Lehto’s Pasties

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This is not a car ad, just a busy place.

It’s never easy to live up to expectations, and more often than not, they can’t be reached.

So when I went to review my favorite pasty shop before The Pasty Guy became a thing, I expected Lehto’s Pasties to get full points. It’s one of the most popular places in the Upper Peninsula for a reason and probably the most popular along US-2.

In prime season, Lehto’s, on the west side of St. Ignace, always has a few cars in the parking lot. Every day, the pasties are made fresh by the same family and the menu is everything you need: beef pasty.

Sure, they also throw gravy on the menu, but that’s really just for show and for anyone that wants to gain a few extra pounds.

New ownership took over in 2012 when the Walker’s purchased it, but it wasn’t that big of a change since Lehto runs in their family. And so, the same recipe remains.

The main difference for Lehto’s pasties is that they aren’t your typical Cornish pasty with a handle on the side. Some shops can succeed without it, others not so much. Lehto’s succeeds.

pasty, pasty review, pasties, pasty guy, lehtos pasties, lehtosThe crust, most likely full of lard, is as good of a crust you can find. It’s flaky, has a good thickness, is maybe a little too greasy, and more than anything, makes you want more.

Unfortunately, without the handle, you don’t get much more. The two ends have that extra taste, but throughout the pasty – especially the Lehto’s pasty – I often wanted more crust to taste.

Most of that desire comes from what was inside. Unlike most shops, Lehto’s slices everything: potatoes, veggies, meat, everything. And partly because of that, the middle is a bit mushy, which is one of the downsides to this pasty.

Yes, it tastes good, but definitely not the most pleasing thing to the eye. While that doesn’t affect taste, it definitely knocks down the overall perception of it.pasty, pasty review, pasties, pasty guy, lehtos pasties, lehtos

Because of the mush, it was hard to tell exactly how much meat there was. Most bites contained an overload of potatoes. Along with the potatoes was an overload of salt, which was the main reason the inside stuffing overpowered the crust most of the way.

Either give me more crust, or make the inside less overpowering. You can taste the crust in every bite, sure, but often, you want more of it.

As for those that want gravy or ketchup, have a different pasty. Lehto’s pasties want no part of those additives and can easily be eaten by themselves.

Lehto’s had a big expectation to live up to and maybe they didn’t fully reach it, but they still remain one of the better shops to visit for a pasty.

Taste: 4 (out of 5)
Crust: 4.5 (out of 5)
Pasty Presentation: 2.5 (out of 5)
Maybe the most disappointing thing
The Shop: 3 (out of 3)
I think only three people work there. Make friends with them.
Would I come back for Pasties?: 2 (out of 2)

Total Pasty Rating: 16 (of 20 points)

(Reviewed Summer 2016)

27 thoughts on “Lehto’s Pasties

  1. I’m 66 years old John Letho worked on the boats with my grandfather I have been eating Letho Pasties since I was old enough to eat real food and other than my mom’s fried Chicken nothing compares to Letho’s pasties

  2. Lehto’s opened a second location in town here in St Ignace. They’re right across from Shepler’s, and expanded their menu a bit. I still prefer the traditional beef pastie, but they have some great chili and also terrific cookies. I’d be curious to read your evaluation if you had the time/inclination to visit St Ignace again!

    1. Yes! Wasn’t sure when it opened. Thanks for the reminder, I’ll have to visit soon. Woah, I see they have chicken and veggie now too… interesting.

  3. I found myself missing the rutabaga. Either its not in these pasties or there isn’t enough. Overall a good pasty though!

  4. I agree mostly on your assessment for Lehto’s pasties. I think you’re overly generous. We tried 3 different pasty places based on your recommendations during our trip. Lehto is certainly 3 place and we don’t see a reason to eat there again. Jacks Fresh Market in Manistique was fantastic followed by Jeans in Marquette. Both excellent! And we found your descriptions to be very accurate. Thank you! We look forward to trying more on our next trip to the UP! Thank you!

    1. Thanks for reading Deb. Glad I could help. Make sure to check out the pasty trails if you’re looking for a route to take or other things to do!

  5. I ran across your site while doing a search tonight. I have a strong opinion on Lehto’s. The USE TO be the best party in the UP. Before the shop was sold. The people who run it now claim nothing changed but they did. I knew it immediately the first time I grabbed a party there after the sale. Not the same, I have not been back since. But, ever since then I have been searching for a new favorite best pasty. I have yet to find one that tasted like the old Lehto’s. Maybe its just because thats where we always went. Right now I like Muldoons, my family likes Jean Kays. But this year I finally tried Roy’s in Houghton. Ya, might be a new fave. But its in Houghton and I don’t often make it that far. 🙂 So Muldoons is still my fave. Oh, and your thing about the handle is weird. 🙂 Sorry. I care about taste. Oh, and while I’m at it. People, stop putting catsup, gravy or anything else on your pasties!!!! Not suppose to have anything. If it needs it, its not very good. Looking forward to trying some I have not yet. Cheers. Cool site!

