In the August 2007 issue of Midwest Living Magazine, the editor so wisely stated, "To know a community is to know its pie." Dick and I are continually searching for the best pie as we travel across the country, so we have learned that one must veer off the Interstate onto the backroads to talk to the locals who live in the small towns to find it. We have concluded that the best tasting pie is in our own backyard! In fact, it was chosen for the distinct honor of being one of three restaurants in the Brainerd/Baxter area chosen to be in the "57 Restaurants Worth the Drive" feature in the Minnesota Monthly Magazine July 2007 issue.
"The Barn", a restaurant located on Washington Street just a block from Brainerd's landmark water tower, opened in 1945 and was owned by a family from Iowa. In 1970, Gary Kinney's parents bought it. For almost twenty years his mom made the pies and helped run the business with his dad. In 1989, Gary bought the restaurant and started making the pies himself. The pies are stored in the original pie case to entice new customers to try a slice and be forever hooked. See the old-time tables and booths through the glass of the pie case? There are four of them along one wall and three on the other side of the room, as well as two small two-seaters along a third wall. You can also choose to sit at one of nine stools at the counter. The Barn has retained its small size throughout the years, which gives it its small town coziness where regular customers, as well as newcomers, quickly become family.
It was 9:30 this morning when Dick and I shared bites of this banana cream pie with mile-high meringue, still warm from the oven, after eating breakfast at The Barn. Rhubarb custard and sour cream raisin are other favorites of mine, but the coconut, lemon, apple, cherry, blueberry, and pumpkin are equally yummy. Gary bakes twenty pies early each morning and increases that number to thirty during the summer months. In addition to pies, The Barn, which is part of the original Maid-Rite franchises, offers menu selections as well as daily specials, homemade soups, and Maid-Rites. A "Maid-Rite" is finely ground, specially seasoned, ground beef on a bun... like a sloppy joe but without the sauce. It is served with mustard, pickles or chopped onions.
One of my mottos is: "Of all the paths you take in life... make sure a few of them are dirt." Translated that means to me that we need to slow our pace to be able to discover the true gems that so easily can be hidden from our view in life's hustle and bustle. The Barn is one such gem that you must not miss during your visit to the Brainerd Lakes Area.
5:30am – 4:00pm Monday through Friday
5:30am – 3:00pm on Saturday