Update: We’ve been back to the wonderful Royers Round Top Cafe since I wrote this post over 2 years ago. It’s still as delightful and magical now as it was then. Next week my sister, brother in law and nephew are visiting from Wyoming and I hope to be able to take them on the same road trip that Megan and I took. One filled with mouthwatering delights, curiosities in every corner, warm and welcoming atmospheres and memories of family time feeling full, satisfied and down to earth home grown love.

Megan and Bud the PiemanAfter watching an episode of Hairy Bikers on the History Channel, watch the show, I was immediately fascinated by a trip they took to Royers Round Top Cafe. It seemed like a magical place, full of curiosity, fun and great pie! After doing a little search online I found out that this wonderful place was only an hour drive away from Bryan – College Station, or “just a conversation away”. How on earth had I missed it? My (now 12) year daughter (who’s a budding pastry chef) also watched it and she fell in love with Bud the Pieman, so a trip was definitely in order!

The night before we were going to go, I updated my status on facebook about our exciting plans for lunch in Round Top and I was thrilled to get a response from Bud the Pieman himself! We knew we were off to a great start.

After a beautiful drive, (my GPS even said FM 360 –Scenic), we arrived in the little town of Round Top. With a population of only 77 people, this town is a tourist and afternoon wandering delight. Royers Round Top Cafe was not hard to find. Located on 105 Main Street, the visual appeal of the outside of the restaurant just draws you in. Everywhere you look outside just wets your appetite for the treasures located inside.

BRRTC2One of the first things I noticed as we walked up to the restaurant was the old long 3-drawer beer cooler. Written on the outside in black marker were the words, ‘Beer & Wine are on the honor system c’ept bankers & attorneys which are cash only’! I didn’t even want to stop to grab a beer as I was too excited to see everything else inside but before I opened the door, I had to stop and admire Bud the Pieman chair. It was a throne fit for a king. Without having met the man or even tasted the pies, I knew I was under the Pieman’s spell and I would be a loyal and obediant servant to his highness and more importantly HIS PIES.

BRRTC3When my daughter and I walked in we were not let down. An immediate shock of color, lights, smells, voices and great atmosphere hit us like a pie in the face. There, in all his glory, sat Bud the Pieman, as colorful a man you could met. It was about 2:30 on a Wednesday afternoon and the place was a buzz with customers.

Large brown bags were stacked everywhere, filled with pies just waiting for their new owners to come pick them up. Hardly a spot on the walls or ceiling was not covered with memborabilla, menus, pictures, letters, t-shirts or posters. It was obvious this restaurant had a loyal and large following.

Royers Round Top Cafe InteriorBud the Pieman was larger than life. My daughter got a little nervous, like she was going to sit on Santas knee, at the sight of him. She wanted to give him a big squeeze but her fascination of him and this place held her a back. Soon we walked up to him, introduced ourselves and immediately she stood next to him.

It was as if she had found a brilliantly colored version of Santa. A Santa that provides scrumptious pies all year round. With wide eyes and a huge smile, my daughter was chuffed when after telling Bud that she wanted to bake pies too, he told her that he would help her out by giving her one of his special pie shells. I swear she looked 6 inches taller, she stood up so straight, she was so proud and thrilled that this magical brightly dressed man who represented all things yummy wanted to help her with her own pie making plans.

After chatting for a few minutes and Bud showing us pictures on his phone of a more recent trip by the hosts of Hairy Bikers, Bill and Paul and their families which are from Bryan – College Station, we headed over to our table. Located by a pole, our 2-top table was a sensory overload by itself. Along with all the usual restaurant table top stuff there was a glass with a pair of glasses in it. These guys thought of everything! There was also a little container filled with trivia cards. I laughed when I saw that. I guess, if anyone should get bored with chatting to customers at neighboring tables, or reading all the letters, cards and posters on the walls, looking at all the photos, then maybe you could entertain yourself by answering some of these trivia questions.

Royers Round Top Cafe MenuThe menu itself was an experience. It’s unique and interesting, take a look here and you’ll see what I mean. I couldn’t decide what I wanted as it all sounded so good but I was more interested in reading the whole thing, something I never do in a restaurant. I read every description, every note, every title. Next thing the guy sitting at the table next to us, on the other side of the pole, said, “Get the burger, I promise you won’t be able to finish it and still leave room for pie”.

