Kathy’s Pasties

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After reviewing Kathy’s Pasties in 2018, I was contacted by the owner and she told me that they would update their recipe following my suggestions. It took me a while to return (Spring 2021 to be exact), but I’m glad I did.

pasty, pasty review, pasties, pasty guy, farwell, kathys pastiesKathy deserves a shoutout for improving her recipe. I’ve been told to return to other places because maybe I got a bad one, but this was the first time a return visit took me by surprise. 

These pasties are really good and they deserve a second review. To read my original review, scroll further down the page.

Most of Kathy’s customers are likely making their way to the north, some to Traverse City, others to Houghton Lake or even just to US-127. I’ve visited a couple times and they always seem to have customers, so that’s good.

The look of these pasties is still a problem, but I can usually forgive that if they taste good and that’s what these do. Comparing with pictures from a few years ago, the insides look completely different. In addition to being a lot of moisture, probably some fat from the meat, it exploded with flavor. 

Some pasties can be bland, but Kathy’s Pasties no longer have that problem. In addition to having a good portion of meat, it was mixed well and every bite had that same great taste. I even found a couple pieces of rutabaga for that true pasty touch.pasty, pasty review, pasties, pasty guy, farwell, kathys pasties

Still, the crust was still a problem. It had a decent flavor, almost like a pretzel, but it didn’t have a handle and was extremely thin. While I still managed to eat it all with my hands, the bottom was kind of soggy and I was surprised it didn’t break through.

Either way, these pasties are now something I’ll seek out when in the area. They’re a bit higher priced than a lot of standalone shops, but they have to stay afloat somehow.

Taste: 4.5 (out of 5)
Crust: 2.5 (out of 5)
Pasty Presentation: 3.5 (out of 5)
The Shop: 2.5 (out of 3)

Would I come back for Pasties?: 2 (out of 2)

Total Pasty Rating: 15 (of 20 points)

(Reviewed Spring 2021)

Previous review

There aren’t many places with pasties in the northern part of the Lower Peninsula. There’s a couple on the route to Traverse City and Kathy’s Pasties is one of them. Found just west of Clare in the middle of the state, it’s not a convenient location unless taking M-115 or M-10.

Luckily, I stopped on my way to the north. The shop has gotten an upgrade over the years, once just a snack and ice cream stop, it’s become a homemade pasty shop. There are other things on the menu like fries and Koegel’s, but you go for the pasties.

pasty, pasty review, pasties, pasty guy, farwell, kathys pastiesKathy’s pasty isn’t normal no matter what some online reviews say. It’s basically a ball, which means there’s no handle. As of note, I’ve seen pictures that Kathy has posted and some of them have handles so I’m not sure what the true method is, but I review the one I eat.

It appears to be set up like a regular pasty, but Kathy makes hers by simply pulling up the edges. The crust I had was a bit soft and kind of tasted like a pizza crust, which was a tad weird. It at least tasted like something so I can’t fault it too much.

The same can’t be said for the insides, which include the basic ingredients (plus celery?) for a beef and rutabaga pasty. The problem with my pasty was the sparse amounts of salt and pepper, which led to beef tasting like beef and veggies tasting like veggies. There was nothing to them. Pasties are meant to be a simple food, but they aren’t eaten in mines anymore and flavor is needed. pasty, pasty review, pasties, pasty guy, farwell, kathys pasties

Of course, if I didn’t eat my pasties plain and instead with some gravy, it may have tasted a little better. Kathy says that more flavor comes after pre-cooking the veggies so maybe they were too busy when I visited and didn’t do that step?

It’s great that there’s a pasty shop in central Michigan, but visitors may not be getting a true representation of a pasty at Kathy’s. 

The base is there to be something, but without a true pasty crust or enough flavoring, there needs to be some tinkering.pasty, pasty review, pasties, pasty guy, farwell, kathys pasties

If you’re stopping through on your travels, the pasties take about five minutes unless you call ahead. Kathy also ships pasties “free,” but they come out to nine or 10 bucks per pasty, which is a couple dollars more than the in-store price. Some people claim that Kathy’s Pasties are better than a few in the Upper Peninsula, but…

Taste: 3 (out of 5)
Crust: 2.5 (out of 5)
Pasty Presentation: 3 (out of 5)
The Shop: 2.5 (out of 3)

Would I come back for Pasties?: 0 (out of 2)

Total Pasty Rating: 11 (of 20 points)

(Reviewed Summer 2018)

4 thoughts on “Kathy’s Pasties

  1. Hello, thanks for the review on my business, ‘Kathy’s Pasties. I’ll discuss your comments with our cooks, we will increase our seasoning,
    we cut, cook,bake, make our pasties by hand, using fresh veggies and meat. We do offer our Big Yooper pastie, which is no celery or carrots, a true U.P pastie. Please stop in again. Thanks. Kathy.

      1. The non-traditional crust is the best part of Kathy’s pasty! Though I like traditional pastys, I am often underwhelmed by thick, dry crusts and particularly displeased when some pasty makers get overzealous with the massive crimped seam (handle?) which, in the end results in a dry, tasteless dog biscuit that even ketchup nor gravy can redeem. Kathy turns that on its head by creating a nearly seamless pasty and a glazed crust which actually has flavor. To me, her crust is reminiscent of that first bite into a buttery dinner roll, with an egg washed cap and soft texture. Im that sense, to me, Kathy’s crust sets a new standard that’s leaves the traditionalist pasty chefs back in the mines.

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