Jack’s Fresh Market isn’t a place that vacationers often visit for pasties because it’s a grocery store. People that come across Jack’s for pasties are either in the know or locals. However, that could change with The Pasty Guy getting the word out.
While it’s a grocery store, Jack’s should be considered with the rest of the pasty places in the Upper Peninsula. Found in Manistique along US-2 (or right on the Wisconsin-Michigan border in Marinette or Menominee), Jack’s is a place pasty lovers need to experience. Sure you have to go into a grocery store and check out, but if you’re stingy on price, that will be made up for with pasties less than four bucks.
As for the adventurous, Jack’s also has a daily pasty so if you’re interested in that, give them a call beforehand. Otherwise, it’s your usual Beef, Potato & Rutabaga or Beef & Mushroom. On Saturdays, they have a Cheeseburger flavor. Eat that at your own peril.
But before we get to the actual pasty, let’s review how cocky Jack is about his pasties. Straight from the website: “It has been our tradition for over 20 years… Our pasties are the best in the world.”
To recap, Jack has been making pasties for just over 20 years yet is confident enough to call them the best in the world. Not best in the U.P. or Michigan or even country, he wants it all. The Cornish surely doubt this statement.
While Jack’s doesn’t have the best pasty in the U.P., they deserve a spot alongside some of the better ones. The first problem with pasties that aren’t world class is that they use shortening instead of lard for the crust. That may be the only major problem with this pasty, but it’s a relevant one.
The pasty is pushing a pound as it’s one of the bigger ones on the market; it’s definitely one of the fatter ones. As a bonus, I didn’t feel a rock in my stomach after eating it. The shortening brought the level down a bit because there was little flake in the crust with it being too soft around the insides. The handle was close to perfection, but the middle… not so much.
The ratio was impressive with meat taking over large portions of each bite. For pasty makers out there, Jack’s has the desired meat-veggie ratio and even gets a good amount of rutabaga in there. For the pasty in review, some of the potatoes and rutabagas weren’t cooked all the way through, but I’ll give them a pass.
Jack’s isn’t often considered in “Best of” lists, but that’s because it’s a hidden gem. Unfortunately, I’m breaking the trend and getting the word out on the Fresh Market. This may not be the best pasty in the world, but The Pasty Dad labeled it as one of the top ones in the U.P. and he went to school in Houghton, so he knows his stuff.
Update: I’ve been to Jack’s numerous times, but on a visit in late Summer 2019, I got pasties on a Sunday and they seemed to be a day old. Either that, or the recipe changed. The crust was too soft and the insides didn’t taste as I remembered. This is something I’ll come back to, but worth mentioning in case you avoid softer crusts.
Taste: 4 (out of 5)
Crust: 4 (out of 5)
Pasty Presentation: 4.5 (out of 5)
The Shop: 2 (out of 3) …It’s a grocery store
Would I come back for Pasties?: 2 (out of 2)
Total Pasty Rating: 16.5 (of 20 points)
(Reviewed Summer 2017)