Thanks to British ex-pat Nathan Coe and his Nantucket Pasty Co., the pasty is becoming a household term—and an oft-enjoyed culinary item—in the seaside community of Nantucket, Massachusetts.
Leveraging the talents of Culinary Institute of America–trained pastry chef Josh Smerdon, the two-year-old shop, located on pedestrian-heavy Broad Street, features a variety of different pasties for the breakfast, lunch, and snacking dayparts. The concept offers staple options such as the huevos rancheros, chicken curry, and ham and cheese, alongside a rotating array of specialty pasties ranging from bacon cheeseburger to Boston franks and beans.
Coe discusses bringing the revered British dish to Nantucket.
What inspired you to open the shop?
Nantucket reminded me of Cornwall, England, where the Cornish pasty is from. Both are quiet fishing villages with a massive seasonal trade. I thought the pasty would be a natural fit here, so I put together a package that included details about the concept and brand and sent it off to people. Within a week, I had the private funding to get it off the ground.
What’s special about the pasty?
First, it’s a self-contained, warm- baked meal that fits into the palm of your hand. Second, you can put virtually anything in it, so the varieties are almost unlimited.
Did you adapt anything for the U.S. audience?
Absolutely. We kept its shape, size, and vessel, but we changed the pastry. In England, it’s heavy, robust, and dryer. In our version, it’s healthier, lighter, and flakier. We’ve also incorporated more familiar flavors and ingredients for the American palate.
How has the shop evolved since opening in 2012?
For the first year, we were open all 12 months, but it was just way too quiet in the off-season. Now, we’re open April through September, which has motivated us to pursue off-island opportunities that will accelerate our volume, such as retail spaces and wholesale. We also introduced a vintage pedal cart that allows us to go offsite for catering, delivery, or events. We’re constantly keeping our minds open to different opportunities.