Let them eat pie: Jenny Pirricone (left), has been working at the Happy Apple since the shop opened a year and a half ago. She works alongside Rebecca McIntyre who also loves handling the pie dough. "I like working here because a lot of the jobs let you use your hands," says McIntyre, "and I just love feeling the dough in my hands." | MELISSA ELSMO/Contributor

USA Today has named Happy Apple Pie Shop the top place to get pie in the state of Illinois in its “Road Trip Guide: The best pie shop in every state.” 

Honorees were chosen based on top-ranking Yelp! reviews statewide and further assessed for menu diversity and overall accolades. Happy Apple, located in the Oak Park Arts District at 226 Harrison St., boasted a perfect Yelp! rating, according to the newspaper.

“We are pleased and proud,” owner Michelle Mascaro said of her USA Today mention. “And we are grateful to all the customers who mentioned us in their positive reviews.”

Happy Apple has been in business for nearly two years and relies on a unique blended work environment where people with and without developmental and intellectual disabilities work side-by-side crafting pies every day. 

Mascaro and her kitchen coaches find a role for everyone who wants to work at Happy Apple; the business shifts job descriptions as needed to include the abilities of each individual employee. The shop is even laid out to ensure the kitchen area is roomy enough to accommodate wheelchairs.

“Being named the best pie shop in Illinois by USA Today proves our model is working,” Mascaro proudly said. “People with all different kinds of abilities can work together every day to craft meticulous pie.”

Melissa Elsmo

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