In the heart of Downtown Atlanta lies a pie utopia, a secret oasis of pies that, for some strange reason, not many people are aware exists. If you walk through the doors of the Hyatt Regency, you’ll find the hotel’s restaurant, Sway. Every evening, beginning at 5 p.m., the very center of the restaurant is transformed into a pie shrine. We’re talking a temple of classic apple pies, chocolate cream pies, and pecan pies - but also a selection of different tarts, strudels, parfaits, cookies, and crumbles. And yes, crack out your stretchy pants because this heavenly dream is all you can eat.
Since 2012, Sway’s pie bar has been offering diners pies made in house with seasonal, fresh ingredients while incorporating Southern flavors with a twist. It’s all made in house by Sway’s award-winning Pastry Chef James Gallo, who has also been featured in Dessert Professional Magazine’s 2017 Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America. From the pie crusts to the toppings, the focus has been on utilizing the tastiest and freshest of local ingredients, traditional and modern, to elevate a humble Southern dessert into a mouthwatering and Instagrammable decadent feast. A large variety of ingredients used such as eggs and dairy, to apples, pecans and grits, have been sourced from local partners, growers and farms, and a visit to the pie bar also includes a scoop of the ever-so-delicious local Blue Dome Honey Ice Cream, made with honey from the Hyatt’s rooftop bee garden.
To be honest, the list of rotating flavors is far too long for me to list, without just the list taking up the majority of this article. But some of the tantalizing delights include a creamy peanut butter honey pie, and a wonderfully effervescent and lively mint chess pie made with fresh mint also from the hotel’s rooftop garden. For a truly local creation, you can try the Southern Grits pie, with its dense, grainy texture, and a gentle, unobtrusive sweetness that’s texturally matched with that house-made honey ice cream.
A personal favorite for this journalist’s sweet tooth, though, was Sway’s s’mores pie - a scrumptiously rich and chocolatey pie that still held a light and airy, mousse-like texture. Sitting smug on a buttery Graham cracker base, topped with a shimmering chocolate grazed surface with a layer of melted chewy marshmallows gluing it all together, the pie is not the daintiest by any means, but in terms of campfire delights, it’s perfect.
Other seasonal flavors rotated throughout the year include pumpkin pie, chocolate caramel creme pie, apple raisin crumble, and flamed buttermilk pie, and in the warmer months, parfaits such as a raspberry sweet tea, or lemon strawberry, both bright and colorful served in mason jars offer a sweet and refreshing option.
I know this all sounds too good to be true, but just wait for the price. At the time of publication, this all you can eat treasure trove of complete ecstasy was priced at a ludicrous $9. Yes, for under $10 you can feast on some of the city’s finest baked desserts. You can’t even get a coffee and a slice of cake from most takeout chains for that. So honestly, just race over before the secret’s out – for some sweet Southern hospitality that will satisfy those pie cravings you’ve been unable to suppress, before the rest of America learns of this great Atlanta secret.
Sure there’s a chance you can’t make it to Atlanta, but we have the best pie in every state, so there’s surely one close to you.