Bessie’s Original Homemade Pasties is probably the most popular pasty shop in St. Ignace. It’s been around for over 50 years and that has something to do with the popularity as well as the location, being just north of downtown near an array of hotels and motels on the Lake Huron coast.
For those staying at a hotel, aimlessly wondering the streets of St. Ignace at 10 a.m., enjoying the views of the lake, Bessie’s will be open for you.
However, outside of that, the reasoning for Bessie’s popularity is a bit unclear to me.
Right on the front page of her web site, she (Bessie) declares to have “The Best in the U.P.” She then goes on to say her pasties are “nutritious.” Let’s settle down now.
There is a lot of history with Bessie’s. The shop has been around forever and the inside confirms as much with newspaper clippings from year’s past covering the walls.
For The Pasty Guy, Bessie’s was a bit disappointing.
The major outlier being the lack of actual meat in the pasty. Yes, they have the “finest cuts of lean steak,” but it felt like I only got five of those pieces. As seen from the picture below, the pasty is overloaded with potatoes. And as expected, that made the entire experience a little too dry.
The grated carrots were a good touch, but not enough to overcome a poor meat-to-veggie ratio.
To help, the crust was how a crust should be. At least for the most part. It was a tad too soft, which led to the pasty kind of falling apart when taking too big of a hold on it. The softness was a result of a crust that had a little too much flour and that added to the dryness from the mass of potatoes inside.
I wanted to like Bessie’s, just on name recognition alone, but it simply didn’t get the job done to get my interest again.
As a bonus, St. Ignace is a nice, quaint town without the tourism distraction of Mackinaw City. Just a mile south of the shop you can find a boardwalk that’ll take you through the town. Not a bad way to eat a pasty — albeit a mediocre one — on a sunny day.
Taste: 2.5 (out of 5)
Crust: 3.5 (out of 5)
Pasty Presentation: 2.5 (out of 5) Poor ratio
The Shop: 3 (out of 3)
Would I come back for Pasties?: 0 (out of 2) Sorry Bess
Total Pasty Rating: 11.5 (of 20 points)
(Reviewed Summer 2016, Revisited Summer 2021)