her customers include pie hounds from all the nearby towns as well as devotees who drive from as far away as Little Rock (or in some cases send their chauffeurs) for whole pies to take home. Others wander over from Craig’s Barbecue across the street in search of something sweet and soothing (such as the sublime sweet potato pie or chocolate pie) after a bout with fiery barbecue.

She used to sell every kind of pie she made by the slice, but now she obliges those of us without a nearby dinner table by selling mini-pies, about two slices’ worth. If you will be traveling through DeValls Bluff and crave pie, be sure to call ahead and make sure Mary is baking that day. Her usual days are Wednesday through Saturday, but that can vary.

Note: Mary Thomas passed away in the Spring of 2016. The future of her pie shop is currently unknown.

What To Eat

Pie and Nothing But Pie

Small Pie

Fried Pie

Whole Pie


Family Pie Shop Recipes


What do you think of Family Pie Shop?

One Response to “Family Pie Shop”

Paul Swan

July 17th, 2012

After a visit to the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock on a steaming late June afternoon, an hour’s drive for pie seemed like the perfect dessert. After a phone call to Mary Thomas to make sure she was open and baking, it was off to Interstate 40 and U.S. 70. We were aware that the pie shop was across from Craig’s barbecue restaurant, but still couldn’t see the shop from the road. After another call to Mary and a drive around the block, we finally saw the “Pie Shop” sign. Note: It’s easier to see the off-the-road location from the westbound side of U.S. 70.

The drive was worth it. The slices of chocolate pie (thoughtfully supplied with plates and plastic utensils) were heavenly, not-too-sweet chocolate topped with the lightest meringue I’ve ever tasted. A whole buttermilk pie, enjoyed over the next two days, was a sublime, custardy treat. Once again, the pie’s filling wasn’t overly sweet and the crust was flaky.


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De Valls Bluff, AR

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