Neighborhoood Spotlight: Julian
Mom’s pies are just like grandma used to make
ASST. FEATURE EDITOR
Tucked away in the Cuyamaca mountains lies the mining town of Julian, California, known for its former gold rush days, historic buildings and famous pies. One cannot possibly return from a trip to Julian without bringing a pie back home. On a misty, cold fall morning the smell of freshly baked apple pie fills the air and you know that you have arrived at Mom’s Pie House.
Situated among a grocery and deli and locally owned restaurants lies this quaint pie shop that was founded in 1984 as Julian’s first pie shop. The bakery opened in the old Julian Cafe building and measured a mere 10 feet wide and 22 feet long. Armed with a small electric oven and a counter-mounted peeler, Mom’s broke out onto the pie scene. In 1987, the business expanded to include a larger kitchen and seating area. Anita Nichols is “the mom” who opened the shop with the dream of making delicious, homemade pies using Julian’s famous apples. Julian is home to many apple orchards and Mom’s takes advantage of this during the fall harvest season.
Mom’s cozy log cabin façade makes it stand out from the many pie shops in Julian. Two large display windows in the entrance showcasing freshly baked pies entice people as they walk by the shop. As you walk in, large display cases are filled with all of Mom’s creations including apple crumb, apple boysenberry, apple cherry, pecan and pumpkin pies, among others. You can even top any pie off with fresh whipped cream, cinnamon- or vanilla-flavored ice cream. Mom’s ensures that the quality of the pies lives up to any grandma’s standards. All pies are baked on the premises each day and can be purchased whole or by the slice. For those who aren’t pie lovers, Mom’s also offers a variety of homemade cookies, brittle and chocolate as well as soups and sandwiches.
Mom’s attempts to recreate the warm and welcoming atmosphere that has people reminiscing about their days at grandma’s house. The homey space allows people to sit at wooden booths or at the large communal tables decorated with wildflower-filled mason jars. The staff is hospitable and friendly, offering clients their opinions on their favorites.
Due to the popularity of Mom’s, the weekends can be the busiest times to stop in for a visit. The wait in line to purchase pie or sit down at a table can take time during the weekend and might deter people from making a stop. However, all clients are eventually rewarded as the line moves quickly.
Mom’s famous flakey crusts and not-too-sweet fillings are what have allowed the shop to acquire devoted regulars. The neighborly atmosphere and passionate staff continually impress locals and tourists alike. Mom’s also offers cooking classes for those who want to perfect pie crusts and recreate Mom’s signature apple pie. The shop is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays through Fridays, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays.