I didn’t know what I was getting into when I created the original Pasty Trail (PT1). I put it together about four years prior to this version and I still haven’t been able to revisit all of those places. The Pasty Trail is a trek, let me tell you.
But for those looking for new pasty places along with a few brews, you’ve come to the right place. The original Pasty Trail is all about traveling across the Upper Peninsula to see waterfalls and the majestic Porcupine Mountains.
This Pasty Trail is all about the best pasties… and the best beer. While some pasties are too big to enjoy a beer with, my favorite method has been to go to a brewery and get my appetite rolling for a full-pound pasty (not that I’m discrediting food at these breweries). That’s how you’re supposed to do it, right?
A lot of these are smaller shops, marts, gas stations or bakeries, as a lot of the bigger places were in the first Pasty Trail, so if you want more options, make sure to look there, as well. For now… good luck.
Les Cheneaux Distillers, Cedarville
Les Cheneaux is kind of out of the way from everything, but if you’re coming from the Bridge, it’s only a slight detour to Sault Ste. Marie. If you’re unfamiliar with the area, it’s one of the hidden spots in the Upper Peninsula. Les Cheneaux is a quaint town, overlooking 36 small islands in Lake Huron. As for the distillery, they do gin, vodka, whiskey and have a full selection of beer.
If you want to start your trip in Sault Ste. Marie, that’s fine too. There isn’t one place that separates itself from the others. Maybe the most intriguing aspect is that Frank’s considers a pasty to be on the “lighter side” on their menu. I’m not sure how many light pasties I’ve had in my life. Karl’s is a winery and brewery, and slightly more high end.
Northern Superior Brewing, Sault Ste. Marie
The brewery is next to a bistro called Pier 55, but they don’t have pasties, so decide for yourself where you want to go.
The Dunes Saloon Lake Superior Brewing, Grand Marais
The Dunes Saloon is a nice spot to stop and enjoy a local pub, assuming you’re traveling along the north shore. You can go through Tahquamenon Falls (seen in PT1) and make your way along the shore to Grand Marais, but if you’re hurting for time, a straight shot to Munising is possible.
East Channel Brewing Company, Munising
There are a few more Munising choices in PT1, but Miners Pasty holds up as one of the better options around and they also sell ice cream across the street. Then again, I’ve never had a pasty and ice cream in the same sitting.
Bear Trap is easier to visit if you’re trekking through Pictured Rocks along the north shore. Timber Charlie’s is a decently-sized restaurant in downtown Newberry, just south of the famed Oswald’s Bear Ranch.
These options are more of a quick bite and something to eat in the car or to pick up and eat at Presque Isle Park in Marquette. The locals speak highly of Au Train and I’d probably compare them to Lehto’s. Of course, being a college town, the breweries are just as big of a highlight as the pasties (if you like beer). Blackrocks is a hoppin’ spot with an outdoor patio and you can also bring outside pasties and eat them there. It’s a similar situation at Ore Dock. Both are just cool places to go and enjoy a beer and there’s a chance they have live music on your visit. If you want a beer on your way to the Peninsula, Cognition is just west of Marquette.
Cognition Brewing Company, Ishpeming
There seems to be a new pasty shop in Keweenaw Peninsula every time I search for them. While I’d like to visit them all, at some point you can only get to so many on your travels. Of note, make sure to check times for all pasty shops because on one of my trips, I found out the hard way that Amy J’s is only open Monday, Thursday and Friday. I set this trail up so you can start with any of the Hancock shops and then maybe hit up Superette on your way to Copper Harbor. Also, Suomi is a bakery and I don’t believe they serve pasties every day.
When you’re in Copper Harbor and you want beer, Brickside is one of your only options. Of course, no one goes to Copper Harbor just for beer. They have camping, loads of trails and plenty of hiking spots to visit, as well as a ferry that goes to Isle Royale. The Keweenaw taproom is in downtown Houghton and has maybe the cheapest beer I’ve seen from any brewery I’ve visited. If you like a cool spot with cheap, good beer, Keweenaw should be on your list.
This route south of the Peninsula (15-18) is as ideal as it gets in terms of pasty eating, assuming you can consume four pasties in 90 minutes. These are all hidden gems along the trail: two are bakeries, one is a local mart and the other a local bar. If you’re headed to the Porkies, you have no excuse not to grab a pasty because there a couple shops in Ontonagon, as well.
After the trip down from the Peninsula, you can close things off at Cold Iron in Ironwood, the western tip of Michigan. Given the amount of pasties you just ate, it’s probably best to find somewhere to sleep in the area before making the final trek. Luckily, you can open the final leg of the Trail with a stop at Alpha, a couple hours east of Ironwood.
This is where things start to get wild. If Antonio’s was in the Lower Peninsula, it’d be a simple pizza and pasta joint. However, in Iron Mountain, they throw pasties in to get more customers. From there, you have to go to the southern border of the U.P. where locals rave about pasties (I get a lot of recommendations from Menominee). Col K’s is your typical pasty shop, while The Watermark is formerly known as Schloegel’s.
Upper Hand Brewery, Escanaba
Fortunately, the trip north to Escanaba is a fun one on M-35 along the Green Bay (Lake Michigan) shoreline. Upper Hand is one of the more popular breweries out of the U.P. and they also let you bring in outside food, so it’s a perfect spot to enjoy a pasty and a beer.
Mackinaw Trail Winery & Brewery, Manistique
Midway is somewhat off the trail and in the middle of nowhere, but if you really like pasties, they have them. If you prefer not to take the US-2 route, you can also head to Timber Charlie’s (No. 4 in this trip) and then about 75 minutes east, you can finish in Sault Ste. Marie. Three Seasons is a convenient diner next to the Gray Wolf Lodge. The General Store is pretty much what you’d expect and may be the only stop on the road between US-2 and Munising (outside of cottages).
If you don’t want to venture north to Midway or Timber Charlie’s, there’s a popular route along US-2, which is usually nice any time of the year, as long as you like staring into the vastness of Lake Michigan.
I wouldn’t say these pasty places are high on my list, but they close out PT2 at the Bridge if that’s where you’re headed. All three of them are motels and don’t offer fast-food pasties unless you call ahead.
If you came from the south, there are a couple breweries (Rusted Spoke Brewing Co., Biere de Mac Brew Works) to finish your trip with and it wouldn’t be surprising if either had pasties on the menu. Otherwise, Sault Ste. Marie is less than an hour north from the Bridge.