Cousin Jenny’s

Review by: Jane & Michael Stern

Pasties arrived in the northland of Michigan over a century ago with Cornish miners who came to dig ore. The men who went down into the mines were tough characters, tough as mules, and therefore known colloquially as Cousin Jacks; their wives were Cousin Jennies. These hard-working immigrants made their native land’s pasty (or, as it’s spelled here, pastie) an Upper Peninsula tradition; and although the mines are closed, the pasty persists. A sort of beef stew inside a sturdy pastry crust, they were originally favored by miners because they were easy to carry and easy to eat – a hearty pocket meal.

Nick and Jerilyn DeBoer opened Cousin Jenny’s restaurant in the 1980s, bringing pasties to Traverse City. It is a modern cafeteria that serves pasties for both breakfast and for lunch. Place your order at the counter where you can see what’s available (there are salads and soups, sandwiches and wraps as well as pasties), then pay at the cash register at the end of the line. When your meal is hot and ready, it will be brought to your table.

Breakfast pasties, known as bobbies, are self-contained pastry pillows of eggs, bacon or sausage, hash browns, and cheese; and while they can be picked up and eaten by hand, they’re hefty and drippy and stuffed enough that a knife and fork make good sense.

Lunch pasties are available in two sizes: ten ounces or a pound; and they definitely need utensils, especially if served with gravy. They are listed on the menu as “Gourmet Pasties,” but the steak pasty is the traditional configuration, filled with beef, potatoes, onion, and rutabaga. In addition, you can get a meatless seven-vegetable pasty with cheese; and there are always novelty pasties available, such as Italian (with pizza sauce and pepperoni) or German (Swiss cheese, ham, and sauerkraut in a rye-flavored crust).

Pasties can be bought partially cooked, ready to bake at home, or fully frozen and ready to ship.

Directions & Hours

10:30am - 4:30pm
  • Monday: 10:30 AM – 4:30 PM
  • Tuesday: 10:30 AM – 4:30 PM
  • Wednesday: 10:30 AM – 4:30 PM
  • Thursday: 10:30 AM – 4:30 PM
  • Friday: 10:30 AM – 4:30 PM
  • Saturday: Closed
  • Sunday: Closed

What To Eat

Sausage Breakfast Bobby

DISH

Cousin Jenny’s Recipes

Discuss

What do you think of Cousin Jenny’s?

2 Responses to “Cousin Jenny’s”

Candace Sterling

August 7th, 2021

Jerilyn herself started her pastie shop- then Nick joined her and they moved to the present location. They are hard workers! She made up a LOT of both traditional and vegetarian smaller pasties for our wedding downstate. The local baker – who made our cakes – (both sheet cakes from fav. family recipes) baked them up for us. When I worked downtown- it sure was a plus to walk over and enjoy a great lunch! I think it is a MUST stop in Traverse City! Enjoy!

Reply

Stewart Wurtzel

January 2nd, 2007

I am pleased to report that the Roadfood.com review of Cousin Jenny’s is as accurate as ever. Jerilyn took the time to explain to us the history of the pasty and the breakfast bobbies. While we were disappointed on our way in to town to find that all the bobbies had sold out for breakfast, Jerilyn arranged a large take out order for me to pick up on the way home, including several different pasties and bobbies. She had them all specially packed for travel. Can’t beat service like that.

We ordered and tried a large variety of pasties for brunch, including the chicken and the beef. Homemade chocolate chip scones were superb, although I was not as thrilled with the raisin scones on the way out.

The outdoor dining was delightful as Jerilyn brought everything out to us at the table and made sure that we did not want for anything. She brought the pasty sauce, the gravy and the sour cream, explaining which topping was suggested for which pasty (do not overload the chicken pasty with gravy as it will mask the flavor). I thought the Italian pasty was superb, with good spice to the meat but not overpowering or overly salty.

Still well worth going to on your way in and out of Traverse City.

Reply

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