Yes, the rumors are true. Barb’s Pasties are straight from Copper Country (aka northwestern Upper Peninsula).
Some of the L.P. pasty shops claim to have the famed U.P. taste, but few hit that mark. Barb throws it right on her front page calling hers the ‘Famous U.P. Pasties.’ Sure, she also says she has ‘Michigan’s No. 1 Pastie,’ but what shop doesn’t make that claim?
If anything, I wouldn’t hate to call her pasties the best in the Lower Peninsula.
Found just south of the quaint – and quite friendly – city of Clawson, Mich., Barb’s Pasties can be found in a small, hole-in-the-wall type brick building right off Main Street.
If you had any doubts about her pasties freshness, the sign out front verifies that they are ‘Made Fresh Daily.’
The pasty options are beef, chicken and vegetable with hot and frozen for all flavors. The front of the shop is small with most of the building being used to cook up the food. And for those with a sweet tooth, they always have fresh Carrot Cake or some kind of dessert available.
The actual pasty is a bit rounder than most, but who really cares about shape? All that matters is that it keeps its warmth for as long as you need it to.
Diving into this pasty was pure glory. There weren’t large chunks of meat sitting in a lonely corner, there wasn’t a boring presentation of diced up carrots and rutabagas. Everything was done with a purpose.
The dicing of the veggies was haphazard just enough to catch my eye. The meat had all the flavor I needed from a pasty. And the crust… was different.
The outside of the crust had a dryness to it that was combatted by an interesting chewiness on the inside. With most crusts, there is usually one flavor you get (dry, soft, etc.). Barb’s has a different style that had me questioning every other crust experienced before.
“What am I eating? Is it too dry? Is it too chewy? Is it too… good?”
It still doesn’t make sense to me, which means I will be back. Maybe it’s a result of temperature in the oven or how long it’s cooked. Whatever it is, it works.
Barb may not have the No. 1 pasty in Michigan, but she definitely has the rest of the L.P. beat out.
Update 2017: Tried the chicken version and was as expected. I’m not huge into chicken pasties, but Barb’s crust remains one of the best on the market.
Taste: 4 (out of 5)
Crust: 4.5 (out of 5)
Pasty Presentation: 4 (out of 5)
The Shop: 3 (out of 3)
Would I come back for Pasties?: 2 (out of 2) Ohhh yeahhh
Total Pasty Rating: 17.5 (of 20 points)
(Reviewed summer 2016)