A look into operations at Mohawk Superette, winner of the 2020 Keweenaw Pasty Challenge

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MOHAWK, Mich. (WJMN) – The Keweenaw Convention & Visitors Bureau (KCVB), the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce and Mainstreet Calumet organized the 2020 Keweenaw Pasty Challenge. It was an online voting competition patterned after the NCAA’s college basketball tournament and featured eight pasty makers in the Copper Country.

The shops were Mohawk Superette, Suomi Home Bakery & Restaurant, Roy’s Pasties & Bakery, Keweenaw Co-op Market & Deli, Connie’s Kitchen, Kangas Cafe & Catering, Pasty Central, Kaleva Cafe and Toni’s Country Kitchen.

Mohawk Superette was crowned the winner and Local 3’s Rebecca Bartelme traveled to Keweenaw County to meet with the owner himself, Victor Tanskanen.

“We’ve been running with the same recipe for about 12 years now,” said Tanskanen. “We haven’t changed it. It’s been working great.”

Tanskanen became the owner of the Mohwak Superette in 2008. As a party/grocery store nestled in a tiny town in Keweenaw County, their pasty production and sales have been rising over the past five years.

“It’s very popular right now,” said Tanskanen. “I mean it’s just exploded this year I think because of this bug that’s been going on. In 2015 it really exploded with Pasty Fest also.”

Tanskanen says the Keweenaw Pasty Challenge brought a lot of attention in through social media.

So we asked Tanskanen what he thinks makes his pasty the best.

“Oh, it’s a number of things,” Tanskanen responded. “You gotta have good flavor to sell them and people are traveling to come and get them. We try to make them look as best as we can. Sometimes it’s difficult to do and it’s hot back here and things don’t work as well. But you got to have good flavor to start, good ingredients and have some good people making them too. So that’s a plus.”

Tanskanen has about 10 employees. Tuesdays and Fridays are there busiest days. That’s when they make and sell their award-winning pasties.

“We’re considered an essential business, essential workers,” said Tanskanen. “Sure we’re risking it everyday when people walk in. We see a lot of new faces but hey things have been good here in Keweenaw yet. As far as we know there haven’t been any illnesses. But it’s important to keep it open. We don’t want to start hardening the food chain if we don’t have to.”

For more information on the Mohawk Superette, click here to visit their Facebook Page.

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