Sam, as I later found out, had driven out from Austin just for a Royers Round Top Cafe burger and more importantly, pie. His wife was working that day and so he decided to take a road trip and indulge in his favorite food. A regular at the cafe, Sam told me that these impromto trips were a necessity for him and with a chuckle he added that his wife was going to be jealous when she found out, but to make up for it he had bought some pies to take home.

After taking Sams advice, my daughter and I placed our order and then settled in to study the pie menu. With choices like, Bud’s Butterscotch Chip Pie, Junk Berry Pie…aka Crack Berry Pie, D’ette’s Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie OMG!, Dr. Karen’s Pumpkin Pie and many others we finally settled on ordering a slice of JB’s White Chocolate Macademia Nut Pie and Ann Criswell’s Pecan Pie OMG! We also decided to order the whole pie version of Not my Mom’s Apple Pie OMG! and a Bud’s Chocolate Chip Pie OMG! to take home with us.

Royers Round Top Cafe Pecan PieWith our food delivered Sam left, brown paper bag containing pies in hand and Marie and her husband John soon sat down. Almost immediately they began chatting with us. It was as if just sitting at this table by the pole required casual chats with neighboring customers, you just couldn’t help yourself. We ooh’d and aah’d at the pictures and letters covering the pole, we listened and told stories about how we had found the cafe and we compared items on the menu. I soon found out that these guys too were hooked. After calling in their pie order they traveled from Houston to have a late lunch and pick up their pies. This afternoon adventure had become a new tradition for them and Thanksgiving dinner was no longer complete without Bud the Pieman pies.

Our food was everything Sam had said it would be. Delicious, filling and lot’s of it but dragging myself away from it, I knew I had to leave room for pie. Still in amazement at the great atmosphere, fun chats and amazing smells, we soon found out from our waitress that ordering pie without ice cream would cost us more. Bud the Pieman knows best and pie without ice cream will cost ya! If my daughter wasn’t in love before she sure was now and she promptly ordered our pies with ice cream rather then be punished for not eating something so delicious.

OMG! The pie was so much more than we expected. We knew it was going to be great, we just had no idea how great it ended up being. It tasted and made me feel like I was sitting at my mothers kitchen table in Ireland, feeling loved and warmed by sweet smells and richness. We both felt like a warm, loving blanket was wrapped around us. My daughter kept smiling and telling me how much she loved me and how much she enjoyed our afternoon adventure! She talked about pies she wanted to make with her special pie shell, filled with jelly beans, honey and brown sugar. We could have stayed there all afternoon, wrapped in Royers Round Top Cafe covered walls, smelling sweet pies and enjoying all the conversations, however, we had been tipped off by Bud the Pieman about the cafe’s new coffee bar, breakfast pie concept, Royers Pie Haven and we wanted to take the opportunity to check it out too.

097Reluctantly, we left Marie and John and our wonderful pole side table and went to say goodbye to Bud. Equipted with our own brown bag of pies, full tummies and smiles on our faces we thanked Bud for his amazing hospitality and my daughter got the chance to give the hug to Bud that she had wanted to do but didn’t have the nerve to do when we first arrived. Bud followed us out and pointed out the direction we needed to go to check out Royers Pie Haven, which is across the street in the new Henkel Square Market. While outside and with Bud sitting on his throne, he told us about some of the amazing things they do, as if we weren’t already amazed.

Not only do they have this jewel of a cafe and the early morning Royers Pie Haven but they also provide a thriving mail order service throughout the country for their now-I-know famous pies. By going to their site (which is a really fun read) visitors can order their own pies. Much and all that I know that I can, and will, visit their cafe, I was thrilled to find out that I can order their pies and have them delivered to my home or my clients homes. What a treat! Visitors to their site can order 1 pie, several pies, 3 months worth of pies, even a lifetime of monthly pie deliveries. Take a moment and watch the CBS Sunday Morning segment with Bill Giest about “Pie-For-Life!” I’m convinced, Heaven just moved to Round Top!

