Lands End Pasty Company to compete in world competition

Owners of the Dinkytown shop will travel to Cornwall to vie for the World Pasty Championship in March.

A batch of pasties sits on display on Friday, Feb. 22 at Lands End Pasty Company in Dinkytown. Earl and his nephew, Pete Jacobson, will compete in the World Pasty Championships for the first time since opening their shop in June of 2014.

Elle Moulin

A batch of pasties sits on display on Friday, Feb. 22 at Lands End Pasty Company in Dinkytown. Earl and his nephew, Pete Jacobson, will compete in the World Pasty Championships for the first time since opening their shop in June of 2014.

Miguel Octavio

A Dinkytown restaurant known for its savory, meaty pies will represent the state in an international food competition for the first time. 

The Lands End Pasty Company will compete in the World Pasty Championships on March 2. Contestants will gather in Cornwall, England and bring forth their best dishes through several categories. Lands End owners Jon Earl and Pete Jacobson hope their renditions of the centuries-old pastry is enough to take home the title. 

“We had thought about doing it in the past and we had a lot of people, especially British customers, telling us to do it,” Jacobson said. “We’re going to give it our best shot.”

The owners of the shop are serving the judges a taste of Minnesota with their chicken wild rice, venison and spicy jerk chicken pasties. The Dinkytown hopefuls will enter the “open ” category of the competition, the division for members of bakeries, pubs or shops outside of Cornwall.

Hidden in an alley off of 4th Street Southeast since 2014, the nephew-uncle duo said they spend up to 80 hours a week working at the shop. Both owners credit the pasty’s convenience, home-cooked appeal and the little slice of apple pie it offers in the corner for its popularity. 

Earl chose to open the restaurant near campus because he felt it would be a hit among younger students. But over the years, customers have also ranged from graduate students to alumni who frequent the area.

“We’ve made so many friends,” Jacobson said. “Since we’re here all the time, this is our social life.”

Nick Hanson, a first-year student studying mathematics at the University of Minnesota, said he and a group of friends dine at the restaurant every Friday night. He regards the staff as friendly and fun to be around.

“I just like that it’s a little local restaurant,” Hanson said. “Their pasties are very good. I think they have a good shot [at winning].”

Although Earl and Jacobson enjoy their work now, they never imagined working together. 

“I really think 10 years ago, if [people] said we were doing this, we both would’ve laughed at them,” Earl said. 

Earl worked as a metrologist at the time and often made pasties on the side. He was unhappy with his career, and after some encouragement from his father, he turned his hobby into a living. 

At the same time, Jacobson was an undergraduate studying computer engineering, but he called the work “rudimentary.” After being approached by his uncle, he decided to work with him for a change of pace.

“He couldn’t run it on his own, so he asked me if I wanted to go in with him,” Jacobson said. “It sounded like it would be exciting and fun.”

Coming from a small, close family, Jacobson visited his uncle as a child every Sunday for Mass in Sleepy Eye, a town about 100 miles southwest of the Twin Cities. The duo’s bond grew stronger over the years as they discovered similar passions.

Jacobson’s parents will travel alongside the pair to the U.K. to enjoy a family vacation while supporting them. A fundraising page was set up to help cover competition expenses. 

The store will close on Feb. 28 due to the competition and will reopen its doors March 12.