2020 Keweenaw Pasty Challenge

2020 Keweenaw Pasty Challenge

Keweenaw Pasty Challenge Overview  |  Round 1: Match 1  |  Match 2

Round 2: Match 3  | Match 4 | Match 5  | Match 6

Final Four: Meet the Coaches | Match 7 | Match 8 | Match 8 – Overtime

Follow along: #KeweenawPastyChallenge

May 17, 2020

Championship Round: Toni’s Country Kitchen vs Mohawk Superette


The final round of the Keweenaw Pasty Challenge is now set!  It’s down to the Flyin’ Mohawkians of Mohawk Superette and the Fightin’ Tonis of Toni’s Country Kitchen.  The stakes are high and both pasty pros are chompin’ at the bit to claim the prestigious title.  Use the poll below to submit your vote for the Keweenaw’s favorite Pasty Pro! The final vote will begins today Sunday, May 17th at noon and ends on Monday, May 18th at 11:59 am.  Be sure to check in and vote for your favorite pasty!

May 11, 2020

OVERTIME: Roy’s Pasties vs Mohawk Superette

After a thorough and intense investigation by the Keweenaw Pasty Commission, we have decided to declare an overtime re-match between Roy’s and Mohawk Superette!  We’ve invested in a new voting app and will re-launch the vote beginning today (May 11) at noon. Just use the poll below to cast your vote!  Voting will last for 24 hours and expire at noon on May 12.  May the best pasty pro advance!


May 5, 2020

BREAKING NEWS: PASTY-GATE 2020 – Keweenaw Pasty Challenge Final Four Hacked?

Fans across the country are nervously awaiting the results of the Keweenaw Pasty Commission’s investigation into abnormal voting records from yesterday’s semi-final match between Roy’s Pasties & Bakery and Mohawk Superette. The winner, which would face Toni’s Country Kitchen in the championship round of the first annual Keweenaw Pasty Challenge, is currently under review thanks to a last minute surge of votes that pushed Roy’s over the finish line as the clock expired on the Keweenaw CVB’s Facebook poll.  

What We Know

  • The match’s vote began on Sunday (5/3) at noon with little publicity or announcement.
  • Mohawk Superette surged to a commanding lead from the jump and maintained the lead (peaking at around 1,000 votes) into the wee hours of Monday, May 4.
  • Beginning at 10:00 am (or there abouts), a wave of votes came in in favor of Roy’s.  Many of these late votes appear to come from overseas accounts with little to no Facebook activity prior to event of interest.  
  • The voting poll closed at noon with Roy’s leading by approximately 400 votes.

What We Suspect

There are several plausible scenarios that are currently being investigated by the Commission:

  • The vote was hacked by a malicious foreign entity looking to seed distrust among the voting public and destroy the credibility of the Keweenaw Pasty Challenge competition.
  • A flaw in the Facebook voting platform triggered a malfunction in polling technology (e.g. the “hanging chad” of our generation).
  • Roy’s tasty pasties and baked goods went global and finally received the international attention and support it deserves.

Where Do We Go From Here?

With so much at stake, and with Toni’s waiting in the wings, it’s important that the Keweenaw Pasty Commission get this right.  We are exploring our options and will unveil our final decision shortly.

#KeweenawPastyChallenge #PastyGate2020


May 3, 2020

Final Four: Roy’s Pasties & Bakery vs Mohawk Superette

Which pasty pro will meet Toni’s Country Kitchen in the Keweenaw Pasty Challenge Final Four?  Will it be the little grocery store from Mohawk or the big city pasty shop in Houghton?  It what is billing billed as the biggest match to date, we’ll see which competitor earns the invitation to the Championship.

Roy’s Pasties & Bakery

Roy’s Pasties and Bakery has had a relatively easy path to the Final Four, besting the Keweenaw Co-Op by a large margin in Round 2. With the glitz and glamour of the L.A. Lakers, Roy’s team is flying high into the Final Four.  No one can question their tasty creativity and diverse pasty options.  But will that get them past a hungry Mohawk Superette squad?  

