When the weather starts to get crisper in San Diego, it means it's apple season in Julian. Every fall, many San Diegans make the hour drive to Julian to experience a rustic mountain town and -- usually most importantly -- its pies. Here's a breakdown of the top pie shops in Julian, plus where you can get Julian pies in San Diego.
Julian Pie Company
Using the apples from their own apple tree farm (which boasts over 17,000 apple trees), Julian Pie Company crafts pies with moist centers and flaky or crumb crusts.
Julian Pie Company has been producing its stellar pies since 1989 and bakes traditional apple pies, plus many variations of apple with cherry, boysenberry, raspberry, blueberry, strawberry or rhubarb mixed in. You can also order pecan pies and pumpkin pies or a pie with an all fruit filling that doesn't include apple. The Julian Pie Company is housed in a small building that looks like a house off of the main street in Julian. There are outdoor picnic tables to enjoy your slice of pie on or a row of tables indoors. If eating at the store, try a scoop of Julian Pie Company's cinnamon ice cream to go with your pie. You can also try ordering your apple pie with melted cheddar cheese on top.
Address in Julian: 2225 Main Street
Hours: Daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where to Buy in San Diego County: Many of the Albertson's, Jimbo's and Stater Bros. grocery stores in San Diego County carry Julian Pie Company's pies.
You can also find them at other independent grocers such as Cardiff Seaside Market, the Olive Tree Marketplace in OB and Baron's Point Loma.
Mom's Pie House
Mom's Pie House is indeed owned by a "mom" who has lived in Julian for over 30 years and has been baking pies using Julian apples since 1984. All the pies at Mom's are baked fresh.
The entrance to the shop is a long corridor that takes you past the open kitchen and into a cozy dining area where you can enjoy your slice of pie and maybe an added scoop of ice cream. The shop is known for its excellent crusts, of which it makes two -- the Flakey, a pastry-style crust, and the Crumb, which is sprinkled on the top of the pie instead of being rolled on. Both crusts are made from high quality ingredients. Mom's Pie House has many variations of Apple pie, including the Apple Caramel Crumb Pie and Apple Sugar Free Pie. You can also get apple boysenberry or apple cherry pies with either the Flakey or Crumb crust. Mom's also serves up pecan, pumpkin, rhubarb, cherry and peach pies.
Address in Julian: 2119 Main Street
Hours: Sunday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where to Buy in San Diego County: Mom's lets you deliver pies straight to your door in San Diego with their online ordering system. You can also buy Mom's pies at Don's Market in Santa Ysabel.
Apple Alley Bakery
Owned and operated by a husband and wife team, this little bakery in Julian serves up apple pies made fresh each morning. The interior has a cabin feel with ample seating. There are also tables outdoors for those who want to enjoy their pie in the crisp Julian air.
Apple Alley Bakery has some fun twists on their apples pies, including a Mango Apple Pie and a Caramel Apple Pecan Pie. Apple Alley Bakery also serves sandwiches and soups for lunch.
Address in Julian: 2122 Main Street
Hours: Daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where to Buy in San Diego County: Sorry, folks. You can only get these pies in Julian.
Julian Café and Bakery
Julian Café and Bakery is a small restaurant housed in a cozy log room. You can eat at the restaurant for some good comfort food like chilli, meatloaf and country fried chicken, followed by a slice of pie. Or, just step right up to the pie ordering window in the side of the restaurant, where you can quickly pick up a pie to go through a wooden window. The claim to fame of the pies of Julian Café and Bakery is the Apple Pumpkin Crumb Pie, which layers creamy pumpkin pie atop soft apples and is topped with a crumb crust.
Julian Café and Bakery only have the Apple Pumpkin Crumb Pie seasonally (it's a great addition to Thanksgiving). Its other pies -- Apple Crumb, Apple Pastry and Apple Boysenberry -- are served up year-round.
Address in Julian: 2112 Main Street
Hours: Monday - Thursday, 8 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m. - 9 p.m. Sunday 7 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Where to Buy in San Diego County: This is another pie shop that only sells their pies in Julian.