DUTCH HAVEN - America's Best Shoo-Fly Pie by Brad Igou Around 1970, Roy’s business started to decline, and so did the property. Saving it from an uncertain future, it was purchased by the current owner, Paul Stahl. By 1993, the interior had become a craft cooperative. Even though the restaurant no longer operated, the shoo-fly pies that were the key to Dutch Haven’s fame were still being made with the same famous recipe.
isitors have been coming to Lancaster County by traveling Route 30 for literally hundreds of years. But for over 50 years, a very special building has signaled their arrival in Amish Country. It’s been around long enough that folks tell their grandchildren about it. It has a claim on being the area’s oldest visitor landmark. Most importantly, it’s the “place that made shoofly pie famous.” That building is the landmark Dutch Haven windmill, with its revolving arms still beckoning travelers to stop and come inside.
Tourism first started to grow in Lancaster in the 1940’s, and since many visitors came from New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia, they drove right by Dutch Haven, and stopped in to have some of the legendary pie. And who knows? Maybe Doris Day or Dinah Shore had even stopped by prior to their recording of the song “Shoo-Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy,” a song also recorded by Stan Kenton and Guy Lombardo.
Many people make Dutch Haven a stop on their regular visits to Amish Country. One man said he took his first shoo-fly pie home and ate the entire pie in one sitting! Another visitor tasted the sample and asked what it was. It was the shoo-fly pie. The visitor responded in shock, “Why it can’t be. I don’t like shoofly pie!” Over the years, a frequent visitor to the weekly Manheim Auto Auction was also a frequent visitor at Dutch Haven to pick up a pie. And you can send a pie to yourself or a friend virtually anywhere in the USA. They hold up quite well, and taste like they’re hot out of the oven after a little warming in the microwave. I decided to put the above comments to the test. First, I took a pie to some friends who are not fans of shoo-fly pies, but I encouraged them to give it a try. All three of them did, and told me in great surprise, “This is the first shoo-fly pie I’ve eaten that I really like.”
With a history that goes back to the very beginnings of tourism in the County, the building is rich in memories both for visitors and for local residents. Dutch Haven opened, without the windmill, in the early 1920’s. At that time, it was a small luncheonette, and continued to operate as such when the new owner, Roy Weaver, purchased it in 1946, and Dutch Haven’s life as a full service restaurant officially began. The fame of the restaurant grew with his wife’s delicious shoo-fly pies, an unusual dessert that was new to most people who stopped by to eat. Indeed, shoo-fly pies were virtually unknown until Dutch Haven opened and served the pies warm, topped with whipped cream. Meanwhile, Roy topped the building itself with its famous landmark windmill.
furniture --- corner cupboards, pie safes, chests, and shelves are all available. Gift and decorating items range from Amish woodcrafts to jams and jellies, potholders to copper crafts, and T-shirts to stunning pottery.
Gradually, the store expanded to what it is today, specializing in Amish furniture and over 10,000 unique gift items. Fortunately, the walls on the inside of the windmill still contain many of the original decorations and paintings from the “old days.” The paintings were by an artist named Vince DeHaven, his last name being an odd coincidence to say the least! Other reminders of Dutch Haven’s past remain as well, including the old mailbox painted with Pennsylvania Dutch designs. You’ll also see the big barrel, informing visitors that “genuine Amish style root beer” is available. Now filling what were once restaurant dining areas, are rooms bursting with over 10,000 items. You’ll find one of the best selections of primitive Amish pine
Next I wanted to send the pie to someone I knew liked shoo-fly pies, my uncle and his wife in Florida. It was a simple phone call to Dutch Haven and off went the pie. They loved it, and told me that even the delivery man commented on the pie as he was dropping it off. It seemed he would have liked to have been the recipient, or at least been invited in for a slice! When you walk in under welcoming arms of the windmill, you’ll be encouraged to try a free sample of “America’s best shoo-fly pie.” And like many visitors before, you will probably decide to “Take one for yourself or send one to someone nice.” After all, it IS the place that made shoo-fly pie famous! At this time of year, Dutch Haven is open 7 days a week, 9 am to 7 pm Sunday through Thursday, and until 9 pm Friday and Saturday nights. For more information, about this Lancaster County landmark, call (717) 6870111, or go shopping and send a pie online at www.dutchhaven.com.
www.AmishNews.com • October 2015 • Amish Country News • 11