Shawnee County is 556 square miles, and includes several small towns beyond Topeka. Off the beaten path, but definitely not forgotten, is Dover’s Sommerset Hall Café.
Eight years ago this month, former Sommerset pie maker, Norma Grubb, won “Best Pie in America” in a contest by Good Morning America. Norma made pies until she retired at the age of 89. Norma passed away in 2011, but her award-winning pies live on.
Offering more than 30 flavors of pie (and most available in sugar-free), there is a flavor for everyone! With the holidays coming up, you can skip the kitchen mess and order a pie from Sommerset for $18.
While visiting I tried the pecan pie, and it was the best pie I have ever had. (That’s saying something, considering how much time I’ve spent in the South.) The pecan topping was sweet, like candied pecans. The filling was just the right consistency. The crust, the absolute best part in my opinion, was flaky and delicious.
I was inspired to write this post after reading about the café in one of those “Only in Your State” stories on Facebook. I’ve been let down a time or two by restaurants they list … some of the restaurants just weren’t that good. But I can wholeheartedly say Sommerset has amazing pie. It’s not just a small diner in a small town, it’s truly worth the 20-30 minute drive to get a burger and a slice of pie (and talk to some friendly folks, too!).
The drive from Topeka to Dover can give visitors a sample of just how beautiful rural Kansas is also. K-4, the highway to get from Topeka to Dover, is located just a stone’s throw away from the city. Also known as the Native Stone Scenic Byway, it spans beyond Shawnee County and stretches over 48 miles, winding through the Flint Hills.
While you’re visiting Topeka, take a morning to drive out to Dover, enjoy the scenery as the sun rises. Grab a hearty breakfast or lunch at Sommerset and finish with a piece of pie. The pie and the view will definitely make you want to come back!