by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
As natives of Greece, Andy and Libby Atsidakos seldom ate apple pies, as that delicacy was not part of the country’s culture, Libby said.
As immigrants to America, though, with Andy working as a baker for an uncle in Minneapolis, the couple created an apple pie from an old family recipe that proved popular with customers.
“You know what they say, baseball and apple pie, what’s more American than that?” smiles their daughter, Joanne.
And now, a deep-fried version of that treat, which they dubbed the Minneapple Pie, and which originated at their cafe, Cottage Grill, in Rogers, will be among the fare offered by the Twins, who opened their second season in Target Field this weekend.
“This is very exciting for the family,” said Joanne, who works with her brother George, and Libby, at the cafe. “We have been working very hard here. To have this happen is great for us.”
The Minneapple Pie will be sold in the State Fair Classics booth behind the center field stands. Libby and Joanne said they didn’t know what it would cost, as the Twins set prices.
It’s a delicious treat with marvelous crust that Libby worked on for over a year. Your Star News reporter had a sample, in the interest of painstaking research, or course. The apples are always fresh, and don’t bother to ask what kind. “Old family secret,” said Joanne. They make the crust by hand, fold it over the filling, deep-fry, and sprinkle with a sugar/cinnamon blend. It goes great with ice cream.
Andy arrived from Greece in 1965 and Libby joined him in 1972. Andy is retired at this point and not active in the cafe which they has operated for three years.
The cafe will have a name change – Minne’s Diner – after Easter,.
Regarding the original apple pie, George said, “My dad always wanted to be in the state fair, but it took too long to bake. Two and a half years ago, I came up with the idea to deep fry them.”
Andy and Libby were skeptical that they could get the crust right by deep-frying. But during one slow day at the restaurant, Joanne tried deep-frying, and it came out pretty good. The parents were intrigued,
“We saw that this thing could work, so let’s play with it,” said Libby.
Virtually every day, Libby experimented with the deep fried pie, and close to a year later she and the family felt they had it just right.
They solid the pies at several county fairs the summers in 2009 and 2010, attending 14 last summer. Many customers urged them to get a stand at the Twins ballpark or state fair.
It took a while to secure a meeting with the Twins’ concessionaire, Delaware North, said Joanne, but they met December got a callback three months later. They were in!
The pies will be prepared at the cafe and shipped to the ballpark, where Twins staff will handle the baking and the selling. George or Joanne will be present for the first few games as consultants.