National Pie Day is behind us for another year, but who needs a special day to eat pie? My Just Desserts in Alton, Illinois, offers nine to thirteen different kinds of pies every day.
Ann Badasch started out selling antiques back when Alton boasted six blocks of antique shops. As the antiques business began declining about 25 years ago, Ann switched gears, opened My Just Desserts, and has been serving customers a little slice of heaven ever since.
The atmosphere of an antique store still exists in the restaurant, located in a building over 160 years old, with creaking hardwood floors, quilts for sale hanging on the walls, vintage mismatched tables and chairs, beverages served in Mason jars.
The food, though, is what people come for. My Just Desserts is open for lunch seven days a week, serving soups, salads and sandwiches. The half-pound Chicken Salad sandwich is so popular that the kitchen workers debone about 100 chickens a week, all done by hand.
With few exceptions, like the Chicken Salad and Tollhouse Brownies, the menu changes every day. Ann’s 150 pie recipes are rotated weekly, so with nine to thirteen varieties offered at a time, you’ll be surprised with new pie selections with every visit. I chose Lemon Truffle and enjoyed the tang of lemon offset by sweet creaminess and a light flaky crust. Among the other pies available the day I was there were Caramel Apple, Radically Cherry, and Peaches and Cream. Where does Ann get all of her recipes? “Customers,” said Ann. “I exchange a lot of pie recipes with my customers.”
Because of the constantly changing menu, there are no printed menus. Instead, the day’s offerings are written on chalkboards throughout the restaurant. When a dish or a pie is gone, it is erased from the boards. A tip that was given to me: Order your pie when you order your meal to avoid disappointment if the pie your taste buds were set on is erased from the board before you finish your lunch.
My Just Desserts, located at 31 E Broadway, Alton IL, is open daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Check the web site’s Events section for special events like “Dinner with Mr. Lincoln’s Friends,” a four course meal from “Lincoln’s Table” to celebrate Abe Lincoln’s birthday, with entertainment provided by Alton Little Theater Costumed Actors.
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