If you believe Butte's Heritage Cookbook, the devil himself was "afraid to come to Cornwall for fear of being baked into a pasty." Cornwall, of course, is the county in southwestern England where the pasty—a savory turnover filled with diced beef, potatoes, and onions—has its origins. To the Welsh, Irish, and Italian miners who emigrated years ago to work in Butte, Mont., pasties were lunch-bucket staples as welcome as a letter from home, as the local saying goes. And they're still popular in the northern Rockies.
BAKER BOB'S BIG STACK BAKERY AND DELICATESSEN Great Falls, Mont. Baker Bob McNamee grew up in Anaconda, Mont., making pasties the old way—mixed, rolled out, and tucked by hand. The payoff, he says, is "flaky crust, tender beef, and great taste." 112 Central Ave., (406) 727-5910.
HOME BAKERY Laramie, Wyo. Ever since Kim Campbell opened his shop, he has offered sourdough bread and meat pies—but for his Australian-style pasties (with carrots), he only takes advance orders. His favorite patrons? The University of Wyoming Cowgirls, who ordered 225 pasties before their first-ever trip to the NCAA basketball tournament this year. (Alas, they lost in the first round.) 304 S. Second St., (307) 742-2721.
JOE'S PASTY SHOP Butte. The scrubbed counters, swiveling stools, and neat rows of coffee cups give this legendary eatery a 1950s feel. "People from Cornwall say our pasties taste the same as the ones at home," says owner Tom Laity. 1641 Grand Ave., (406) 723-9071.
LISA'S PASTY PANTRY Missoula, Mont. Lisa McGrath started the business in 1996, making pasties just like her Irish great-grandmother did. Mining photos and patterned tablecloths offer patrons a taste of old Cornwall west of the Continental Divide. 2004 W. Sussex Ave., (406)543-0839.
NANCY MCLAUGHLIN'S PASTY SHOP Butte. This 30-year-old shop near the Berkeley Pit—the city's abandoned mile-wide copper mine—also specializes in locally favored pork chop sandwiches. 2810 Pine St., (406) 782-7410.
PARK STREET PASTIES Butte. A carry-out spot since 2002, popular with locals for its homemade pasties featuring cut-up steak, potatoes, and onions, and for deli sandwiches on homemade bread. 800 W. Park St., (406) 782-6400.
TOWN TALK BAKERY Butte. Inside glass cases, find Italian breadsticks, Finnish health bread, and pasties featuring ground sirloin. Forty years after it opened in 1936, the bakery was a wedding present from William Spear, Sr., to his son, William Spear, Jr. 611 E. Front St., (406) 782-4985.
WIND'S BAKERY AND PASTY SHOP Anaconda, Mont. Find pasties here amid the butter horns and Tipperary squares (nut-covered cake). Mike Austin, who worked at the 50-year-old bakery as a teen, bought the shop with his wife, Bobbi, in 1990. 208 E. Park Ave, (406) 563-2362.
Photography by Janie Osborne
This article was first published in September 2008. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.