The Washington Post
The Pure Pasty Co. in Vienna
Opening a Cornish pasty shop in suburban Vienna might seem like an odd choice, but Michael Burgess thought it was about time.
“I saw the growth of pasty shops in the United Kingdom and thought the concept would adapt well to the U.S. market,” says the 49-year-old Cheshire, England, native and owner of the Pure Pasty Co., who hung out his shingle Oct. 1.
The hand-size, moon-shaped savory pies (pronounced PASSteas), once a staple of Cornish miners, are as trendy in England as cupcakes are here, according to Burgess. Judging by the specimens he and his American chef, Joshua Andrus, are turning out, he might be on to something.
The pasties are baked in an oven placed close to the service counter, so their aroma works its magic on customers waiting in line.
The shop offers a menu of five pasties ($5.99 each), a daily chef ’s special pasty, house-made soups (12 ounces, $4.49) and salads ($3.99 to $4.49). And yes, Britfood lovers, there’s also a puffpastry sausage roll ($3.75).
Burgess and Andrus, who has worked in the kitchens of Cafe Atlantico, Gerard’s Place and Cheestique, are committed to using high-quality ingredients, organically grown and locally sourced when possible. They worked to develop a pasty crust that is tender and flavorful, yet strong enough to hold a generous serving of filling.
The meat-potato-onion Traditional Style is hearty and perfect for beef lovers, yet Americanized with a little cream cheese. Still more American is the Philly, a combination of chopped, thinly sliced steak, onions, peppers and aged provolone. The delicious combination makes for a particu- larly good last bite of the juicesoaked pastry, which, Burgess says, is the best part of any good pasty. (We agree.) The Cornish Masala is a gentle primer in Indian flavors. The least successful of the group is the Chicken Provencal, with a somewhat bland combination of boiled chicken, leeks, cream and herbes de Provence.
Vegetarians have the option of the Slowdown Veggie, with potatoes, peas, carrots, celery, onion and mushrooms.
The salads — Caesar, garden and chef ’s — are large enough to share. Soups vary daily, but a creamy tomato soup is the house staple. A daily $8.49 combo includes one pasty and a choice of soup or salad.
The shop is not the only outlet for the pies. Burgess has a food cart ready to go and a spot picked out, one block from the Ballston Metro.
The cart will be open for lunch only, Mondays through Fridays, with a planned launch date of Nov. 1, depending on permits. (Follow their hours and locations on Twitter: @purepasty.)