Everything about Hartland Village Pizza & Pasties seems great. The day before traveling to the area, I noticed it on my list of pasty shops just outside of Detroit so I quickly did some research and built up my excitement.
Right on the front page I saw, “Best Pasties South of the Mackinac.” Immediately, I began to salivate, but quickly remembered some of my past experiences when I got too excited. The homepage also claims “freshest, highest-quality ingredients,” which I love, and maybe I should give them extra points for it, but then again… maybe not.
I drove through Hartland, right off US-23 and just north of M-59. There isn’t much going on there, but at least you don’t have to deal with traffic off the highway. The shop is small, on a minimally used road north of the shopping centers and schools closer to M-59. Outside of the Village Café, there isn’t much else besides residential houses.
Most of their business is pizza, which isn’t too surprising, and I’m not sure if they sell fresh pasties on the spot because I visited mid-day on a Saturday and my beef pasty was grabbed out of the freezer. (2019 update: they contacted me and said they in fact sell fresh pasties daily, check out their instagram page).
Either way, I don’t think it matters that much.
While the ingredients were fresh and local and all that, there was something missing from my pasty. To call this the best pasty in the Lower Peninsula would cause outrage among many pasty enthusiasts. Luckily, the Pasty Guy is even-keeled and won’t go on a rampage.
Everything from the outside was good; it looked like a pasty, it smelled like a pasty. But that first bite was all I needed.
The crust was extremely crispy. There was almost a crack when my teeth first collided with the edges. The inside looked fantastic with loads of “local, grown on site” meat, but there was no flavor.
I repeat, the pasty tasted like nothing. I’m sorry, but if you’re going to tout that you have the best pasties in the L.P., I’m not going to be so nice.
All of the needed ingredients (rutabaga) and ratios were there. It was just that there was no taste. Either they forgot to use spices and salt, or they rely on local products to bring out the taste. And to this date, it remains the only pasty I’ve never finished upon starting.
Their pizza was great, though, so I’ll give them that, but going to Hartland Village for just pasties should not be done.
Taste: 1 (out of 5)
Crust: 1.5 (out of 5)
Pasty Presentation: 3 (out of 5)
The Shop: 2 (out of 3) No fresh pasties…
Would I come back for Pasties?: 0 (out of 2)
Total Pasty Ranking: 7.5 (of 20 points)
(Reviewed Summer 2016)