You've scraped up the last bit of mashed potatoes and captured a few rogue field peas rolling around on the plate. All that remains are the bones from the fried chicken. Still, you've managed to reserve some tummy space for the pinnacle of the meal: the homemade pie.
Pie making is a highly prized culinary art form in the South, where technique is passed down from one generation to another as reverently as great-grandmother's wedding ring. Juicy fruits, berries, spiced sweet potato, buttery pecan and silky, tangy buttermilk are among the most favored varieties.
Creating unforgettable pies is a robust endeavor not just in home kitchens, but in a growing number of South Carolina's restaurants and bakeries where signature pies are a source of pride. Ready for a slice? Take your pick from these establishments with a reputation for great pie making.
This bustling café delights locals and tourists with a menu of down-home favorites, such as fried chicken, pork chops, okra, greens, mac and cheese and, of course, that homemade pie.
Pies to try: Sweetpotato, coconut, coconut-pecan
It's a pie lover's dream - an entire shop bent on turning out delicious pies.
Pies to try: buttermilk, I-40 (pecan, chocolate chip and coconut), granny's apple, coconut cream
This purveyor of Southern goodies sells a variety of grits, cornmeal, jams, preserves, ciders and relishes. The biggest draw, however, is the homemade pies that come in two sizes to fit all appetites.
Pies to try: apple, sweet potato, pecan
Hearty home-cooked breakfasts and lunches are the calling card of this cafe, where patrons routinely end their meals with a slice of freshly baked pie.
Pies to try: pecan, apple, coconut cream, strawberry
Kaminsky's Dessert Cafe, Charleston, West Ashley, Columbia
Dessert is a way of life at Kaminsky's and that includes its signature batch of flaky, decadent pies.
Pies to try: bourbon pecan, coconut cream, Toll House
Kudzu Bakery, Litchfield and Mount Pleasant
Carefully selected ingredients make Kudzu's baked goods some of the tastiest around, with pies that are filled with the finest nuts and seasonal fruits.
Pies to try: pecan, lemon chess, strawberry-rhubarb, peach, blueberry
When a farmer and miller come together in a restaurant enterprise, it's a given that good pie will figure into the mix. If you don't aim to eat pie as an entree, resist the urge to peer into the baked goods display when you walk in.
Pies to try: brown coconut cream, honey pecan
While there's an abundance of luscious things to eat at this hopping pit stop for farm fresh produce, baked goods, ice cream and more, the fresh-baked pies are always a showstopper.
Pies to try: peach, blueberry, apple, strawberry
Sidetracked Café, Central
With a made-from-scratch menu that rotates weekly, this eatery is aptly based in a cozy cottage, the hominess of which is elevated by the aroma of freshly baked pies wafting from its kitchen.
Pies to try: coconut, buttermilk, lemon meringue, maple walnut
This deli-bakery combo is the Upstate's go-to spot for all kinds of pies, each one an example of skilled pie making.
Pies to try: banana cream, chocolate cream, cherry, peach, pumpkin
This small-batch bakery specializes in all kinds of baked goods and pastries, including a rich selection of pies.
Pies to try: pecan, buttermilk, chocolate bourbon pecan, mixed berry, peach, sweet potato
Everything here is fresh baked daily, so it's not unheard of to snag a warm-from-the-oven pie.
Pies to try: chocolate, pecan, key lime (made with a chocolate crust)