Jean Kay’s Pasties & Subs

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Jean Kay’s in Marquette has closed following the owner’s retirement.

Jean Kay’s Pasties & Subs gets a lot of love. And why not? Read their story and that’s all you need to know to support this shop.

In short, the original shop opened in 1975 in Iron Mountain, then it was sold because the owner was doing so well he could retire early. However, the original owner wanted back in and the new Iron Mountain owners weren’t ready to sell. And so, the Marquette location was created by the original owners, so the Jean Kay’s name would use the real recipe, the one their grandma used to make.

It’s a nice story, but unfortunately most of their customers probably aren’t too familiar with it, considering the Marquette shop is right next to the Northern Michigan campus. College kids just don’t care about that kind of thing.

Either way, the shop is worth a stop. On one side, you can see the dough rollers through the window and the other side is the front-of-house.

I didn’t know they sold sandwiches and was kind of disappointed because of that, but after reading the story, I can forgive them. Sometimes you need to sell more things than pasties to make a profit.

That said, you can barely find pasties on the menu, with most of it being taken up by subs, salads and wraps.

pasty, pasty review, pasties, pasty guy, jean kay's pasties, marquetteI knew Jean Kay’s was highly lauded, so I was excited, but then I was asked if I wanted a fork and ketchup. With that question, I should’ve known what I’d be in for.

I grabbed my pasty and headed to the nearby Presque Isle Park, which I believe is a must if you’re in the area. If you like hiking, take the loop around the coast, or if you’re short for time, driving is fine too.

I took the ‘Steak with Rutabaga’ pasty out of the bag for my usual picture, and my hands were filled with grease. It was also soft and I already knew why I was asked if I wanted a fork.

This may be the most flimsy pasty I’ve had. Maybe it was the batch that day or maybe it was humid outside because even in my picture it doesn’t look like a flimsy pasty.


The crust was still good and acceptable, but the greasiness kind of took away from my overall reaction. There was enough flakiness, but obviously, no crisp.

By the time I finished it, meat and potatoes had fallen to the bottom of the bag as I was eating it by hand (like a real pasty eater) and the grease had come through the bag.pasty, pasty review, pasties, pasty guy, jean kay's pasties, marquette

This is mostly visible in the picture. I needed a good hold of it or it probably would have landed in my lap.

But as seen from the picture, the insides look delicious. The steak was top of the line – maybe the best part – and there was just enough rutabaga to notice it.

The goodness of the steak was enough to overcome some of the faults of a greasy crust.

It wasn’t the most pleasing pasty, but I’m not going to pass on it.

And oh yeah, no ketchup was needed. 

Taste: 4 (out of 5)
Crust: 3 (out of 5)
Pasty Presentation: 3 (out of 5)
The Shop: 3 (out of 3)
Would I come back for Pasties?: 2 (out of 2)

Total Pasty Rating: 15 (of 20 points)

(Reviewed Fall 2016)

6 thoughts on “Jean Kay’s Pasties & Subs

  1. Hey Pasty Guy – solid review of Jean Kay’s. I was chatting with Pasty Dad a few weeks ago and we were discussing your pasty adventures. Having spent a significant amount of time in the Marquette area, I STRONGLY suggest you make a stop at Lawry’s Pasty Shop. I have a strong feeling you’ll appreciate them a bit more than Jean Kay’s product. We tend to pick up a dozen or so frozen pasties from Lawry’s to take home and enjoy between our UP visits. Thanks for sharing your reviews!

  2. I would certainly rate Jean Kay’s much higher. Sadly, I learned the owner Brian is closing the shop at the end of the year so it will soon be a moot point. A true end of an era.

    1. My grandmother was Emma Mae Jeanette of iron Mountain Michigan. She owned a pasty shop back in the early 1900s and sold mostly to the ironworkers and lumber workers for their lunches. It was written up in a newspaper article which I have Tucktaway somewhere and so when I was there, this last two years, I went there twice. Apparently the original shop burned down And another one took its place. I do believe they had the same recipe. They wouldn’t share with me whether they used flank steak and or suet, but that was on my grandmother made them back then they were not made with rutabaga just me potatoes suet, butter, salt, and pepper , and apparently what is the talk of the town I really enjoyed having them I would give my IQs to have some before I croak. I am on my way out now it’s 78 and living on the West Coast. I miss the history and the wonderful flavors anybody have any suggestions how I could get some sent to me frozen I would be thrilled to do it

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