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Pie Lab, Revisited

January 2, 2012


A visit to Pie Lab in Greensboro AL is where this blog began. We’ve intended to go back for quite a while, and finally had the chance the weekend before Christmas. College football season was over and my husband had finished another semester of master’s classes, so we took the time to drive 45 minutes there and back for lunch.

We also had an ulterior motive. I mentioned a few posts ago that we’d discovered Pecans! Pecan Butter, and soon after found ourselves eating spoonfuls straight from the jar. It only has four ingredients (pecans, honey, cinnamon, and salt), so I’m not sure exactly what makes it so incredible, but it is something special. Our local health food store, Manna Grocery, ran out, so I called Greensboro to find out if several jars would be available at Pie Lab on Saturday. They said yes, so we drove down, intending to buy some for our families, my principal, my “secret pal” at work, our own pantry, etc.

Much to our surprise, they’d sold out of every single jar of pecan butter between Wednesday (when I called) and Saturday. However, they did still have pie: coconut cream, lemon icebox, apple cheddar, spiced apple pear, blueberry peach crisp, spinach-feta quiche, meatlover’s quiche, and chicken fajita pie. We sat down to a few slices as we addressed our new topic of lunch conversation: suddenly last-minute gift ideas.

I really want to like Pie Lab, but again this trip we left feeling disappointed. The two employees were welcoming and friendly, so the atmosphere was more comfortable and pleasant than last time. The eatery has sunshine pouring through huge windows, design-savvy t-shirts for sale, cute holly berries in mason jar vases, a great community-minded concept, and a big, open, modern space with cool tables. But, none of the pies wowed me this time. The spinach-feta quiche had tons of egg and very little spinach or feta, which wasn’t what I’d hoped for after the spinachy deep dish I’d loved last time. The apple cheddar and apple pear spice pies were just alright. They weren’t bad, but they weren’t really anything to write home about, in my opinion.

So, I hate to be negative and certainly don’t fancy myself to be some sort of restaurant critic, but to be honest I don’t think we’ll go back to Pie Lab. If we wanted eggy quiche and mediocre pie for whatever reason, there are several places in Tuscaloosa or Birmingham to choose from. In a part of the country where most everyone’s mother-in-law makes better pies than this for dessert on any humdrum non-occasion Tuesday, Pie Lab’s slices will have to be more mouth-watering to warrant a $4 price tag and the drive to tiny Greensboro.

The good news is that after some brainstorming we were able to find gifts to replace the pecan butter we missed out on. We went straight to Heritage House in Northport, which is a combination coffee-gift shop. They always have unique items, usually at relatively reasonable prices. In the past we’ve bought adorable wooden signs there, and today we found heavy coasters covered in Christmas sheet music for my principal, who plays the piano.

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