Regarded as a hidden gem by locals and even those from outside Chilliwack, the Airport Coffee Shop owes much of its reputation to the pies they serve. I have heard the stories of towering slices for many years but never bothered to seek it out due to the location. Armed with an excuse to drop into town early for a wedding I was attending with Melanie, we descended on the location to try the fabled dessert.
After taking our seats, our menus were tossed at us nonchalantly with a passing “hello”. I actually found this initial interaction amusing despite its rude qualities, and sent a smirk Melanie’s way. As we looked over the menu, however, we noticed no mention of pies, so when the server returned, we inquired. We were met with a curt “it’s over there” coupled with a flailing arm and a request for our beverage orders. Seeing as we were on our way to a wedding with an open bar, we had no interest in drinks and I told her we were “only here for pie”. With a heavy sigh she repeated the same question, and I told her again that we were just here for pie. Apparently she could not get past this and stormed off, visibly frustrated.
Returning with waters no one asked for, she boorishly demanded our order, and it was at this point that I came as close as I have ever come to telling a server to change their tone. Through clenched teeth I ordered a slice of Sour Cream and Lemon pie for both myself and Melanie, as it sounded quite unique.
Things became stranger still when she returned with the pie. Whatever foul beast that was living up her backside had layed its eggs and moved on, as she was now behaving slightly more like a person in the service industry should, insisting that we would enjoy our pie and that it was a local favourite. Giving my slice a once over, as I always do with food and most things I put in my mouth, I found that I had to pick some lint off of the edges before beginning, courtesy of a dirty serving utensil most likely.
The lemon filling was thick and hearty, but lacked the sweetness I desire when eating lemon-based desserts and came across as quite bland as a whole. I did, however, appreciate the bits of lemon zest strewn about as they worked to freshen occasional mouthfuls of the otherwise boring filling. Sour Cream flavour permeated the whipping cream, tasting more awkward than complimentary, and it too was in need of some sweetness. The crust itself was enjoyable, but largely unremarkable. It was flakey and added a nice texture to the overall package, but did little to stand out against other pies I’ve eaten. Perhaps I would appreciate it more if I ordered a fruit pie where the crust enveloped the entire of the dessert.
After finishing, we waited for the server to return to clear our plates and bring the bill, but she kept skirting around our table despite there being few other patrons. Frustrated, I proceeded to the register to pay in an awkward fashion and I had no interest in tipping her, but since she suddenly took over the point of purchase when I stepped up I left her what little change there was off of $12. At the time I had sought to end our exchange as soon as possible but now regret not collecting my change, and not because I am cheap.
The inexcusably terrible service (provided by the single grouchiest server I have ever interacted with) puts me in a tough position, and I went so far as to contact a friend who frequents the establishment to see if this was normal. He assured me his experiences were different, and I certainly hope he is right. I have put considerable thought into my final recommendation, as I don’t want the actions of one server, regardless of how awful she was, to taint what could have otherwise been good food.
Ignoring her entirely, I still have a very difficult time understanding why this pie supposedly merits such praise. Apart from serving generously portioned slices at a fairly decent price of just under $5, there is little that sets them apart as the crust, whipped cream, and filling were all fairly unremarkable. While it is certainly possible I picked the wrong type of pie and that others are much better, I will never know, since I will likely never go back. Take your chances folks.
Big slices of pie that look far better than they taste at a price all can afford. Rude service is a distinct possibility.
Airport Coffee Shop, 46244 Airport Rd, Chilliwack
2 slices of Sour Cream Lemon Pie
Just under $5 a slice before tax for most slices of pie.
Melanie requested the space for a few of her own words regarding our pie escapade in Chilliwack. They follow below.
A Second Opinion with Melanie
When Mark suggested we stop in at the Airport Coffee shop to get pie while we were in Chilliwack, I was pretty excited. I heart pie.
While perusing the menu, the lack of a pie section made my heart break a little. I thought we perhaps had the wrong airport coffee shop and wouldn’t get pie after all. I looked around the café in search of any indication that pie was in fact sold there, and I received confirmation pretty quickly; the glorious pie menu was sighted. From where we were seated, a certain amount of contortion was needed in order for me to read it, but I was determined to get pie, even at the expense of a fractured vertebra or two.
I was less than impressed with the attitude of our waitress and got to the point where I was tempted to suggest to Mark that we leave our hopes for pie behind and blow that popsicle stand. However, my desire for pie far outweighed my displeasure with our waitress, so I grinned and bared it.
Although tempted to try the Saskatoon Berry pie since I had never had that kind before, I decided to join Mark and get the sour cream lemon pie. When it was brought to us, I was in awe of the masterpiece that sat before me. It was huge. For a split second I regretted not suggesting to Mark that we share a piece, but then my love of pie took over and pushed that thought away.
Upon taking the first bite, I’ve got to say, I wasn’t wowed. The lemon portion was quite dense and not as lemony as I expected. I would have preferred a fluffier filling stuffed with tangy goodness. The whipped cream didn’t thrill me either. There was too darn much of it and it didn’t add anything to the overall flavour. I even had to ask Mark where he thought the sour cream aspect of “sour cream lemon pie” was contained. He informed me it was in the whipped cream. I did enjoy the bits of lemon zest mixed throughout the pie as it provided a nice contrastive texture. I approved of the crust as well.
This experience left my stomach full but the rest of me disappointed. Maybe the sour cream lemon pie is the dud of the bunch even though the waitress highly recommended it. What I find suspicious though, is that as soon as we were brought our pie, she erased sour cream lemon pie from the board, indicating there was none left. Maybe all the hype she gave that flavour was her sneaky way of getting rid of the remaining 2 pieces so they could reuse that pie pan. If that is the case, then rude waitress: 1, Mark and Melanie: 0.