Pickle Pie at SunGlow 

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Bicknell, Utah—population 340—is located 17 miles west of Capitol Reef National Park in south-central Utah. The SunGlow Family Restaurant & Motel, one of Bicknell’s premier overnight establishments (there are two of them) was opened in the 1960s by Cula Ekker, developer/inventor/evil genius behind the Sweet Pickle Pie.

The restaurant is the only place open for miles, and it’s a Friday night, so even though it’s empty when we arrive, we are soon surrounded: young families with kids climbing all over each other, couples in tight Wranglers, fathers and sons in camo pants and orange vests back from hunting, and a couple of LDS missionaries, whom I can’t help wondering about: What do they have to do here?

As if sweet-pickle pie were not enough, it turns out that the SunGlow is famous—or infamous—for several different unusual varieties of pies. An order of the “pie sampler” will get you half slices of oatmeal pie, buttermilk pie, the famous sweet-pickle pie and the unjustly less famous pinto-bean pie. They arrive piled high with superfluous whipped topping but otherwise look innocuous.

I go straight for the pickle. And … it’s good. It’s good! The texture is something like mince pie. The first taste I get is cinnamon and allspice, a flavor that gets stronger as I chew and then finishes off with a noticeable tang. The tang is obviously the pickle, but if I didn’t know I was eating pickles in a pie, I would never be able to guess that that is what makes the tang.

The pinto bean is less wonderful: Imagine the gelatinous filling in pecan pie, only without the pecans. The buttermilk is lemony-custardy, and it’s fine. The oatmeal pie is exactly like what you’d get if you took some leftover oatmeal and cooked it in a crust with some coconut and lots of sugar, then more sugar for good measure. My surprising advice: Stick to the pickle. 

SUNGLOW FAMILY RESTAURANT & MOTEL
91 E. Main
Bicknell
435-425-3821
SunGlowMotel.com

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