Like its bland corporate cousin the Hot Pocket, the pasty was originally conceived as a quick bite for the working man on the go: before the savory meat-and-potato pie became a modern-day staple of British pub fare, the rib-sticker was the preferred take-along snack of English and Finnish miners in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula throughout the 1800s.
The made-from-scratch pasties at Saraveza Bottle Shop & Pasty Tavern are marvels of structural engineering, with thin, flaky crusts that just barely manage to contain their bounty. The key difference between these pasties and today’s standard pub variety, however, is that chef Spence Lack slow-cooks his meat and roasts his veggies before baking them in their doughy nests, which makes for a more toothsome package.
We recommend Lack’s sensational pot roast classic, the Nater. Crammed with tender braised beef, carrots, onions, celery, and potatoes, it’s a rich stew wrapped in a thin pastry. For the noncarnivore, the rustic Nater Potater offers a hearty alternative, bulging with roasted root vegetables. And if the daily special is Lack’s ham-and-cheese pasty, order it. A bite of cheddar baked on top of the shell sets the stage for a rich filling of cheese and chunks of smoky ham.
With three sauces served alongside—the smoldering sweet chipotle, mango-habanero, and a ketchup-based cocktail sauce—you’ll be hard-pressed to save any of these crispy, savory delights for the doggie bag. Just be sure you bring a miner’s appetite.