Courtesy of Piety

It's no secret that Southerners are great at making pies. There's something so inherently comforting about the food — it's as if they baked hospitality right into the crust. When I was growing up, pie was a special dessert reserved for treasured visits to my grandmother's house. At every family get-together you could expect to see a full spread of pies made by my Grandma-Hazie and her sisters. Pies were something that took time to create and were always eaten with family. Food entrepreneurs have caught on to pie's heart-warming qualities, and in the past few years pie shops have been cropping up all over the country.

Last month, Piety, a boutique specializing in artisan pies, opened in Roanoke, Virginia. The shop serves up savory and sweet pies in inventive flavors such as Tomato-Cheddar, Blueberry Pancake, Caramel Banana Cream, and Bacon Bourbon Pecan. The best part is that the delicious pies come in a 3-inch size ($3.95), the perfect portion for sharing with absolutely no one.

The pies all have rustic, uneven crusts and exaggerated scalloped edges, a side effect from being made by hand each day. They look like treats that would be served in Dr. Seuss' Whoville or J.K. Rowling's Hogsmeade, not out of a tiny shop in Southwest Virginia.

Molten Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie, Courtesy of Piety

Molten Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie,

It took just one bite of the Molten Chocolate Cookie pie for me to be transported back to my grandmother's kitchen. The personal-size treat had a warm chocolate center, a thick, crispy crust and was topped with a delectable chocolate chip cookie crumble. That's my definition of comfort food! While nostalgia prevents any pie from being quite as good as Grandma-Hazie's, Piety's artisan treats stole my heart and required no kitchen time or effort on my end.

In addition to the small 3-inch pies, Piety offers medium and large pies with 6 ($10.95) and 9 inch ($28.95) diameters. They also sell more than 40 types of artisan tea blends, which can be prepared either hot or iced. Visit Piety at 2073 Colonial Avenue in Towers Shopping Center or online at .