If you like pasties from the Upper Peninsula, you’ll like what Cousin Jenny’s has to offer seeing as her recipe is pulled straight from the north. Founded in 1979, the owner grew up in her parents’ shop, the infamous Jean Kay’s, and there’s not much difference between the two pasties.
The shop in Traverse City has come a long way and was somewhat of a turnoff for me, as it’s not a traditional pasty place. However, it’s unlikely CJ’s would exist today if it didn’t step up its game for all of the tourism of the city. With that, they’ve expanded their recipe throughout the years to include different sizes as well as Breakfast Bobbys. Spreading their wings, CJ’s has Italian, German and French pasties if you like to mix it up. Also available are salads and sandwiches, which isn’t unlike Jean Kay’s.
But similar to Jean Kay’s, the crust was somewhat of a disappointment, lacking a bit of crisp and flake. It’s not a bad crust, it just isn’t one of the best ones. I was forced into getting a small 10 oz. pasty on my original visit as the hot 16 oz. larges were gone by the afternoon. Yet as you can see from the picture, the size was not an issue for me.
For a bigger shop, I’d expect the seasoning to be spot on, but the flavor was on the lower end. I say this a lot, but just because pasties were mostly bland back in the day, doesn’t mean that has to be the case now, especially with a restaurant in downtown Traverse City.
Maybe the most interesting part to Cousin Jenny’s is that it closes at 6 p.m. during the week, at 4 p.m. on Saturdays and is closed on Sunday. With pasties often considered a dinner these days, it’s a wonder why the shop closes before most people eat.
My expectations were probably a bit high for this pasty and while it wasn’t the best, it wasn’t a bad one, meaning CJ’s is worth multiple trips, which is why the multiple flavors exist.
Taste: 3.5 (out of 5)
Crust: 4 (out of 5)
Pasty Presentation: 4 (out of 5)
The Shop: 2 (out of 3)
Would I come back for Pasties?: 2 (out of 2)
Total Pasty Ranking: 15.5 (of 20 points)
(Reviewed Summer 2017)