Gram’s Pasties brings new twists to an old favorite

Jordan Beck | Daily Press Gram’s Pasties employee Kelly Betancourt serves up a pasty behind the store’s front counter. The pasty shop was established in the early ‘80s.

Editor’s note: The Daily Press features a profile of an area business each week. This week’s featured business is Gram’s Pasties of Escanaba.

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By Jordan Beck

jbeck@dailypress.net

ESCANABA — Thanks in part to its combination of unusual pasty flavors and old favorites, Escanaba pasty shop Gram’s Pasties has remained successful over the past few decades.

Sheryl Yavorski, who co-owns Gram’s with her husband John, said Gram’s was established in the early ’80s. It is still located in its original building today — though the building also housed another business early on.

“One half was a barbershop, and the other half was a pasty shop,” Yavorski said.

The building was changed to solely house a pasty shop by the mid-’80s.

Though Yavorski was born in the area, she lived with her husband in Ohio for about 20 years. In 2007, the couple moved back to Escanaba; John opened the store “UP Golf Cart” at the time.

“We had that for a couple years, and then Gram’s became available,” Yavorski said.

The couple bought Gram’s in 2009. Eventually, they decided to focus entirely on the pasty shop and closed UP Golf Cart.

Yavorski said business has been strong at Gram’s.

“We get a lot of tourists,” she said.

During the area’s peak tourism season in summer, Yavorski said about 80 percent of customers at Gram’s are from out of the area.

A wide variety of pasties are offered at Gram’s, Yavorski said.

“We have done over 60 different kinds of pasties, but a beef pasty far outsells anything else we do,” she said.

The store sells beef pasties with potato; potato and rutabaga; and potato, rutabaga and carrot each day. Other pasties baked fresh at Gram’s every day include chicken, cheesy broccoli chicken, breakfast and pizza.

Some of the pasties sold at Gram’s are less conventional than those offered on a daily basis.

“One year during Lent, we started doing mac and cheese pasties,” Yavorski said.

These pasties are still available at the store on Fridays.

However, Yavorski said not all of the store’s more experimental offerings have been this successful.

“We did a tuna noodle casserole (pasty) — nobody liked it,” she said.

Along with the store’s fresh pasties, a variety of frozen pasties are sold at Gram’s.

“We have trouble keeping our freezer stocked in the summer,” Yavorski said.

Some of the store’s pasties, including beef without onion, gluten-free and vegan pasties, are generally only available in frozen form.

Although Yavorski has experimented with new ideas for Gram’s in the past — including a food trailer in Ludington Park and a second location in Gladstone — she said she and John are once again running two businesses. The couple now owns 906 Flowers and Gifts, which is located next to Gram’s.

“We’re kind of split between the two,” Yavorski said.

To learn more about Gram’s, find “Gram’s Pasties” on Facebook.