Tomato Pie Cafe, Lititz, Pa.

I couldn’t understand how anyone could tolerate a tomato pie, or why someone would want to squelch her business prospects by naming a cafe after one. Then I tried the tomato pie at the Tomato Pie Cafe in Lititz. Twice: I also ordered it for dessert. It is remarkable.  

For those as lost as I was, let me bear witness: it is a savoury pie. It is not a custard pie (like pumpkin); it has a buttery, herbed crust, a generous melting of oily cheese, big hearty chunks of mild tomato (and sometimes extras like spinach or artichoke), and I suspect some dollops of ricotta. About the only thing bad I can say about it is that, unless you get it right out of the oven, it’s served warm, not hot. And sometimes the juicy innards inevitably sog up the flaky bottom. But this is like faulting Jesus for having a foreign accent. It is a heavenly pie.  

Regal rooibos lattes at Tomato Pie Cafe

Regal rooibos lattes at Tomato Pie Cafe

How appropriate, then, that I have spent several lovely Sundays at the Tomato Pie Cafe, sitting at a high table by the window, or at the counter, in the garden or blinking in the sunlight of the second floor balcony, gazing reverently across the street at the stone buildings beside historic Lititz Springs Park. In addition to sandwiches with beets and breakfast specials with sausage and fennel, or buttermilk quinoa pancakes with whipped sage butter and maple syrup, Tomato Pie Cafe knows how to make a latte. In fact, they will make one with rich red rooibos (ROY-bus) tea that is fragrant and silky and a fraction of the caffeine.  

Brunch is my love language. Few things dismay me more than a lauded local joint with all the trappings of a fancy restaurant (price, decor, attitude) and nondescript food. And few things make me more grateful than wholesome, interesting breakfast options, served with casual consideration in a quirky house. Tomato Pie Cafe wins my (totally unofficial and just now instated) On Orange Restaurant of the Year Award.