  6. My wife and I stopped there this labor day weekend (2021) and tried our first ever. All and all we were pleased. And plan returning there next time we get up to the U.P. ( we are from Elkhart, IN)

  7. I tried Lehto,’s on the way out of the UP because of your review. Got there just as the pasties were still warm. I loved them. Seriously. I had only tried Muldoons in Munising a couple years ago and one restaurant in Mackinaw (that i can’t recall the name). Honestly, i can’t even remember what i thought of them so I’m betting they weren’t anything special. But Lehto,’s really stood out. I’m back in Ohio now and still have visions of that pastie! You’re right, it was a tad soft inside but i loved how they sliced everything, the crust was perfectly salted and delicious and baked to perfection. It’s huge and worth their $10 price. I was going to eat half of it but couldn’t put it down. Also, i didn’t see any carrots in it or taste rutabaga but that doesn’t change the 4.5 star rating i gave it.

    1. Awesome, I agree. I haven’t been to Lehto’s in a couple years because I’m still trying everything else but it’s always busy whenever I drive past! Thanks for reading!!

  8. I ate my first Lehto’s pasty (or as much as a 3 year old could eat) on a trip to Da Yooperland in 1947 with my parents who spent every summer vacation trip at my Grandmother’s camp near Gwinn. My Mother spoke Finnish with Mrs. Lehto while she was packing up our purchase. We would eat them at the Cut River Bridge. I have never missed more than one year since then and I’m about to turn 79! To me, Lehto’s are the best, not only because they are what I grew up with, but also because of the sliced meat and veggies. Slicing gives a different texture and taste. When we went to Cornwall, England, I had a pasty from the most recommended pasty shop in Cornwall and the meat and the veggies were sliced. The taste was similar to Lehto’s. Lehto’s used to give out their recipe and I have a copy.

    1. That’s quite the memory and nostalgia definitely plays a part. I agree with the sliced ingredients, it’s a nice touch. So what’s the Lehto’s secret recipe? That they haven’t changed a thing since 1947? Thanks for the story!

    2. Lehto pasties are our fave! We chanced upon them in Traverse City when they were being sold out of their food truck, located them later in the U.P. We don’t drive there now. Would you be kind enough to share their recipe you mentioned you have?
      cnwoodlore@gmail.com Carol

  9. Lehto’s is still my favorite spot overall, for a variety of reasons. I was re-reading your review and largely agree with your assessment. I thought that you might enjoy a little “tidbit” from a local worker across the street at Shepler’s …

    Our operations chief mentions EXACTLY what you say … although he does enjoy Lehto’s, he finds the insides “mushy” (his words). It made me laugh when I read the same words and feelings in your review.

    Our family have enjoyed those pasties for a few generations. In the old days, they did slice the ingredients; however, in the interests of uniformity … there evolved a finer dicing of the interior ingredients. We used to buy them from the older woman out on US2, then her daughter Cassie, and now the current owners, Bill & Laurie Walker. The Lehto family is an institution here in “Iggy” …

    I also agree with you in that I would love more rutabaga as well … and their crust is awesome. One does want a bit more of it, ha ha ha! If you end up coming this way, stop down at the Shepler’s dock and say hello!! Sure would love to meet you in person.

    I do use ketchup a bit on my pasties, but you don’t need it on a Lehto’s sort! That’s one of the attractions for me, as it was for my late husband! Neither of us ever enjoyed gravy, ha ha ha. Love your page!

    1. Thanks for reading and following along! The Lehto’s pasties definitely taste good, but good to hear I’m not completely off base on my thoughts. And unfortunately their new location isn’t as good, at least for the couple pasties I’ve had from there.

      Yes, there are a lot of restaurants along US-2 that serve gravy, which is too bad! The goal is no condiments!!

  10. I just ordered my second batch. I’m from Downriver Detroit and haven’t been in the U.P. since 1993. So, I order them online to be shipped. The ones I had last month, in December, were fantastic. I had to order more. The cravings are too much to endure. No one around here makes anything decent. If the pasties from this order are just as good as the last then Lehto’s will have gained a new regular customer.

  11. Does anyone know if Lehto’s Veggie Pasty can be classified as Vegetarian? I am not concerned with butter or shortening. Just wondering if it has chicken stock etc etc


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