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BULLETDining Archive
Featured Dining Location The café is open Sundays through Thursdays, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, call 623-374-5794 or visit rockspringscafe.com.

© Jeff Kida

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Rock Springs Café
If you're looking for a piece of pie that takes the cake, head to the middle of nowhere, just north of Phoenix.

By Ashley Macha

Rock Springs While the waitress was slicing the large triangle of blueberry pie, the mouth of the lucky customer was beginning to water. By the time she took a bite, her taste buds were doing somersaults. That's how good a piece of pie really is at the historic Rock Springs Café.

Your mother's pies might have the same effect, but she can't keep up with this place in terms of volume. If you've never been, Rock Springs Café is located along Inter-state 17, about 45 minutes north of Phoenix. Chances are, you've driven by and never noticed. Next time, spoil yourself and take the Rock Springs exit.

The pies at the café are something special. That's why folks from around the state and beyond travel to the desert to get a piece. Or two. Or three. Prices range from $3.50 a slice to $12.95 for an entire pie. In all, the café sells nearly 55,000 pies a year. Some are sold online, but if you have the option, it's worth the experience of buying them in person.

Nestled among a saloon, gift shop, bedding store, tattoo parlor and various jewelry stands, the café itself is as interesting as the pie. It's the pie, however, that draws the crowd. Picking out a flavor is the tough part.

"A lot of people come in for the Jack Daniels pecan pie," says Tom Balcom, the café's general manager. That's not the only option, though. The café offers more than a dozen varieties featuring ingredients such as nuts, fresh fruit, crèmes and even a famous meringue topping.

Although pie is the main draw these days, the site was originally used as a stage stop, Indian encampment, and watering hole for miners, drovers and sheepherders. In 1924, a hotel and general store were opened, marking Rock Springs' first commercial use.

According to Balcom, more growth is on the way. "There will be a petting zoo for children and also some festivals," he says, "including a Halloween festival in October."

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