Two weeks ago, we celebrated my birthday, my girlfriend’s graduation, and my girlfriend’s birthday. My birthday was on a Friday, and I wasn’t able to do much besides work, and play on my coed softball team. I did, however, get to do something that I always enjoy doing- going out and enjoying great food with great company. My girlfriend, a mutual friend, and I went to one of my favorite spots in Downtown Las Vegas: the newly moved and updated Cornish Pasty Co.
What is a Pasty you ask? It is not what women wear to cover their nipples, if that’s what you were thinking (if you pronounce it like that at the restaurant, they have no problem in correcting you). The proper pronunciation is past-ee, not paste-ee. A pasty is a baked pastry; a traditional variety is from Cornwall, United Kingdom. It is a pastry which starts off as a circle. One half is filled with an uncooked filling of choice; the other half is then folded over and the edges are crimped together. It resembles a calzone in looks, but instead of a pizza type dough, it is made with flakey pastry dough like an empanada. It is called a complete dinner within itself.
The classic pasty, as stated before, comes from Cornwall and is regarded as their national dish, and accounts for 6% of their Cornish food economy. It is traditionally filled with beef, potatoes, swede (also known as yellow turnip or rutabaga) and onion, seasoned with salt and pepper and then baked. Pasties though are extremely versatile and can be filled with anything. There are shops all around the world that can carry multiple varieties of pasties from multiple cuisines such as Mexican, Italian, Greek, Irish, etc.
The worldwide popularity of the cornish pasty can be associated with the spread of the Cornish miners. During the late 18th century and the early 19th century, immigrants from Cornwall, Britain migrated to different parts of the world looking for a better life. Most of them were skilled workers in the mining industry. They migrated to countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Brazil. The miners brought many traditions with them and made them popular in their new host countries. One that you wouldn’t expect was Rugby. The other was the Pasty, and each country learned to make their own varieties. Their wives would make their pasties with one side being savory and the other sweet. They would mark which side was the sweet one so their husbands would know which side to start with. Thank you, Cornish Miners for bringing this delicious treat to the masses.
The Cornish Pasty Co was founded in Tempe, Arizona by a Cornwall native Dean Thomas in 2005. He grew up eating them as a kid in Saltash, Cornwall, especially every Friday when he would visit his grandma. He loved them so much that when he moved to America, he brought the tradition with him. When he opened his first shop in Arizona, it was roaring success. Though Cornish Pasty Co still sticks to the basics that are savored throughout all of the UK to this day, he knew that the American people loved to have a choices. The menu boasts a wide variety of variations of the traditional pasty to the flavors of different regions of the world. 90% of the menu are Dean’s original flavors.
The Las Vegas location is located in the Downtown Fremont Arts District; it moved from its previous location in Commercial Center. This was an incredible move for the restaurant because now, they can capitalize on the ever growing food and drink scene in Downtown Las Vegas. Independent restaurants, bars, and shops pave the graffiti art streets of Fremont, leading to a Las Vegas that actually has culture and diversity. If you want to know where the locals go, Fremont is the place (an article will come at some point on the new Fremont experience). But back to what we were originally talking about.
Cornish Pasty Co’s new location is a 7,508 square-foot former fabric store, with a enough room at the bar for 50 people and 145 seating in the restaurant. The restaurant is designed with the experience in mind. The kitchen itself is directly in the middle, with clear glass going all the way around it. You get the opportunity to see and interact with the cooks as they make all of the pasties by hand.
On one side, it is strictly restaurant tables and half the bar. On the other, there is the other half of the bar, long medieval looking communal tables, pool tables, shuffle board, and darts. So whether you are looking to just go to dinner, or a fun night out with friends playing FREE games, this is a great place to go.
I emphasized the word free because it is rare to find a place where they are not trying to make money off of you for wanting to play pool. I’m guessing with the warmer months, during the spring they will open their 2,018 square-foot patio that leads to the back alley. I am very excited to see what they end up putting back there, hopefully a beer garden and out door games with trashcan pong, life size jenga, and corn hole. The only down side of their location is that there is no direct parking next to the restaurant. You have to either find parking along the street or across the street.
Cornish Pasty Co
10 E Charleston Blvd. Las Vegas, Nevada 89104
Also 2 locations in Tempe, 1 in Mesa, 1 in Scottsdale, and 1 soon to be in Phoenix, Arizona
11am – 2 am Mon-Sun $
Cornish Pasty boasts a great microbrewery beer list from brewers all across the nation, as well as a few local favorites. They also offer $4 car bomb all day, every day. I had to get one of those to start my meal. We each ordered our own pasty, plus one to share and then dessert. Each pasty is the size of a large calzone, so one should be more than enough. I’ve been here a few times now, and each time I try to have a different one. There are so many great choices from their signature pasts, premium pasties, vegetarian pasties, and even dessert pasties.
This time I tried a pasty from their premium pasty, and to go a long with the car bomb I started the dinner off with I decided to try the Guinness Stew Pasty: Beef simmered in Guinness gravy cheddar, potato, carrot and celery. Layered with sautéed leeks, portobello and cabbage. Served with sour cream and chive.
My girlfriend has been a traditionalist when going to Cornish Pasty, she always orders the same on (but to be honest I don’t blame her because the one she gets is amazing). She always gets the Shepherd’s Pie: Ground minted lamb with peas & carrots, grilled onions, mashed potatoes, and cheddar. With a side of red wine gravy.
This was the first time that our friend had ever been to Cornish pasty. Her first successful attempt into the pasty world was the All Dat English Breakfast: Bacon, poached egg, potato, grilled tomato, mushroom, sausage, and baked beans. Served with HP, Ketchup, or server suggestion.
Another one that sounded interesting that I just had to try was the English classic Bangers and Mash: Homemade pork with sage sausage, red wine gravy, grilled onions, mashed potatoes, and an extra side of red wine gravy.
Last but definitely definitely not least is the oh so classic and absolutely heavenly, the Sticky Toffee Pudding: made with imported British treacle, served hot with creme anglaise or ice cream (in this photo we went with Vanilla Ice Cream).
I have only tried a few of their 45 different savory pasties (like I said so many to choose from, I don’t know if I will ever get to try them all! I would become seriously overweight if I actually achieved that goal). Still haven’t had a chance to try any of their classic British sides such as oven chips, British style baked beans, mushy peas, or mashed rutabaga. The pasty was always more than enough to fill us up, except for a little dessert of course. The Sticky Toffee Pudding has always been the main one that we have gotten… still the best Sticky Toffee Pudding I have ever had. Their Peanut Butter and Jelly Pasty was quite delicious as well. And their Banoffee Pie, Apple Caramel Pasty, Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding are a must try for us in the near future.
I hope you enjoyed this article, and the pictures and descriptions of our delicious meal make you as hungry as it is making me while writing this. If there is a pasty place near you, you should give it a try. And if you are in Las Vegas or Arizona (Tempe, Mesa, Scottsdale or soon to be Phoenix) you should give Cornish Pasty Co a look- trust me, you won’t regret it.