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Posted on Fri, Dec 9, 2011 : 8 a.m.

Frugal Friday at Achatz Handmade Pie Co. features a Cadillac of a pie

By Mary Bilyeu


Mary Bilyeu, Contributor

Now just where, you may ask, is this place where you'll fall in love at first slice? Why, it's today's Frugal Floozie Friday feature — Achatz Handmade Pie Co.

A new store in Ann Arbor has recently joined the others in this Michigan-based franchise, offering handmade pies that have been showered with praise from Bon Appetit and Food & Wine magazines, as well as from the Food Network, the Detroit Free Press and the American Pie Council.

The Achatz [ACK-itz] family is noted in southeastern Michigan for its cooking, due its numerous restaurants and catering businesses. The very large extended family is most famously represented by James Beard Award-winning chef Grant Achatz of Chicago's noted Alinea restaurant, which was recently named the best restaurant in North America and sixth best restaurant in the world.

The pedigree is impeccable, and my expectations were very high.

On the evening that my BFF Wendy and I visited, we were warmly greeted and offered samples as we perused the lovely offerings. The Michigan Four Berry Pie is vibrantly flavored, a gorgeous tribute to our state's produce. Achatz uses Michigan ingredients almost exclusively, from the fruit to the flour to the dairy products. The other treat we were able to sample was the Cannoli Pie, creamy and sweet and utterly sublime.

You can buy whole pies or individual slices, which vary in price. For $3.79 —well within our mandatory Frugal Floozie Friday budget of $5 per person — the slice of Cadillac Pie (pictured to the right) I chose is an obscenely rich and decadent treat. A chocolate cookie crust supports a layer of smooth caramel, sprinkled with roasted peanuts, a peanut butter silk layer and a cream topping that is then drizzled with chocolate and still more peanuts. It is worth every single one of the calories ingested... and please, don't anyone tell me how many there were!

Wendy ordered the Sweet Potato Pie, and whipped cream was very generously offered and graciously accepted. It cost $3.29, which meant that a large coffee could also be ordered for $1.60 while staying within our limited $5 budget. This smooth, sweet and spicy selection was chosen for its pretense of nutritional value, and it was a delicious treat.

Achatz also offers savory options and an assortment of soups for take-out, as well as selling other fine Michigan products such as Better Made potato chips and Faygo sodas. There are 45 different pies on the menu for ordering, though not every one of these is available each day by the slice.

But whatever is available —from pies featuring fruit or cream, nuts or chocolate, and even combinations thereof — and whether you eat at the shop or take your treats home, a pie from Achatz is a truly seductive indulgence.

Achatz Pies
2643 Plymouth Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
Closed on Saturdays

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Mary Bilyeu has won or placed in more than 60 cooking contests and writes about her adventures in the kitchen. She was thrilled to have her post about Scottish Oatmeal Shortbread named as one of the daily "Best of the Blogs" by the prestigious Food News Journal.

Go visit Mary's blog — Food Floozie — on which she enthuses and effuses over all things food-related. Her newest feature is Frugal Floozie Friday, seeking fun and food for $5 or less ... really! Feel free to email her with questions or comments or suggestions:

The phrase "You Should Only Be Happy" (written in Hebrew on the stone pictured in this post) comes from Deuteronomy 16:15 and is a wish for all her readers as they cook along with her ... may you always be happy here.



Sat, Dec 10, 2011 : 3:17 a.m.

They are good. Had one of their pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving, and I was impressed.


Fri, Dec 9, 2011 : 2:19 p.m.

All of the pies sound very tasty and the two photos look scrumpdillyicious. I am a big pie fan but rarely indulge. I have had their four-berry pie in the past, given to me as a present and bought at Hiller's, I believe. For that rare instance I wish to indulge, I definitely will consider them for a slice. I must say, though, that I was very surprised to read that they are closed on Saturdays. While I expect the employees appreciate it, I think that would be a prime day for retail food sales.


Fri, Dec 9, 2011 : 3:10 p.m.

Ah, Seventh Day Adventists, now I understand. Thank you, Mary.

Mary Bilyeu

Fri, Dec 9, 2011 : 2:37 p.m.

While Saturday is, indeed, a huge retail day ordinarily, the Achatz family members are Seventh Day Adventists who take the day for rest. The pies, with their wholesome ingredients, are truly worth the wait though, even if your craving comes on their day off! When (not "if!") you go, let me know how you like the offerings. As you can tell, I'm completely enamored ... :)