This is a new review. If you want to read my original review, it’s further down the page.
The first time I visited Hartland Village Pizza & Pasties, it wasn’t a great experience. The pasty was dry, plain and I couldn’t finish it because of the lack of taste. I rated it poorly and was then messaged by one of the owners that my tastebuds were “off” because the beef pasty is their “best seller and sells out all the time.” Going further, the owner claimed that Yoopers said their pasties are “the best they’ve ever had.” And again, back to my tastebuds, they said I should “smell some coffee beans so my taste buds are clear” before coming back to try another.
Despite all that, I revisited. Maybe I’m nice?
I still appreciate the shop being located just off US-23 and M-59. It’s fairly easy to access if you’re coming off the main road, as there isn’t a ton going on north of the highways, outside of the surprisingly large Hartland High School.
Their website claims, “Best Pasties South of the Mackinac,” but they haven’t updated it in four years, so maybe they feel differently now? Compared to the website, their pasties run closer to six bucks for the regular beef and chicken. Not that it’s a big change.
The main reason for a re-review is that I think they updated their recipe after my first visit in 2016. While the crust wasn’t truly crimped, the insides at least tasted like something.
However, the flavor was still an issue. In addition to needing a few bites of crust to get to the insides, it didn’t have a ton of flavor. The insides weren’t much different in that they lacked salt. There was probably too much pepper and not enough salt.
The meat-to-veggie ratio passed the test, but there were large chunks of meat and it wasn’t mixed well. I’d say the pasty was about 10 ounces, as I wasn’t full after eating one for a late lunch. That could’ve also been due to a sizable air pocket in the side of mine.
At the least, it tasted like a pasty and I finished it.
In comparison, I think the gluten-free crust actually tasted better because it had a bit more butter, though it’s more of a pot pie. Unfortunately for Hartland Village, The Pasty Girl said this was “probably her least favorite pasty she’s had.” Of note, as of 2020, she had only been able to eat pasties from four locations.
The owner claimed that these pasties were closer to those from England, but I’ve had English pasties and I don’t think these compare. The lack of salt stands out in these pasties, especially when an overload of pepper is used. These are no longer the worst pasties I’ve had, but they aren’t high on my list (I’m probably biased because they attacked me on Instagram).
Taste: 3.5 (out of 5)
Crust: 2.5 (out of 5)
Pasty Presentation: 2.5 (out of 5)
The Shop: 3 (out of 3)
Would I come back for Pasties?: 0 (out of 2)
Total Pasty Ranking: 11.5 (of 20 points)
(Reviewed Summer 2020)
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.
My excitement only grew due to this aspect. Usually the best places are off the beaten path, secretly hidden from the main roads.
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)