In Arkansas, you’re never far from a fried pie. Locals say the state’s best can be found in a parking lot in small-town Hot Springs. You can’t miss it: a food truck painted like the summer sky, robin’s-egg blue with fluffy white clouds. Blue-and-white checked flags ripple on the roof, and pots filled with greenery flank the spot where the magic happens. Walk up, and the window slides open, releasing the smells of fried dough and fresh fillings, like spiced apples and savory peppers. One sniff, and you won’t be able to get your hands on one fast enough.
Morrison’s Fried Pies opened in 2017 as the retirement project of Edgar Morrison, who is almost always at the register with a big smile and a story to tell. For his family, the legacy of fried pies runs deep. He worked in his father’s bakery while growing up in Texas and remembers them frying pies together. Morrison moved to Hot Springs in 1984 and opened the Ambrosia Bakery, but these particular pastries weren’t on the menu. It wasn’t until decades later that he recalled the filled pies of his youth and went searching for his dad’s recipes, which he found fading in a forgotten box. He bought a fryer and ingredients and started making pies from the 100-year-old recipes he’d rescued.
What has grown in the years since is more than Morrison could have hoped for. “It’s just gotten better and better,” he says. Business is good, and customers are loyal, visiting regularly to ask about their favorites and to find out when seasonal specials—like Pumpkin Cheesecake or Cajun Pie (filled with crawfish, andouille sausage, peppers, and onions)—will return to the menu.
The long lists of varieties are emblazoned on the side of the truck, and they come in three categories: meaty, fruity, and cheesecakey. Bestsellers are apple, peach, and chocolate, but savory pies like the Natchitoches (ground beef, onions, tomatoes, jalapeños, and Louisiana hot sauce) and the Enchilada (ground beef, black beans, corn, and enchilada sauce) also have enthusiastic fans.
Morrison’s venture has become the little fried-pie truck that could. It’s also a family affair: He and his son, Timothy, run the shop, and his wife, Teresa, makes most of the meat fillings. They fry them from scratch daily and regularly sell out. “No second-day pies here,” Morrison promises. When you visit, if you find yourself overwhelmed by choice, he might ask, “Lunch or dessert?” and point you toward something tasty, a golden, flaky, tender crust peeking out of a crisp white wrapper. It’s a fried pie with history, and it’s undeniably delicious. That’s the Morrison’s magic.
facebook.com/Morrisonsfriedpies17 , 501-609-5864, 1333 Albert Pike Rd., Hot Springs, AR 71913