There are only two things to do when the Mackinac Bridge is closed in the winter and you’re in the Upper Peninsula: drink beer and eat pasties. Sure, there’s plenty more if you’re staying in the area, but if you’re trying to get south, there’s not much going on in downtown St. Ignace in the dead of winter, especially when a lot of places are without power.
That led me to the Driftwood Motel Restaurant & Sports Bar. Yes, it is a motel, restaurant and sports bar in one. Everything you need. I wasn’t planning on eating a pasty as I was getting over a cold and wasn’t hungry after a week of stuffing myself with alcohol and food. But… pasties.
Like at most restaurants that have pasties, this one is more expensive at $11.99. A lot of people will scoff at the price, but you can’t sell a pasty for five bucks when burgers are closer to 10 and when it’s listed as an ‘entree.’ Because of that, it’s not a downgrade for me.
As for the pasty, it wasn’t similar to anything I’ve had in the U.P. There was no true handle as it was wrapped and folded over the top. Now that I’m looking at it again, it’s almost like they folded the crust into a design of the U.P. Either that, or they didn’t use enough crust.
Unfortunately, the crust didn’t taste better than it looked. It was likely made with shortening because it was chewy and had no flake. It took away from me liking the pasty a little more since the insides weren’t bad.
At a minimum, you want a pasty to taste like a pasty and this one passed that test even if the crust didn’t. In addition to having a ton of meat, the seasoning was pretty spot on, not too much salt or pepper.
At times it felt like I was eating a hamburger inside a crust, but it did the job. The bar’s lighting was a tad dark so I’m not positive there were rutabagas in it, but there were chunks of potatoes.
Since there wasn’t a handle, it wasn’t possible to pick up. I tried and it almost broke apart in my hands. This may not be the best pasty in the area, but it’s one of the only places where you can get a beer, order a pasty and chat with friends while watching sports.
Taste: 3.5 (out of 5)
Crust: 2.5 (out of 5)
Pasty Presentation: 3 (out of 5)
The Shop: 3 (out of 3)
Would I come back for Pasties?: 1 (out of 2)
Total Pasty Rating: 13 (of 20 points)
(Reviewed Winter 2020)