Coach:  Sam Casey, Finlandia University Men’s Basketball

Path to the Final Four:  Defeated Keweenaw Co-Op 84% to 16% 

Analysis and Strategy

Mohawk Superette

Let’s be honest folks.  I don’t think anyone saw the club from Mohawk getting this far in the competition.  Blue bloods like Roy’s and Toni’s sure.  But I don’t think Vegas gave Mohawk Superette the best odds.  But here we are. And boy, are they on fire.  With Victor launching a new Jalapeno pasty recently and the enthusiasm of their fan base, there’s no question Mohawk Superette has a chance to take home the title.  With victories over Soumi’s and Amy J’s, this team is for real.

Coach:  Mariah Dunham, Finlandia University Women’s Basketball

Path to the Final Four:  Defeated Amy J’s 52% to 48% (Round 2); Defeated Soumi Home Bakery & Restaurant 64% to 36% (Round 1)

Analysis and Strategy


Voting for the second Final Four match starts today (May 3) at noon!  Head on over to our Facebook page and vote for your favorite to make the Championship Round!

May 1, 2020

Final Four: Toni’s Country Kitchen vs Pasty Central

Folks, it’s game day!  Today, the Keweenaw Pasty Challenge kicks off the final four with a head to head match up between Pasty Central and Toni’s Country Kitchen.  It’s sure to be an intense competition between two incredible pasty pros!  Let’s break down the two contenders with some in-depth analysis by their head coaches.

Toni’s Country Kitchen

Toni’s is a heavy hitting club based in Laurium, MI.  Known for their traditional pasty (no carrots), great breakfasts, and tasty baked goods, Toni’s is a hit with locals and visitors alike. They make a beefy, carrot-less pasty with a nice crisp crust. 

Coach:  Kevin Luke, Michigan Tech Men’s Basketball

Path to the Final Four:  Defeated Kaleva Cafe 68% to 32% 

Analysis and Strategy

Pasty Central

Pasty Central entered the Keweenaw Pasty Challenge as a legitimate title contender and betting favorite.  This pasty kitchen based in Kearsarge, MI ships frozen pasties across the country in addition to bestowing “golden pasty” awards to some of the region’s best online websites.  They cruised in their first round match, but had a nail-bitter against Connie’s Kitchen in Round 2.  With a week to rest, we expect Pasty Central Nation to come out fresh and ready to battle.

Coach: Sam Hoyt, Michigan Tech Women’s Basketball

Path to the Final Four: Defeated Connie’s Kitchen 52% to 48% (Round 2); Defeated Kangas Cafe 60% to 40% (Round 1)

Analysis and Strategy


Voting starts today (May 1) at noon!  Head on over to our Facebook page to get your vote in and decide who punches their ticket to the Championship Round!

April 30, 2020

Final Four: Remaining Pasty Pros Receive Elite Coaching

With the Final Four set to kick off this Friday (May 1), our remaining competitors are getting some last minute help from local elite coaching talent.  Each pasty pro has been assigned a head coach to devise a winning game plan and move on to the championship round.  Get to know our coaches by reading the details below

Coach Sam Casey – Roy’s Pasties & Bakery

Sam Casey has finished his first season head coach of the Finlandia University men’s basketball team. The Lions won five ACAA Player of the Week awards, had an All-ACAA second team selection and set three school records. Casey spent two years as head coach of men’s basketball at San Antonio College (Texas).  He took over a program that had just one returning player and increased the schedule from 16 to 30 games in his second year.  Casey had four academic all-conference and four all-conference selections.  Read on

Coach Mariah Dunham – Mohawk Superette

Mariah Dunham is head coach of women’s basketball at Finlandia University.  She is also the Senior Women’s Administrator and Assistant A.D. for Wellness.  Dunham is 23-29 in two years.  2019-20 was a record breaking year for the Lions as they finished 16-11, the first winning season since 2014-15.  The Lions capped it off by beating UC Santa Cruz 60-50 to win the ACAA Championship, the first in program history. Read on

Coach Sam Hoyt – Pasty Central

Sam Hoyt was named as the ninth head coach of the Michigan Tech women’s basketball program, Director of Athletics Suzanne Sanregret announced Tuesday (May 29, 2018). Hoyt returns to Tech from the University of Sioux Falls where she served as an assistant coach. Hoyt was a standout player for the Huskies, helping lead the program to the 2011 NCAA Division II National Championship game as well as garnering multiple individual awards, including All-American Honorable Mention honors. Read on

Coach Kevin Luke – Toni’s Country Kitchen

Kevin Luke, the winningest coach in Michigan Tech basketball history begins his 20th season leading the Huskies. He has earned a plethora of accolades since his appointment as the program’s 11th head coach in May of 1994. Luke has guided the Huskies to five Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles, earned five NCAA Tournament berths and won his 300th game in a 74-72 victory over Grand Valley State on March 2, 2011.  Read on.

