- Josh Huskin
- A pimento cheese sandwich with grapes from Tootie Pie.
Tootie Pie Gourmet Café
Tootie Pie is an almost-too-cutsey-pie name, but as the company's own literature touts Tootie as "a classic story of humble beginnings" and lets us know that "Tootie" is the nickname of the founder, I'll just leave that one alone. For the company to have expanded from Fredericksburg into five locations, two of which are in San Antonio, suggests they're doing something right.
At the Tootie Pie Gourmet Café in Alamo Heights, the pies are displayed in a rotating cylinder in the center of the dining space. I'm fonder of the old-fashioned diner-type display that puts pies on shelves in front of mirrors, but the pastry on parade does get your attention. Check it out before you move on up to the counter, where you'll find numerous sandwiches, bagels, panini, soups, and salads which you are apparently obliged to consider before diving right into your Coconut Supreme. In a place founded on "hard work, determination and a loving hand," it seemed only reasonable to have the pimento cheese sandwich tricked out with almonds and jalapeño. Bridge-club bland, it is not. In fact, the cheese mixture is very good, toasted wheat bread brackets it nicely, and crunchy iceberg is just right as a foil. Though it frankly tasted like tomato, the "signature" roasted red pepper and smoked Gouda soup was also rewarding — and refills were even offered.
But with the arrival of the pie, the prize for finishing my lunch, things began to go south. The minute I heard the microwave ding, I knew it was all over: my blackberry pie had been turned to a mush resembling purple applesauce with seeds. The crust didn't stand a chance. "Corporate" makes staff microwave all the berry pies, I was told, which is a sad comment on a business started by one determined woman in her own home. You can ask for no heating, but you won't be offered the option at the counter.
Of course there are pies that nobody would consider nuking. One of those was the Lemon Velvet I was graciously offered as a substitute. "Our flaky golden crust" may be just a bit overstated, but at least it held up to the filling, a good balance of tart custard and light, cream cheese topping. The six-pound apple pie that launched the business didn't immediately appeal, even in single-slice form but, in fairness, maybe next time.