Mr. Bishop’s Chocolate Pie

It all began as a venture in dining in Waterloo, IA, and soon grew to 35 Midwestern locations.

The cafeteria chain, Bishop’s Cafeteria, which was begun by Benjamin Franklin Bishop in 1920 provided nine decades of culinary enjoyment until its lifespan ceased to exist. (

Hailing from one of the upper Great Plains’ states, my exposure to dining at Bishop’s Cafeteria was nonexistent–that is until I was 20 years of age. During a north-south journey in the Midwest, a brief stop off of I-29 at Sioux City exposed this young lady to a new type of dining experience unlike any other!

The buffet line in this upscale-furnished business was filled with hot and cold menu items and reached as far as my eye could see! What a smorgasbord!

Uniquely, though, desserts were proudly presented at the beginning of the buffet line as if to say, “The anticipated consumption of dessert pleasure should always precede a ‘meat and potatoes’ gastronomical event!”

Dig In!

Why not…”Life is Short. Eat Dessert First.” (Jacques Torres)

Resist placing a slice of Bishop’s Chocolate Ambrosia Pie as the initial occupant gracing my tray? Are you kidding, Dear Readers?

The sight of chocolate, whipped cream, and graham cracker crust layered in typical triangular pie-slice form set my mouth watering!

Those gorgeous chocolate curls playing peek-a-boo with each other atop the snow-white puffy cream lent a distinctive dessert imagery of upper-echelon status the likes of which I had never known!

After marrying my Midwest-born Dearly Beloved, an extra perk of this union came with intermittent stops at Bishop’s Cafeteria in Omaha. A slice of chocolate pie was consistently the first item of choice for my guy and me!

Oh, Dear Readers, did your taste buds ever swoon as a piece of that delectable pie graced your mouth? Mmm! Mmm! Mmm!

Tempt YOUR Tastebuds!

How many Bishop’s Chocolate Ambrosia Pies had been made during the 90-year cafeteria lifespan? One could only venture a guess!

The era of Bishop’s dining and even cafeteria-style dining has pretty much come and gone. Yet, the memories of outstanding food and service are treasured.

At Miss NiNi’s Desserterie, we have discovered a recipe that is acclaimed to have been the recipe used at Bishop’s.

In case you would also like to recapture the popular Midwest pie of the past, I’ve included the recipe.

With each sweet morsel, pause to remember Mr. Benjamin Franklin Bishop and the joy of satiety his cafeterias contributed to the taste buds of the Midwest.

Bishop’s Chocolate Ambrosia Pie


  • 1 (3 oz.) package instant French vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 (3 oz.) package instant chocolate fudge pudding mix
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups vanilla ice cream, softened
  • 9 inch graham cracker crust


  • 1 (8 oz.) carton frozen non-dairy whipped topping, thawed


  • Chocolate Curls shaved from a 2-pound milk chocolate bar


With an electric mixer, combine pudding mixes and milk. Add ice cream and beat until just thickened. Pour into prebaked graham cracker crust (can be purchased).

Top with whipped topping.

With vegetable peeler, shave part of the chocolate bar on to top of pie.

Chill before serving.

Miss NiNi