April 27, 2020

UPDATE: Pasty Central makes the Final Four  

In what can only be described as a back and forth nail-biter, Pasty Central narrowly defeated Connie’s Kitchen to grab the last Final Four spot of the Keweenaw Pasty Challenge.  Connie’s jumped out to an early lead, but a late push from Pasty Central Nation earned a victory with a score of 52% to 48%.  To recap, the remaining teams are:

  • Mohawk Superette – Mohawk
  • Roy’s Pasties & Bakery – Houghton
  • Pasty Central – Kearsarge
  • Toni’s Country Kitchen – Laurium

Stay tuned for updates and the Final Four Schedule  coming soon!

April 26, 2020

Round 2: Match 6 – Connie’s Kitchen vs Pasty Central

It’s Sunday morning, and the coffee hasn’t quite kicked in yet, but it’s never too early to talk pasty.  Today’s match is a big one that will decide the final spot for our Keweenaw Pasty Challenge Final Four. It’s a battle between two pasty pros separated by less than 4 miles:  Connie’s Kitchen versus Pasty Central

Connie’s Kitchen

This little pasty kitchen and bakery is located a couple of blocks away from the historic downtown of Calumet, MI. Bypassing the first round, we’ll see if Connie Kitchen Crazies are able to rally in in Round 2. While specializing in traditional pasties, Connie’s also offers a green-pepper version that keep the locals coming back for more.  Walk into this small bake shop, and you’ll be greeted with the smells of fresh bread, baked goods, and daily soup specials.  Friendly counter service adds a great finishing touch!  

Pasty-Specs: Potatoes, carrots, rutabaga, onion and pasty meat in a light crust

Pasty Central

Pasty Central Nation is riding high into Match 6 after a victory over Kangas Cafe in Round 1.  They rose the occasion in the early round, but the competition is about to get a lot stiffer.  Pasty Central is best known for shipping delicious pasties across the country, but you may not know that its roots began in the Still Waters Assisted Living Community in Calumet. For years Still Waters residents peeled the veggies for their pasties as a regular activity and selling a small number of pasties were to locals as a fund raiser. Eventually, word got out about pasties’ quality and taste, and the employees struck a deal with the organization to create what we now call Pasty Central.  Despite the assisted living center closing its doors in 2006, Pasty Central remains committed to assisting seniors throughout the U.P.  

Pasty-Specs: 75 percent beef, 25 percent pork, potatoes, rutabaga, carrots, onions, spices, and a 100 percent vegetable shortening pastry crust

Time to Vote

Voting starts today (April 26) at noon!  Head on over to our Facebook page to get your vote in and decide who clinches the final Final Four spot!

April 24, 2030

UPDATE: Mohawk Superette Edges Past Amy J’s

In what was easily the closest match of the Keweenaw Pasty Challenge, Mohawk Superette narrowly defeated Amy J’s Pasties & Bake Shop by a final score of 52% to 48%.  The eventual winners jumped out to an early 100 vote lead before Amy J’s support came to life.  Despite a late push, the little bake shop form Hancock couldn’t close the gap before the final bell.  

Our final second round match-up features Connie’s Kitchen and Pasty Central to claim the last Final Four spot.  Voting begins Sunday at noon!

April 23, 2020

Round 2: Match 5 – Amy J’s vs Mohawk Superette

Mohawk Superette

Mohawk Superette flew out of the gate in Round 1 to defeat Suomi Home Bakery & Restaurant with a score of 64% to 36%. The Pride of Keweenaw County, this grocery store serves fresh pasties on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  And you gotta give this pasty pro credit for their “in-game” skills because they launched a new Jalapeno Pasty on April 17. Rumor has it that this spicy spin on the traditional pasty will light up the competition come game time. Talk about throwing down the gauntlet.  Let’s see if the Stormin’ Superettes come to play in Round 2.  

