Original Pie Shoppe in Laughlintown lands on Taste of Home’s ‘state’s best’ list
When Carolyn Anderson, 47, of New Alexandria thinks about her favorite regional small town restaurant, one place pops into mind.
She remembers traveling Route 30 as a child to her grandparents’ Somerset County home, and the regular stop her family made at Laughlintown’s Original Pie Shoppe.
It’s now claimed the Pennsylvania sweet spot on the magazine Taste of Home’s nationwide list of “hidden gem restaurants.”
“We used to go up there every weekend. We would always stop (at the Pie Shoppe) and get doughnuts for my grandparents. And you can’t leave without getting something for yourself,” Anderson says.
So when Anderson, a field editor for Country magazine, was asked for suggestions for its sister publication’s compilation, her sweet childhood memories led to her response.
“All of the (trustedmediabrands.com) field editors were asked to share their hometown restaurant/bakery for an article (Taste of Home) was putting together. My selection was picked for the state of Pennsylvania,” Anderson says.
“Our volunteer field editors helped us find the country’s best small-town restaurants. Each spot cooks up hearty and delicious food that’s beloved by locals and any folks passing through,” says Nancy Mock, a Vermont freelance writer and field editor for Taste of Home, in a release.
“That was the first time I suggested that location. The magazine tries to put ideas together for different stories. I know they were looking for something small, that has been around a long time, maybe more mom-and-pop-type stores,” Anderson says.
“Any time they are looking for story ideas or suggestions, I try to gear it toward this area to get some extra exposure,” she adds.
The Pie Shoppe’s glazed doughnuts remain her “hands down” favorite treat.
Serving goodies and nostalgia
The Original Pie Shoppe, established in 1947, is a full line bakery and deli, according to its website.
Kelly Columbus, whose husband Tom Columbus’ family started the business, says the shop is more a “hybrid” than a restaurant, although it does make fresh food on-site.
“We will take being the best of anything any time. We always appreciate it, especially if it’s unsolicited. We were thrilled,” Columbus says.
She says many customers share stories similar to Anderson’s with the clerks, recalling stopping at the shop as children.
“People tell us it’s a pit stop on the way to Idlewild (& Soak Zone) or Linn Run State Park,” Columbus says. “We have a really nice relationship with (tour) buses.”Those ferrying visitors to the Flight 93 National Memorial or to Mountain Playhouse in Jennerstown sometimes stop.
”We try to give them a little talk about the background of the shop,” Columbus says.
And Anderson is on the money with the glazed doughnuts, she adds.
“We can’t keep them. And the maple bacon flavor is popular. Little kids really like the Fruity Pebbles doughnuts — breakfast of champions,” Columbus says, laughing.
“That place is very special to me. It reminds me every time that I am there on how much I wish my grandparents were still here for a visit and enjoying a box of doughnuts,” Anderson says. “I am so proud to include some of my hometown favorites in a national magazine for all to hear about.”
For a national list of Taste of Home’s best small town restaurants, visit: tasteofhome.com.
Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-836-5401, [email protected] or via Twitter .