For 15 years, the Creole Gallery was a combination art exhibition space, community theater stage and music venue. But things are about to get a little spicier at 1218 Turner St. Al Hooper, husband of the building’s new owner, Jamie Schriner-Hooper, will work with his partners Sam Short and Aaron Matthews — the team behind last year’s Zoobie’s Old Town Tavern renovation — and transform the space into a restaurant with a familiar-sounding name: The Creole.

“The space has this wonderful feel that Robert (Busby) created,” Short said. “We didn’t want to get too far away from that. That included the name, which helped us with our concept.”

The Creole will be a New Orleans-style bistro featuring beignets, gumbo and other Cajun cuisine. The restaurant will have a liquor license and a bar will be built, which will be the only significant cosmetic change to the space. Short said the stage stays put, to be utilized by live bands to create a vibe that’s “more of a listening room than a true performance space.”

Work will start immediately. The team is also busy with a construction project joining Zoobie’s and the adjacent Papa Leo’s building. The addition will become a new lunch/dinner spot called Cosmos Wood-Fired Pizza. That is expected to open as early as next month, with the Creole coming about four to six weeks after that, in late August or early September. Short said it’s all part of a bigger plan to make Old Town a dining/drinking destination.

“Our goal is to continue Robert’s vision of making Old Town this uniquely Lansing place,” Short said. “People will say, ‘you can’t go to Lansing without checking out Old Town.’”

You can follow the progression at and