Amy J’s Pasties & Bake Shop

This charming little pasty kitchen, located near what locals call “Santori’s Corner” in north Hancock, enters the Keweenaw Pasty Challenge as a dark horse contender. Amy J’s Pasties is a local treasure specializing in flaky, buttery pasties with traditional and veggie options. As you step into the quaint, red-roofed pasty shop a stones throw from the Quincy Mine, you’ll be warmly greeted by Amy and her husband and the smell of freshly baked bread.  The duo also specialize in homemade cookies (oatmeal raisin are a personal favorite), cinnamon rolls, Finnish Nisu, and fantastic customer service. 

Pasty Specs: Perfectly seasoned in a flaky crust with a mix of sliced potatoes, rutabaga and carrots and pasty meat. Large and small sizes available.

Time to Vote

Voting starts today (April 23) at noon!  Head on over to our Facebook page to get your vote in and decide who makes it to the Final Four!

April 22, 2020

UPDATE: Toni’s County Kitchen advances 

In a battle between two local favorites, the diner from Laurium power passed Kaleva Cafe with a final score of 68% to 32%.  Credit the beef to veggie ratio or maybe the side of butter, but Toni’s Country Kitchen pulled away as the match progressed.  

Tune in tomorrow (4/23) at noon for Match #5: Mohawk Superette vs Amy J’s.

April 21, 2020

Round 2: Match 4 – Toni’s Country Kitchen vs Kaleva Cafe

Round 3: Toni’s Country Kitchen vs Kaleva Cafe

Toni’s Country Kitchen

You’ll find Toni’s Country Kitchen, one of the Keweenaw’s best known pasty pros, nestled in the small town of Laurium, MI. Toni’s features the award winning Cornish Pasty (you won’t find any carrots in this 1 lb delight), but they’re also highly regarded for their assortment of ethnic baked goods made fresh daily – saffron rolls & bread, walnut Povitica, date bars & tarts, homemade Nisu & bread, cookies, and much more. 

During the summer months, you’ll find Toni’s packed with locals and out-of-towners alike, thanks to the beefy pasties, sweet treats and more.  Stop in to grab the latest local news or recommendations on local fishing and hiking spots.

Pasty Specs: Rugged ground beef, sliced potatoes, onions, and rutabagas stuffed in a a flavorful, crisp crust.

Kaleva Cafe

Located in the heart of downtown Hancock, MI, Kaleva Cafe has been serving hot, fresh food to customers since 1918!  A quintessential small town diner, Kaleva’s boasts a huge menu filled with homemade favorites and baked goods like pies, tarts, Nisu bread, and more.  The cafe offers breakfast, lunch and dinner options.  You’ll find plenty of locals and Finlandia University students (a small, private liberal arts university in Hancock) frequenting the restaurant thanks to its affordable prices and quick service.  

Pasty Specs: A mixture of diced-up onions, carrots, rutabagas, potatoes, and pasty meat all inside a golden crust.  A cup of gravy can be added for $2.25.


Voting starts today at high noon on Facebook!

April 20, 2020

UPDATE: Roy’s Pasties & Bakery Moves on to Final Four

In dominant fashion, Roy’s locks down the first Final Four spot of the Keweenaw Pasty Challenge. With a final tally of 84% to 16% against the Keweenaw Co-Op, this hometown bakery looks to be a serious contender.

Match #4 begins tomorrow afternoon at noon featuring the pride of Laurium, Toni’s Country Kitchen against Kaleva Cafe.  

April 19, 2020

Round 2: Match 3 – Roy’s Bakery vs Keweenaw Co-Op

Round 2: Match #3 Keweenaw Co-Op vs Roy’s Pasties & Bakery

Roy’s Pasties & Bakery

For anyone who’s tried a pasty and thought “not my style”, I give you Roy’s Pasties & Bakery.  Located right off the Portage Canal in downtown Houghton, Roy’s is best known for their incredible array of creative pasty combinations. Along with their “traditional” pasty, Roy’s lineup includes local favorites like the breakfast pasty (crisp golden pasty crust is wrapped around eggs, breakfast sausage, potato, cheese, onion and seasoning), a pizza pasty, a chicken-&-broccoli pasty, and even a “Thanksgiving” pasty (filled with delicious roasted turkey, potatoes, savory gravy, dressing and cranberries!). 

