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Cape Central High Photos

Ken Steinhoff, Cape Girardeau Central High School Class of 1965, was a photographer for The Tiger and The Girardot, and was on the staff of The Capaha Arrow and The Sagamore at Southeast Missouri State University. He worked as a photographer / reporter (among other things) at The Jackson Pioneer and The Southeast Missourian.

Come here to see photos and read stories (mostly true) about coming of age in Southeast Missouri in the 1960s.

Please comment on the articles when you see I have left out a bit of history, forgotten a name or when your memory of a circumstance conflicts with mine. (My mother says her stories have improved now that more and more of the folks who could contradict her have died off.) Your information helps to make this a wonderful archive and may end up in book form.


The Pie Safe

This is the time of year when thoughts turn to pie and presents. Sharon Rose Penrod and her Pie Safe in Pocahontas can help you with the first. I can help you with the second.

Let me go on record that I support buying from local businesses like The Pie Safe, where most of the ingredients are locally grown. Some of the vegetables come from a 100-year-old garden on on a farm owned by her husband’s family since the 1880s.

BUT, if you are going to be one of the tens of thousands of folks who go over to Amazon to do your shopping, let me make a pitch for you to get there by clicking THIS LINK or the Amazon ad in the upper lefthand corner of the page. If you do that, I get a tiny percentage of what you spend, and it doesn’t cost you a penny extra. The DONATION button helps pay for the gas that it takes to get me back and forth to Cape, too.

Pie Safe used to be bank

The Pie Safe started out as the Pocahontas Bank in 1910 with deposits of $10,000, but it didn’t survive the Crash of 1929. It served a variety of uses over the years, including being an insurance office and a home.

Safe has 24-inch walls

The ornate safe with its 24-inch-thick concrete walls still dominates one wall.

“It found me”

Sharon Rose and her husband, Monte, had been active in Jackson’s farmers market when she decided to turn her talent for baking into a business. “I didn’t find the bank, it found me,” she said of her building. The cafe has been open since June 12, 2012.

No real menu

The Pie Safe doesn’t have a formal printed menu. There’s a whiteboard with the specials scrawled on it, but “some days I run out of stuff, so I’ll tell customers, ‘Here are the ingredients I have. What would you like to make me out of them?'”

I showed up the other day just before closing time. “I’ve got my heart set on some of your coconut cream pie (topped with REAL whipped cream, not “calf slobber”).

“I don’t have any left,” she said.

The lip quiver worked

I put on my saddest face and gave her the patented lip quiver.

“OK, I might be able to whip one up while you’re eating,” she relented.

“I’ll chew slowly,” I promised.

When I finished up, she said, “I don’t think this is going to have time to set up.” I offered to eat a piece and take two with me.

“I don’t want to sell this”

“I really don’t want to sell this,” she remonstrated. “The whipped cream is sliding into the base. I’m not going to be able to cut it.”

“How about if I take the WHOLE pie? I’m headed up to the museum at Altenburg. I can pop it into the fridge in 20 minutes.”

Against her better judgement, she let me take it.

For the record, she was right. It never DID set up solidly, but Mother and I didn’t care. We were more interested in taste than appearance. We managed to polish it off in two days.

Got her baking skills from mother

She says she got her baking know-how from her mother, Shirley Schroeder Petschke, whose photos grace the walls.

Where is it?

If you can find Pocahontas, which is north of Cape Girardeau and south of Altenburg, you won’t have any trouble finding The Pie Safe, which is in the heart of downtown. (Don’t blink.)

It’s open from 6 am to 2 pm Wednesday through Saturday. The phone number is 573-833-6743. You can send Sharon Rose email at srpenrod@gmail.com

Tell her Ken said “Hi” and to start working on a coconut cream pie for when I come back in a couple of months.

Pie Safe photo gallery

Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to move through the gallery.

8 comments to The Pie Safe

  • Nancy Johns

    Everything we’ve ever gotten was so good! Grandkids love the cookies!

  • Sharon Penrod

    Thanks Ken! I love the photos and the story of your visit is quite honest. My moms name was actually Shirley Schroeder Petschke and she taught me alot about serving customers as she raised me and my sister Emily waitressing at the R&R in Hinsdale, IL. My father Ken also taught me alot about being a gracious and generous host. I want folks to feel relaxed and at home when they visit the Pie Safe. The piece of coconut cream will be on the house! Blessed Thanksgiving to you all!

    • I corrected the spelling of your mother’s name. I misread my notes.

      Thanks for the offer of a free piece of pie, but I want you to stay in business. You can’t do that giving away your merchandise. I hope you see some customers coming from my review.

  • Terry Hopkins

    MMMMM….pie… This story makes you want to rush out and get a piece of pie. I wonder, if there are still Baker’s Square around here in Florida. Of course the Village Restaurant, which is a chain, the one with the big orange sign the black letters, used to have some pretty good pie too. I guess the search is on for Florida pie.

    And of course the next time I am in Missouri I’ve got a go to Pocahontas. Ms. Penrod and I look forward to meeting you, I will be a tall guy in Hawaiian shirt that looks like he should live in Florida.

    Again thanks for the good tip again and happy travels.

  • Madeline DeJournett

    Oh, I want to go there NOW!!!! This is a wonderful story, Ken! It’s soooo hard to find good, homemade pies anymore–especially coconut creme.
    I really like the idea of doing stories on these little out-of-the-way eating establishments. Word of mouth is about the only thing keeping them going. I also love it when they re-purpose old historic buildings! The customer gets a slice of history, along with the pie!!

  • Sharon Wieser Searls

    I can’t wait to get back to Cape and go to the Pie
    Safe. I think I’ll have lemon pie.
    Thanks for the great story. Sharon

  • Me again, Ken! I’ve been to the Pie Safe, since your original post. Not only did I eat a delicious piece of cherry pie, I spent a small fortune on her vintage Chinese wind-up toys on display in the old safe! I didn’t realize these toys were still being sold somewhere on the face of the earth!!

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