HUNTINGTON - There was a line of people from the front door of Jim's Steak and Spaghetti House all the way to the corner of 9th Street an hour before the restaurant even opened on the first day of the legendary Strawberry Pie Week on Tuesday.
Now in its 45th year, the tradition draws strawberry pie fans in droves from Huntington proper, the Tri-State area and beyond, as some are known to visit home just to get a slice of the ever-popular pie. The pie is served yearly the week after Mother's Day.
Owner Jimmie Tweel Carder reported more than 1,320 slices of the coveted annual treat had been sold in the first five hours Tuesday. The restaurant is expected to serve up more than 10,000 slices throughout the week, making about 350 pies each day. Last year, 10,650 slices, or about 2,000 whole pies, were sold.
Much like retailers do for Black Friday, around 20-30 extra hands are hired annually just to make the week happen. The pie makers are mother-daughter duo Patty Tice, who retired from Jim's three years ago, and Michelle Medley, who has been with Jim's for 30 years. It takes three months of preparation, including making and freezing 2,000 pie shells, to get ready for the annual rush.
But overwhelming as it seems, the Jim's family comes together and puts in the work (and overtime) every year to bring the community what it wants: a simple combination of sweet, fresh strawberries cut up and smothered with whipped topping, nestled in a homemade pie crust.
"Come see us. We have fun," Carder said.
Strawberry pie will be served at Jim's every day this week, through Saturday, May 18. Then it's back to their daily rotation of pies until next spring.