Best Pie Resource San Francisco 2004 - Mel's Drive-In
Playland's Pie Stand, the Hick'ry Pit, and Bepple's on Union are but memories, and today the town is overrun with beautifully designed, delicately rendered tartes that have plenty of charm but none of the gutsy satisfaction of, say, deep-dish coconut cream pie with a butter-and-lard crust and a mountain of whipped cream on top. What's a pie-lovin' American to do, short of heading down the coast to Duarte's for an orgy of pastry-wrapped ollalieberries? There's always Mel's, where the brightly retro menu inevitably includes half a dozen varieties of honest-to-God, double-crust pie. It's good pie, too: "fresh baked daily in Mel's kitchen" (wherever that is, but when you want pie, who's carping?), the chain's renditions feature a uniformly flaky crust and fillings ranging from custard, banana cream, and chocolate cream to pumpkin, cherry, and good old apple (with cinnamon sauce and a wedge of cheese if you want it). The berry pie's our favorite: juicy, tart, barely sweetened fruit crowned with a buttery crumb topping and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Beach Boys available for an extra quarter.