Mrs. Thompson's Pies

Mrs. Thompson’s Pies has been serving up little goodies since the 1940s.



I first saw Mrs. Thompson’s Pies on the front counter at Groceria Merante in Oakland. They’re little pies about 4 inches in diameter, baked and sold in small aluminum-foil pans. Each is wrapped in a small wax-paper bag decorated with Asian designs, obviously intended for egg rolls for takeout, but cleverly repurposed here. Each bag is sealed with a single piece of Scotch tape like a present.

A bright yellow and red label on these packages says these are “Mrs. Thompson’s Pies,” underscored by a line that states simply, “Southern Style Pies.” Then the flavor is spelled out in big letters—like APPLE, which I’ve tried. I’ve also sampled the peach and the sweet potato. All quite good. Julie Merante told me that her favorite is raisin, but it’s a specialty and not available every week.

Groceria Merante in Oakland

Julie and her sister Filomena have run their corner grocery on Bates Street since the 1970s, and their mustachioed Uncle Salvatore used to have a store on Marion Street in the uptown neighborhood near Mercy Hospital. He sold Mrs. Thompson’s Pies for as long as he can remember, at least since the early 1950s.

The Merantes continue to get fresh pies, usually on Tuesday afternoons, delivered by an older gentleman they call Tommy Thompson, although I found out his real name is Rollins Thompson. He’s the son of the pies’ namesake, and he makes these pies at his Thompson’s Bakery in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.

One afternoon, I talked to Charles Thompson, one of Rollins’ children, who said the business was 65 or 67 years old—they weren’t sure—and it had had its ups and downs like many small business. For a while, he said, they baked a lot for A&P Supermarkets.

Christopher explained that “Mrs. Thompson” was Lucille Thompson, who moved to Pittsburgh from Wilmington, N.C., and started baking pies here in the early 1940s. Uncle Sal at the Groceria Merante told me that he remembers when she used to deliver the pies herself from a station wagon every week.

I love the way the pies are perfectly baked, each in its little foil dish, but they easily pop out and can be eaten like a big filled cookie. They are a tasty little piece of Pittsburgh history, usually sold for $1.09 apiece at Merante’s.

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Review: Salt of the Earth

Review: Salt of the Earth

Brandon Fisher is the latest chef behind Salt of the Earth’s modern-American dishes.
2014 Pittsburgher of the Year Award: The Fred Rogers Company

2014 Pittsburgher of the Year Award: The Fred Rogers Company

Sharing the DNA of the father of children’s television, the Fred Rogers Company reinvigorates a beloved legacy while creating new hit characters and content that help children to grow, giggle and learn.
Update: The McMutrie Sisters' Mission 5 Years After the Haiti Earthquake

Update: The McMutrie Sisters' Mission 5 Years After the Haiti Earthquake

Jamie and Ali McMutrie were PM's 2010 Pittsburghers of the Year after airlifting 54 youngsters to safety. Now, they have forged a relationship with a major global player to continue their work to prevent struggling Haitian families from surrendering children to orphanages.
PittGirl's New Year's Resolutions for Pittsburghers

PittGirl's New Year's Resolutions for Pittsburghers

Four ways to make the city even better in 2015.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Must-See: Pittsburgh's Holiday Displays

Must-See: Pittsburgh's Holiday Displays

Get yourself in the holiday spirit in just over a minute.
Destined to be a Classic: Pittsburgh Penguins 'Christmas Vacation' Parody Video

Destined to be a Classic: Pittsburgh Penguins 'Christmas Vacation' Parody Video

Evegeni Malkin is priceless at the end.
This Weekend: Chris Jamison & the Steelers, Pens & Ugly Sweaters, Mayor Undercover

This Weekend: Chris Jamison & the Steelers, Pens & Ugly Sweaters, Mayor Undercover

Some cool things to watch out for this weekend in the ’Burgh.
#Oops — Or, About that Headline . . .

#Oops — Or, About that Headline . . .

Once in a while, no good deed goes unpunished.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Review: Salt of the Earth

Review: Salt of the Earth

Brandon Fisher is the latest chef behind Salt of the Earth’s modern-American dishes.
2014 Pittsburgher of the Year Award: The Fred Rogers Company

2014 Pittsburgher of the Year Award: The Fred Rogers Company

Sharing the DNA of the father of children’s television, the Fred Rogers Company reinvigorates a beloved legacy while creating new hit characters and content that help children to grow, giggle and learn.
Update: The McMutrie Sisters' Mission 5 Years After the Haiti Earthquake

Update: The McMutrie Sisters' Mission 5 Years After the Haiti Earthquake

Jamie and Ali McMutrie were PM's 2010 Pittsburghers of the Year after airlifting 54 youngsters to safety. Now, they have forged a relationship with a major global player to continue their work to prevent struggling Haitian families from surrendering children to orphanages.
PittGirl's New Year's Resolutions for Pittsburghers

PittGirl's New Year's Resolutions for Pittsburghers

Four ways to make the city even better in 2015.
Penguins Profile: The Fearless Patric Hornqvist

Penguins Profile: The Fearless Patric Hornqvist

The Penguin winger fits in easily with the team, thanks to his infectious personality and his mad dedication to confounding opposing goaltenders.
Rev It Up: This South Side Pittsburgh Loft is Unique and Unusual

Rev It Up: This South Side Pittsburgh Loft is Unique and Unusual

This three-story home melds all of the comforts of home with the sleek look and efficiency of industrial design.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags