The Pie Safe

Taking a bite of homemade pie is like taking a trip home. One taste of tender, flaky pie crust makes us think of our sweet, apron-clad grandma bustling about in her kitchen, pressing dough into a pan with her gently weathered hands, infusing love into her baked creations.

 

Pie has inhabited a special place at the American table, and at our family gatherings, for so long that it’s become more than a mere dessert item; it’s become a feeling.

 

There’s a bakery in Joplin that captures the essence of all that pies have to offer: the delicate crust, the sweet fillings, the warm comfort that you feel with each bite. This is The Pie Safe.

 

 

The modern exterior of this pie shop belies its vintage decor, with its faux, pressed-tin ceiling, crystal chandelier, tasseled drapes, and paintings with gilded frames.

 

 

It feels like stepping into grandma’s house, the perfect setting in which to enjoy a slice of pie and a cup of tea.

 

 

The Pies

The display case at The Pie Safe is stocked with a variety of 4-inch mini pies, an ideal size for sampling. On my first visit there, I selected four pies to bring home to share with my family: (clockwise, from the left) Pumpkin, Signature Blackberry, White Chocolate with Mountain Rose Apples (a seasonal pie topped with slices of an apple variety that has rose-colored flesh), and Vivian’s Pecan.

 

On a separate occasion, I brought home the Christmas Key Lime mini pie, with infused candied cranberries and Chantilly cream,

 

and the Good Cherry mini pie, because my daughter loves cherry pie.

 

 

Which one did I like the best? Geez, that’s like asking which one of my children is my favorite. Their unique qualities make them difficult to compare to one another, but they are all wonderful in their own ways (both the pies, and my kids).

 

But one thing is for sure: The crust on these babies is second to none (the pies, not my kids…I hope). Its buttery flakiness provides a solid foundation for the variety of delectable flavors that The Pie Safe offers.

 

Tasty Teas

The Victorian-inspired theme inside The Pie Safe makes it a nice spot to have a spot…of tea. The Pie Safe serves loose leaf teas from Savoy Tea Co. of Fayetteville, Arkansas, which sells fine teas from all over the world. You can even buy some in a charming decorative tin to take home with you.

 

 

When my husband, Travis, and I recently stopped by The Pie Safe, we ordered the tea flavors of the day; he ordered a cup of Savoy’s spicy Cinnamon Orange tea, which was served hot, while I ordered the yummy iced Caramel Buttercup tea, which I got from this beverage dispenser in this ornate niche.

 

 

Lunch

You might think that, with all this pie and tea talk, that dessert is the only thing that’s served at The Pie Safe. But you would be wrong. This is a popular meeting place for lunch, too.

 

You can choose from chicken salad on a croissant or, if you are watching carbs, you can order it served the keto way – over romaine lettuce. In fact, there are many keto options on the menu here, both for lunch and for dessert.

 

But if you’re not watching carbs, try one of The Pie Safe’s rotating sandwich flavors, like the mouthwatering Turkey Panini, with homemade cranberry sauce (made with orange and pecans), Brie, spinach, and garlic aioli. Or, if you can’t resist eating at The Pie Safe without consuming something containing a scrumptious crust, try the Chicken Pot Pie, a 5-inch pie stuffed with chicken, celery, and carrots.

 

 

Or try the savory quiche, filled with artichokes, spinach, bacon, and cheddar.

 

 

It was so tasty, even my non-quiche-loving husband liked it.

 

Parties and Catering

If you are interested in having a tea party at The Pie Safe, complete with a real tea serving set, contact the shop for more details. If you’re planning a party at your own home and want to serve some goodies from The Pie Safe, then take a look at the special-order menu, which includes whole pies, 3-inch event pies, hand pies, blossoms, and cream puffs. Follow the Pie Safe on Facebook to find out when special treats become available, like the to-die-for sugarplums filled with buttercream.

 

 

Hours

Currently, The Pie Safe is open every week, Wednesday through Friday; occasionally it will be open on a Saturday, so check out its current posts on Facebook, or call before you go.

