Lou’s Pies is the winner of the best pie for Montana according to a Mental Floss article listing the best pie in each state.
The award is under Black Cat Bake Shop because they sell Lou’s Pies.
Lewis Summerlot started baking when he was 9-years-old, began Kay’s Pies in 2003, then became solo baker in 2007. The business started in a camper at Woodside doing about 12 pies each weekend then he credits a Thanksgiving article in the Ravalli Republic with bumping his business up to 70 pies a week.
“I’m starting my 18th year at Hamilton Farmers Market and I sell to Black Cat Bake Shop in Missoula,” Summerlot said. “Last August I went in the owner said, ‘Congratulations, your pies just won ‘Best Pies in the state of Montana’ on MentalFloss.com.’ I said, ‘Wow! I didn’t know I was even in a contest.’ I was clueless.”
Summerlot read the description at Mental Floss.com and found the review under Black Cat Bake Shop where the review said, “Known for their stupendous pies.”
“My name is not mentioned but those are my pies,” Summerlot said.
Jayci Johnson, manager, of Black Cat Bake Shop in Missoula confirmed the partnership and praised Lou’s Pies.
“He takes a big load off our production by doing pretty much all the pies that we sell,” Johnson said. “We do special ones for Thanksgiving and Christmas but we offer pies all year round and Lew is like our sole provider for those. Pies are the one thing we don’t make here in the shop.”
Johnson said the pies are “very popular.”
“Last year he won best pie in Montana,” she said. “He is listed under us but we get our huckleberry pies from Lew. We sell pies like crazy all year round.”
Summerlot said his philosophy is to make a good pie.
“I don’t make gourmet pies,” he said. “I make a good pie, people really like them. Huckleberry pie is my signature pie, it is really a big seller.”
The MentalFloss review said, “The huckleberry pie earns raves for its effortless balance of sweet and tart flavors.”
Summerlot credits people who have helped him.
“My daughter Rayma has helped since she was age 11,” he said. “Tom Dunbar rented a space to me for next to nothing, electricity included, out at Woodside.”
Summerlot spends days, months and years perfecting his recipes. He said the secret ingredient for making great pies is his crust.
Most people in the Bitterroot Valley have tasted his buttery, flaky crusts as he makes and sells the 750 crusts and many tops to the Ravalli County Museum for their Apple Day celebration, known as the “Biggest Bake Sale Under the Big Sky.”
“I sell a lot of pies every month of the year,” Summerlot said. “It has become quite good. I have a wholesale license. I would love to do fundraisers at the holidays. The name is known and people raising money for their organization could do well.”
He has a recipe for business success.
“I think for success people just need a little bit of space,” he said. “People have helped me and the customers are raving over these pies. People absolutely love them.”
Summerlot makes and sells blackberry, Marion berry, peach, rhubarb, strawberry-rhubarb, pecan, cherry, apple and huckleberry pies. He also makes cheesecakes – huckleberry swirl, raspberry swirl, chocolate swirl and plain. He also will quarter the cheesecakes making a variety cheesecake.
Summerlot guesses he’s made over 80,000 pies.
Customers could make the drive to Missoula, to Black Cat Bake Shop on Broadway, call and place an order or simply buy one at the Hamilton Farmers Market on Saturday. Lou’s Pies is at space number three at the corner of Bedford and Third. He has a vegetable stand on each side and has added little trailer for transporting the pies.
Taste and see that Lou’s Pies are “stupendous.”
For more information contact Lewis Summerlot at 406-369-1638.