But Roy’s isn’t a one trick pony. This pasty pro also produces mouth-watering baked goods, soups and sandwiches.  WARNING: Do not take young children or middle-aged men into Roy’s unless you’re prepared to leave with an abundance of cookies, donuts, cakes and other sweet treats.  

Traditional Pasty Specs: A delicious blend of beef, pork, rutabaga, potato, onion and carrot, seasoned to perfection and nestled in a golden crust.

Keweenaw Co-Op

Community-owned since 1973, the Keweenaw Co-Op has connected the Copper Country with organic and natural groceries for products for nearly half a century!  Originally a pre-order bulk purchasing club, the Co-Op has evolved to a fully-functioning grocery store located in Hancock, MI and specializes in a great selection of organic and environmentally-conscious products. Local farmers and regional producers help supply the Co-Op’s and keep money circulating in the Keweenaw economy.

One of the Co-Op’s major attractions is their full-service deli and bakery which uses local, organic, non-GMO, Fair Trade, cruelty-free and earth-friendly products.  This is where you’ll find the Co-Op’s selection of pasties!  Freshly made, these pasties have a passionate, local following thanks to their vegan variety.


Voting starts today at high noon on Facebook!

April 17, 2020

UPDATE: Pasty Central Moves On

Pasty Central defeats Kangas Cafe to move on to Round 2

Well, it was a little closer than many of Pasty Central Nation would like, but the Kitchen from Kearsarge moves on to Round 2.  Defeating Kangas Cafe by a score of 60% to 40%, Coach Charlie Hopper had high praise for his competition and credit the victory to a total team effort.  With the first round in the rear-view mirror, Pasty Central will be matched up with the pride of Calumet, Connie’s Kitchen next week.  

Up next:  Roy’s Bakery vs Keweenaw Co-Op – Sunday, April 19th 

For those following along at home, here’s an updated bracket.  

April 16, 2020

Round 1: Match 2 – Pasty Central vs Kangas Cafe

Keweenaw Pasty Challenge Match 2

Match #2 of the Keweenaw Pasty Challenge

Pasty Central

Pasty Central needs no introduction (but we’re going to do it anyway).  Winner of the 2016 USA Today 10 Best Michigan’s Best Pasty award, this national powerhouse is a heavy favorite to take home the Keweenaw Pasty Challenge title.  Located in Kearsarge, MI, this pasty kitchen cranks out pasties for the masses with more than 50,000 shipped out annually!  Each pasty is made by hand using their original Still Waters recipe inside their USDA-approved pasty kitchen. Locals can enjoy their fare by visiting The Hut Restaurant just north of Calumet or order a dozen through their website.  

So how good are these pasties?  Well, they’re back-ordered through the fall.  Let that sink in for a hot minute.  

Pasty-Specs: 75 percent beef, 25 percent pork, potatoes, rutabaga, carrots, onions, spices, and a 100 percent vegetable shortening pastry crust

Kangas Cafe

Don’t let their underdog status fool you. This family-owned pasty pro comes with multiple generations of food catering and restaurant experience!  Dolores and Chris Kangas started the family catering biz  in the 1980’s and officially opened Kangas’ Cafe and Catering on September 15, 2008 in the Jutila Center in Hancock, MI.  Executive Chef Kevin Kangas now heads the team and has built a strong reputation for decadent baked goods (like special order cakes) and mouth-watering daily lunch specials.  

So what can you expect from a Kangas Cafe pasty?  A true artisan pasty with a flaky crust and perfectly seasoned.  While not considered a “jumbo” pasty, it’s filling and delicious.  Served on Tuesdays and Thursday at the cafe, they’re a big hit with lunch crowd.


Voting starts today at 2 pm on Facebook!

April 15, 2020

UPDATE:  Mohawk Superette Advances Past Suomi Home Bakery & Restaurant!

The pride of Mohawk took down Suomi Home Bakery & Restaurant to pull out an early upset.  With a final tally of 64% to 36% Mohawk Superette looks like stiff competition moving forward.  Our next round match-up features another big-time favorite in Pasty Central who’ll be going head-to-head against Kangas Cafe.  Voting starts at 2 pm tomorrow, April 16th!  

