History of the Pie-O-Neer

with 11 Comments

In 1995, while searching for “real pie,” my family happened across Pie Town, New Mexico. It was a bright, sunny perfect New Mexico day. Crisp, clear blue skies dotted with fluffy white clouds. The town consisted of a post office, a tax office (even in the middle of nowhere, the IRS finds you) and The Old Thunderbird Trading Post. Crossing the steps of the frontier-style porch we were anxious. “What kind of pie would they have?” Much to our dismay, NONE. The owners were old and tired and had a sign on the door that read “There used to be pie in Pie Town, but there ain’t no more — FOR SALE.”

Knapp Family on Pieoneer Porch
Wendi, Kathy, and Mary in 1995: Three generations of pie bakers.

My mother was distraught enough to say “if this was MY pie shop. . .” and I soon realized she was serious. On November 11 three generations of my family started baking pies. Mom was an experienced “Pie Lady” as she had worked with her mother in the Cozy Corner Café in Rochelle, IL, where I was raised. They baked all kinds of pies. So it was only natural that she “put the pie back in Pie Town.”

Someone’s always been baking pie here since the 20’s. Many families have tried their hand at a rolling pin in this location. We are proud to be the next in line. In 1998, Mom had to move to lower elevation for her health. My daughter has since left for higher education. But I am still here, baking pies with the help of my partner, Stan King, of the Silver Creek Inn B&B in Mogollon, NM, and various pie angels. We have a lot of fun baking pies in our newly remodeled kitchen, watching the bluebirds outside.

Our motto is: “If you bake it, they will come.” — Kathy Knapp

It has been a wild ride — time has brought many changes, but the bottom line is the same. . . it’s all about the PIE!

Kathy's Mom
Mom in the old kitchen — October, 1996

We offer small-town friendliness in big way. Summer brings travelers, campers, artists, musicians, star-gazers and CDT hikers and bikers to our door. We graciously welcome them into our “home away from home” and serve them homemade, prize-winning pie. We have an acclaimed art gallery in-house and authentic photos from the WPA on old barn-wood walls.

We have been featured in Sunset Magazine, Travel + Leisure, Fodor’s and Moon Travel guides. We are on the Food Network’s “Best of New Mexico” and have been in the award winning short documentary film, The Pie Lady of Pie Town. We are honored to be featured on the cover of Arthur Drooker’s pictorial homage to Pie Town’s past, PIE TOWN REVISITED. We have lots of FUN! Come join us for some pie and find out for yourself.

Pieoneer Pies
Another Happy Pieoneer Cafe Crowd

11 Responses

  1. susie

    I have always referred to Seattle as the best kept secret in the US. I now stand corrected, it is pie town .
    Kathy Knapp are both tied for the honor of pie goddesses of pie town for breathing life back into this beautiful best kept secret in the US.

  2. susie

    Kathy Knapp and her mother are both tied for the honor of pie queen of pie town.

    Voice recognition is a tricky one. But pie town Mexico is the best kept secret in the US

  3. piepeople

    Thanks, Susie, for the shout out. While Pie Town is no longer a best-kept secret, there is still no getting around the fact that “You’re only as good as your last Pie in this town!”

  4. Pie Daughter

    Jake loves your new website! He says, “pumpkin is my FAVORITE”! Gramma will have to bake him one soon! xoxoxo

  5. piepeople

    Glad the Pie Baby approves of our new and improved website. Tell him to bring me a pumpkin and I’ll make him a pie!

  6. Pancho

    I rode my Harley from San Diego for a piece of pie. Worth it.

  7. Kathy Knapp

    What a great reason for a ride…so glad it was worthy. Thanks for letting us know!

  8. piepeople

    What a great reason for a ride! So happy to hear it was worthy…thanks for letting us know.

  9. Sue Henderson

    We are going to be on NM the first two weeks of February. Will you be open? We LOVE pie and want very much to see you and eat some good pie.

  10. piepeople

    The Pie bar will reopen on Pi Day! (3.14.18) Check the Hours Page for all open hours.

  11. piepeople

    Hi Sue,
    FYI. There is a shop called The Gathering Place open in Pie Town. You can check with them!