Confetti didn’t fall from the ceiling, and no brass band blared. When the Log Cabin Restaurant sold its millionth slice of pie, the milestone passed quietly.
It wasn’t until general manager Gordie Ringelstetter checked the year-end sales figures that he realized the millionth slice has been sold in December.
By then it was too late for the confetti and brass band. “We probably would’ve made a gigantic deal of it,” Ringelstetter said with a smile.
Todd and Mary Wyss opened the restaurant on Baraboo’s east side 20 years ago, and installed a computer system that accounts for sales of pie and everything else. “Our computer has tracked every sale since we opened,” Todd Wyss said.
Three full-time bakers make pie and bread from scratch every day. Fifteen varieties of pie are available daily, 25 during holidays. Dutch caramel apple is the most popular variety, with Log Cabin selling 12 pies a day.
A newer variety, featuring Reese’s peanut butter cup filling inside an Oreo cookie crust, is growing in popularity. “That one’s just been flying off the shelf,” Ringelstetter said.
Pies are made fresh, and contain no preservatives or additives. When pies disappear at such a rapid rate, who needs preservatives?
Ringelstetter said fresh pies made on-site set Log Cabin apart from restaurants that serve frozen pies out of a box. “It’s just a completely different product, something that’s made fresh,” he said.
“We’re trying to make this the dessert destination of Baraboo.”
Log Cabin sells 50,000 to 60,000 slices of pie each year. Customers ordered a whopping 500 pies to go for Thanksgiving. “That’s quite the week around here,” Ringelstetter said.
Pie has proved so popular that the restaurant offers a slice as a side dish to sandwiches, in lieu of fries or salads. Monthly specials also drive sales, as do seasonal varieties. The current special is chocolate covered cherry. Rhubarb and strawberry are popular in summer.
“Every month we try to run what’s in season,” Wyss said.
Log Cabin has undergone periodic expansion over the years, and strives to frequently update the décor, as well as the menu. “We want to be sure we give people a reason to come here every year,” Ringelstetter said.
Wyss said he hopes Log Cabin’s popularity – and word of its fresh-baked pies – spreads so it won’t take 20 years to sell another million slices. Somebody tell the band to start warming up.