Match 1 Winner


April 14, 2020

Round 1: Match 1 – Suomi vs Mohawk Superette

Match 1: Keweenaw Pasty Challenge

Match 1: Keweenaw Pasty Challenge

The first match-up of the Keweenaw Pasty Challenge pits Houghton’s favorite purveyor of pannukakku against our dark horse pick to the north. It may be the start of Round 1, but we’ve got a real thriller brewing. But first, let’s get a hot take on how this tournament is going to shape up:


Suomi Home Bakery & Restaurant

Suomi Home Bakery & Restaurant is probably best known for their Finnish cuisine, great breakfasts and friendly service. Located in downtown Houghton with easy access to the Keweenaw Waterway, this restaurant’s a hit with Tech students, locals and tourists alike.  With their steady volume of foot traffic and local reputation, Vegas would have Suomi as the slight betting favorite.  But what about their pasties?  Described by one reviewer as “beefy” with chunks of potato and rutabaga, Suomi features a flaky crust and amazing portion sizes.  Not game for a monster pasty?  Why not try their pasty “sliders”? 

Mohawk Superette

But insiders advise spectators to avoid taking Suomi’s competition lightly: The Mohawk Superette.  Based on the Instagram and Facebook comments, this small town grocery store has a passionate fan base looking to make some noise.  This little store has a little bit of everything, and their pasties have been drawing north bound travelers off Highway 41 for decades. As pointed out by one of our Facebook friends, The Mohawk Superette is the only contestant located in Keweenaw County. Plus, their pasties have been mentioned in the New York Times Magazine. Not too shabby for a grocery store in Mohawk.  

Time to Vote

Head on over to our Facebook Page to submit your vote!


April 13th, 2020

Keweenaw Pasty Challenge Overview




Definition: a folded pastry case with a savory filling, typically of seasoned meat and vegetables.

The Pasty is a cultural point of pride in the Keweenaw. They’re almost considered sacred to many life-long residents of the U.P. Debates range far and wide on which pasty reigns supreme.

Over the next month, fans of the Keweenaw will be able to vote for and crown a winner of the first annual Keweenaw Pasty Challenge (Virtual). Our field of ten contestants earn their bread (figuratively and literally) based on making a mean pasty.

Now you will decide who’s the best of the best. Who will be crowned the 2020 Keweenaw Pasty Challenge Champion?  Not familiar with the local pasty?  Check out this video from Michigan Tech to learn more:

Rules of Road

  1. Beginning Tuesday, April 14th one game a day will be played, with the outcome decided by the online voters. Polls will be posted on Keweenaw.info and on our Facebook page and will remain open for 24 hours. Any potential tie will be decided on Instagram.
  2. Traditional pasties only people.  Yes, we know people can get pretty creative with pasty fillings, and these can be really tasty. But for this competition, were comparing apple to apples (figuratively speaking). And no, including carrots won’t disqualify a competitor.  
  3. You’re only eligible to vote once per match, but you’re encouraged to recruit friends and family members to join in on the fun!
  4. This is a single-elimination style tournament. That means once a contestant loses – they’re done for this year.  So be sure to check in each day to make sure you don’t miss a chance to keep your favorite alive.
  5. Sorry, grandmas aren’t eligible competitors. Yes, we know the best pasties come from the kitchens of grandmothers across the Keweenaw, but we had to draw the line. 
  6. The tournament will continue until a winner is crowned! We’ll probably come up with some hokey idea to celebrate the victorious pasty champ.

The Bracket

In some cases, our competitors have decades of experience and mile-long résumé. But unlike most tournaments, there’s no seeding here.  First round match ups and byes are based on random draws.

Keweenaw Pasty Challenge Bracket

Parting Thoughts

The whole point here is to have fun while promoting our fantastic restaurants. We know that many of you are going through some challenging times right now and might welcome a fun, light-hearted distraction. If this works out, we’ll probably do more things like this with other businesses and attractions, so thanks for being our lab rats!  Finally, thank you to all our “competitors”.  You make the Keweenaw a special place to live, work and play!

The first match-up is April 14 between Soumi’s Home Bakery & Restaurant and the Mohawk Superette. If you’re still reading, I assume you’re game.  SO, let the competition begin!

P.S. We’re hoping to get some coverage. Stay tuned: 

Produced by
Please read!

This site uses "Cookies" to store limited information required to provide you with a consistent user experience. Click "Show more" for additional information.

Show more Got it!