They also provide an amazing service called Operation: Desert Pie which was just featured on KBTX Channel 3’s by Steve Fullhart. Visitors to their cafe or site can give loved ones currently abroad in the service “The Ultimate Slice of Home”. If your husband, wife, son, daughter, niece, nephew or anyone you love are currently serving abroad you can send them a comforting piece of home but not only will your purchase be welcomed by your loved one but a percentage of the purchase price will go to a worthy charity, Fisher House Foundation. What a beautiful thing to do! Fisher House Foundation provides free or low cost housing for our veterans and military families who are receiving treatment at military medical centers.

However, in true Royers Round Top Cafe style, they can also provide you with a list of soldiers, just in case you don’t know of any yourself, that would love and have not yet received “The Ultimate Slice of Home”, here’s a video with more details. Can you imagine how a soldier, far from home would feel, if they received a home made, well loved pie, from a complete stranger who did it just because they appreciate everything that a solider is doing and everything that a solider is missing and from their actions allow us to enjoy and live in freedom? Yup, tear jerk moment! So just do it!!! Excuses are not allowed!

099So with our visit with Bud the Pieman over and many thank you’s later, my daughter and I headed off to check out the new Royers Pie Haven. After putting our pies in the car and opening a button on our jeans we headed down the road. I didn’t believe that I could be more in love with the cafe and the whole concept until I saw the new cafe. OMG! That place shouted, no screamed, early morning coffee and a piece of pie. Mix match tables and chairs covered in squishy brightly colored cushions, beautiful outdoor lighting and jars filled with aromatic cranberries and lavender, I could feel the excitement brew up again.

After doing our now common Oooh’s and Ahh’s, and noticing a guy walk up the steps behind us, my daughter and I walked in the door. Immediately we were hit with the smell. It was the most amazing, welcoming, beautiful fragrance I’d ever experienced. So much so, that right inside the door I heard, “See, the look on her face!”. A woman I had never met before, had noticed us walk in and I can only guess she saw my reaction when I opened the door. Rachel, whose name I found out later, was a pre-holiday regular and she hugged me when she found out that we had both purchased the same pies for the holidays. Hugging and chatting with people I had never met before seemed to be a staple in the Royers world. She then mentioned something about asking my husband if he had ever been there before.

Husband? What husband? This poor guy who had walked in the door behind me was magically hitched to me. One look at each other and we both laughed, not because he wasn’t cute, because believe me he was, but more because we both knew that we had been sucked into the Royers Round Top Cafe fun atmosphere. Where everyone is your friend and we all belong to a common club.

Blubbering with a stuffed belly, I told Rachel that I had never met this guy before and we were only there to check out the new location. That we had already been to the cafe, eaten, bought our pies and we just wanted to see what Royers Pie Haven was all about. As if an old friend, Rachel hugged me, we laughed and we shared what we/I thought what our favorite pies are. Again I felt like I could just wrap all these people up in a big Royers bow and call them family.

100Having witnessed our rather funny conversation and subsequent hugs, Angie, an employee of Royers Pie Haven popped out. It didn’t take me long to learn just how amazing Angie was. She was filled with so much pride for her job and so much information about what was available to buy that it oozed out of her. There were no hard sales, just a love of giving a customer the whole experience. Even after she learned that we were not only stuffed but we had already bought what we wanted to take home and we really weren’t there to provide business but just to enjoy the experience, she took the time to show us around.

When we stood outside and I mentioned how much of a nut I am about light fixtures and how much I love the uniqueness of the ones I spotted while outside, she promptly told me that I needed to follow her back inside and see the shoe light fixture in the back room. Yet, yet, yet again I was not disappointed. Angie showed me a light fixture in the back room that I had previously missed. It was beautiful and exactly what I loved and for the first time I initated the hug. I had been completely swept up by the whole Royers experience and I needed to share it.

Without a doubt we will be back. We’ll be there to hang out with Angie at Royers Pie Haven and drink coffee and eat some Really Big Jumpo Muffins or maybe some Whoopie Pie and then after a leisurely stroll around this great community we’ll have lunch at Royers Round Top Cafe and eat pie while visiting with a modern day Santa, Bud the Pieman.

Thanksgiving, Christmas, any holiday, or just because, will never be the samewithout a pie from Royers Round Top Cafe or Royers Pie Haven, sealed with home cooking love direct from Bud the Pieman, the Royer family and staff like Angie, we as a family will always feel the love in any of their pies. Thank you Bill and Paul of Hairy Bikers for introducing America to a real treasure in Texas.