 

When you’re craving the comfort of an American pie, stop by The Pie Safe.

 

It’s the next best thing to your grandma’s kitchen.

 

 

The Pie Safe is located at 2129 South Main Street. Click here to follow it on Facebook. 

 

To read more about my adventures in the area, visit JoplinMOLife.com.

 

 

Home for the Holidays

It’s like HGTV meets the History channel. Home for the Holidays, a tour of historic homes in Joplin, is inspirational and educational – and a tad voyeuristic, allowing our curious eyes to peek inside the walls of these well-crafted, one-of-a kind structures.

 

Held every other year, Home for the Holidays is organized by Historic Murphysburg Preservation, an organization that holds various events throughout the year at historic locations, opening them up to the public so that people can experience the richness of Joplin’s history in an immersive way.

 

This year’s Home for the Holidays tour was held on December 14 and included nine residences plus the tour headquarters, which was housed at Unity of Joplin – another historic structure. Tickets were available online or at Unity of Joplin, and participants received an informational brochure and map.

 

The tour included three different Joplin neighborhoods: Murphysburg, North Heights, and downtown Joplin.

 

The tour ran from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., a reasonable amount of time to walk through the houses, listen to the history of each location, and travel between stops. I started the tour about 2 p.m., and I was pushing it to finish by closing time. There’s just so much to soak in.

The Tour

 

Here’s a breakdown of the 2019 Home for the Holidays Tour:

 

Unity of Joplin, 204 North Jackson Avenue

Serving as the headquarters and ticket location for the tour, this building represents the Spanish Mission architectural style, and was built in 1911 as Calvary Baptist Church.

 

 

The Woman’s Club of Joplin moved into the building in 1930, and Unity of Joplin purchased it in 2012 and continues to occupy it today.

 

 

What struck me most about the interior are the timber ceiling beams and the breathtaking stained-glass windows, which fill the worship area with natural light.

 

Murphysburg

 

The following four homes are located in Murphysburg, the first residential neighborhood established by the founders of Joplin. Many architectural styles are represented in this picturesque, 53-acre neighborhood, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (If you would like to explore this area in depth, here is a walking tour to use as a guide.)

 

 

Henderson House, 518 South Sergeant Avenue

Charles G. Henderson, President of S.C. Henderson Wholesale Grocery Co., built this home in 1917. With its dentil molding on the roofline, and gabled dormers, this home is an example of the Colonial Revival style.

 

 

These decorative windows added an eye-catching element to the main stairwell.

 

 

 

Frye/BaSom House, 318 South Sergeant Avenue

I have to admit that this has always been one of my favorite homes in Joplin. It just seems to exude pride in its alluring beauty.

 

 

Can you believe that it was built for just $5,000 back in 1891? That would be about $141,000 in 2019, and considering the craftsmanship I observed inside, that’s quite a steal, even by today’s standards!

 

 

The architectural style of this house is Second Empire, also known as Modern French, which was popular from 1865 to 1900. The home was built by Charles C. Frye, who moved to Joplin from New York to invest in the mining industry. In 1898, it was purchased by attorney Fred BaSom, who later organized Joplin Telephone Co., the first phone company in the city.

 

While there are many aspects of this home that I love, the coolest feature is the staircase hidden behind this mirror in the main hall.

 

 

Ta-da!

 

 

 

Fischer House, 315 South Sergeant Avenue

Built by Julius Fischer in the 1880s, this is the oldest home in Murphysburg.

 

 

The original structure is a simple farmhouse style, and Tudor elements were added later. These photos show the different exteriors over time.

 

Here’s a notable (yet not-so-grand) fact about Julius Fischer: In 1890, he lost the Jasper County Clerk election to Mrs. Annie Baxter, making her the first female county clerk in the United States – and an important Joplinite. (Interesting coincidence: I’m typing this at the Joplin Public Library right now, and I just looked up to see a bust of Mrs. Annie Baxter in the Post Memorial Library section.)

 

 

Geddes House, 301 South Sergeant Avenue

This ornate beauty is an example of Queen Anne architecture.

 

 

It was built in the late 1890s by James I. Geddes, a newspaper owner and publisher, as well as an attorney, and an investment broker. Geesh! That’s one busy man. I hope he had time to enjoy the intricately detailed woodwork in the many rooms of his grand home.

 

 

I sure did.

 

North Heights

 

The next three homes are located in the North Heights neighborhood, located north of the Murphysburg district. Development in this residential area began after 1891, when this land was sold to the City of Joplin by the Granby Mining Co. (Every year in October, this charming neighborhood holds the popular North Heights Porchfest, a laid-back musical festival, which you can read more about here.)

 

 

Rogers House, 536 North Wall Avenue

Designed by esteemed local architect Austin Allen, this home was built in 1905 by Frederick H. Rogers, who worked in the lumber business, then moved to Joplin to become involved in the mining industry.

 

 

The interior of the home contains spectacular examples of hand carved woodwork throughout, including the stunning staircase,

 

 

and the mahogany ceiling beams and paneling in the dining room.

 

 

 

Beckham-Richardson House, 603 North Pearl Avenue

While the original owner and date of construction of this home are unknown, the current owner has embraced the unique interior elements of this home with a sense of whimsy.

 

 

It was fun exploring the nooks and crannies of this home and discovering surprises.

 

 

 

Cotton House, 602 N. Wall Avenue

Built by John A. Cotton in 1918, this house offers a fine example of a craftsman interior.

 

 

I liked how the current owners’ clean, modern decor paired well with the simple, yet exquisite, woodwork throughout the home.

 

 

Downtown Joplin

 

The next two residences on the tour were apartments located in downtown Joplin.

 

 

R&S Chevrolet Building, 214 East 4th Street

This building, constructed in 1909, is an example of Late-19th/Early-20th-Century Revival architecture.

 

 

It was built by Century Auto Co., which became R&S Motors in 1926 (owned by Bill Robertson and Winston Spurgeon).

 

When you see the apartments inside the building today, it’s hard to imagine that a motor company once operated here. Apartment #1A on the ground level was opened up for the tour, wowing visitors with its chic, urban interior design.

 

 

It truly looked like something from the pages of Architectural Digest.

 

 

 

Empire Block Building, 524 South Main Street

The next residence was a palatial two-story apartment which occupies the second and third levels of the Empire Block Building, located in the Joplin’s Downtown Sunshine Lamp Historic District.

 

 

Designed by architect Thomas R. Bellas, it was built in 1900 by brothers Charles and Oscar DeGraff, operators of Empire Mine.

 

 

The highlight of this apartment was the glass inserted into the floor of the upper-level walkway, allowing the light from above to filter through to the lower level, creating a bright space throughout.

 

 

It’s such a neat design concept, although I admit I felt a bit disoriented walking on a see-through floor.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed getting the opportunity to explore these homes, each of them brimming with history, and I’m already looking forward to the next Home for the Holidays tour.

 

 

Learn more about future events in Joplin’s historical districts on Historic Murphysburg Preservation’s website by clicking here, or on its Facebook page by clicking here.

 

To read more about my adventures in the area, visit JoplinMOLife.com.

Zinc Coffee

I’m a sucker for windows. I crave natural light. Anywhere I go, I immediately seek out a spot near a window.

 

I especially need to be near one when writing. Being able to peer at the ever-shifting clouds, watch the movement of the wind through the trees, or follow the graceful flight of a flock of birds helps to spark a thought or two whenever I experience writer’s block.

 

 

So does coffee. Not just any coffee. Watery brown liquid mixed from powder will not do. I need the strong stuff, an elixir that is carefully crafted and not haphazardly mixed.

 

And when I drink delicious coffee while bathed in natural light, my soul sings.

 

Zinc Coffee is one place where I can capture this feeling.

 

 

The garage doors of this former service station have been converted into windows that reach from the ceiling to about a foot above the floor, allowing natural light to dance over the simple elements of the interior: the rough concrete floor, the warm, honey-colored wooden tables and chairs, and the crisp, white brick walls.

 

 

The effect is an environment that appears clean, bright, and cheerful, even on the gloomiest of days; a perfect spot in which to enjoy a thoughtfully crafted beverage.

 

 

The Drinks

 

Like the decor, the drink menu here is simple. The focus here is on the quality of the coffee itself, and Zinc uses beans from Onyx Coffee Lab, a Arkansas roaster, and Archetype Coffee, based in Omaha.

 

 

In addition to espressos and lattes, Zinc offers drip coffee and pour-overs. Pour-overs are individually made by pouring hot water over ground coffee in filter-lined cups. Pour-overs bring out the subtle flavors of the coffee, making them a great option for coffee connoisseurs with highly discerning palates.

 

I’d never tried a pour-over before, so I ordered the Ethiopia Bishan Fugu at Zinc which, according to the pour-over menu, presents subtle notes of lime, Concord grape, kombucha, and dark chocolate.

 

I was able to identify the taste of dark chocolate (I can recognize chocolate in anything), but that was the only flavor my unskilled taste buds could distinguish. I guess I’m used to my coffee flavors shouting at me rather than being delicate.

 

I found the robust quality that I crave in Zinc’s Lavender Latte, which was accented with a touch of herbal sweetness.

 

 

My husband Travis tried one of Zinc’s creative seasonal drinks, the Campfire Cappuccino. This dreamy cool-weather drink, served with torched marshmallows,  is made by soaking honey graham crackers in steamed milk to extract the flavor, then adding white and dark chocolate.

 

 

The staff here treats coffee like a science, and the Campfire Cappuccino is one of its successful lab experiments.

 

If dairy isn’t your thing, you can choose oat or almond milk to put in your coffee instead. If you’re watching your caffeine intake, you can order decaf espresso. If you prefer to have something besides coffee, Zinc offers loose leaf Rishi Tea, matcha drinks, smoothies, and golden lattes (made with tumeric, ginger, and steamed milk).

 

 

There’s also a small selection of pastries to snack on, as well as a variety of Mylk Labs oatmeal. And if you want a cross between a meal and a cup of coffee, try the decadent coffee shake.

 

 

The Space

 

Zinc opened in 2018 on Joplin’s historic Main Street.

 

 

Being housed in a former service station adds character to the interior. There’s the main room, the converted body shop, where you go to place your order. It’s filled with ample seating.

 

Next to that is a smaller room (the old office/waiting room, perhaps?) that contains more seating, as well as the barista counter – the coffee lab.

 

 

 

In the rear of the building, there’s an additional room that’s available to book.

 

 

Zinc is an excellent venue for meetings, study groups, or for mobile workers, like me. You can place your order at the counter, get the password for the secure Wi-Fi, then find a seat and start your meeting or project. Someone will bring your drink to you. Not having to wait at the counter for your individually crafted beverage is a nice perk of choosing Zinc.

 

 

Additional Perks

Fur babies are welcome at Zinc, too. Bring them with you inside the coffee shop, or let them lounge next to you under the covered patio when the weather is nice.

 

If you’re short on time, you can always grab a coffee from the drive-through, which is actually a door that your server will come through to take your order.

 

 

The drive-through process, as well as the parking situation, can be a bit confusing for a first-timer, so here’s a map that illustrates both.

 

 

Another question you may have is, “Why the name Zinc?” It’s a name that pays homage to the mineral that was mined in the area a century ago, and which brought prosperity to Joplin’s economy and helped construct our city.

 

Today, Zinc Coffee serves the fuel that sustains Joplin’s most important modern resource.

 

Its people.

 

 

Zinc Coffee is located at 1825 S. Main Street. Click here to visit its website, here to follow it on Facebook, and here to follow it on Instagram.

 

To read more about my adventures in the area, visit JoplinMOLife.com.