Pie making is a tasty pastime for many.
But when the hankering is really strong, it may be best to leave it to the professionals. When we've got so many sweet spots around town, why not let the connoisseurs of cooking prepare the pies – if nothing else, it may spark some creativity in your own kitchen. Whether this list prompts you to get out the rolling pin or the car keys, we can all agree on this: We all want our piece of the pie.
3107 Main St., Duluth
When Crave Pie Studio says its artisan bakers skillfully craft creative pies with fresh seasonal ingredients, it doesn't take that lightly -- not even as lightly as its meringue. With rotating recipes such as jalapeño cherry with bacon streusel, cherry hazelnut ricotta, salted lavender honey, tequila key lime with salted pretzel crust, you'll be craving more than one slice. But if none of its creams, custards, fruits or quiches hit the spot, just tell the bakers and they'll come up with something special just for you. Even better, they'll prepare a pie from your own personal recipes when you don't have time to bake. Want a taste now? Stop in at its historic Duluth shop to enjoy a 5-inch mini-version, with a cup of Batdorf & Bronson coffee.
224 Ponce De Leon Ave. NE, Atlanta,
Entertaining houseguests from out of town this holiday season? Treat them to an Atlanta institution for more than 70 years. Mary Mac's Tea Room is the last of 16 tearooms that once dotted intown Atlanta in the 1940s. Today, the Midtown location still draws large crowds by focusing on made-from-scratch Southern fare served with genuine Southern hospitality. Round out a meal of fried Southern goodness with a slice of Georgia peach cobbler (we won't rule that out as "not a pie"), key lime with homemade whipped cream and traditional pecan pie.
4058 Peachtree Rd NE, Brookhaven, GA
The philosophy here is that life is sweet, and we couldn't agree more. Located in Brookhaven Station, this counter service serves more than sugary treats. In fact, its coffee (only $1 between 8 and 10 a.m.), breakfast foods, breads, salads and sandwiches invite you to stay awhile – but ultimately, get back to the business the name suggests. It's a tough decision between the large selection of cakes, cookies, brownies and more stocked by Metroentertainment Bakery, but we first went for the white chocolate banana cream with no regrets. Try a mixture of mini pies to maximize the wow factor.
3073 Piedmont Road NE, Atlanta
The Buckhead Diner, like its surrounding neighborhood, takes things up a notch. An anchor at Piedmont Avenue and East Paces Ferry Road since 1987, this dressed-up American dining venue offers snappy service and innovative takes on longtime favorites. Be sure to check out the James Beard Award-winning white banana cream pie. Share a slice, at least, with the table.
1100 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta
We just can't get enough of this place. Since expanding its catering business to a shop in Midtown, Joy Cafe has earned a reputation for keeping things real. After all, the restaurant prepares foods without preservatives and uses recipes passed down for generations. Despite camera crews that continue to swing by the kitchen – The Food Network and CBS have both featured this spot – the husband-and-wife team and their staff haven't slowed down. Seasonal variations include Mississippi mud pie with layers of cake and chocolate mousse and the caramel bourbon peach pie with pecan streusel. But the cookies and milk pie is the most requested year-round. It's made with layers of house-made chewy chocolate chip cookies dipped in fresh vanilla bean milk and layered between lightly sweetened whipped cream, all in a graham cracker crust.