Due to a reporting error, Paul Vlahakis was inaccurately named as co-owner of Black Cat Bistro in East Lansing. This story was updated on Nov. 14 to reflect that change.
Butcher paper obscures the view into downtown Lansing’s P Squared Wine Bar, and a sheet of paper declares, “We are temporarily closed for renovations.” But there’s nothing temporary about it: The 2-year-old establishment won’t be reopening.
The business’ website has been taken down, its Facebook account has been deactivated and at least one of the owners has shut off his cell phone. The clincher came from Paul Vlahakis, member of the development company that owns the space, who said owners Paul Brussard and Paul Fox left without so much as a goodbye.
“They sent their keys to us in the mail and just left,” Vlahakis said. “I heard they cleared out of the place where they were staying, too. They’re gone.”
The last day of business was apparently Oct. 31. Vlahakis, co-owner of Dublin Square, said he’s not angry, just curious.
“They were good guys, they always paid their rent on time — I thought they were actually doing well,” Vlahakis said. “But the restaurant business is tough and there’s a lot of competition down there.”
Vlahakis said that Brussard and Fox left “a lot” of their stuff in the space, but he said he’s going to clean it up and start marketing the space for lease.
“If anyone’s looking for restaurant space, that’s a good location,” Vlahakis said. “And it’ll be ready soon. They left it in good shape.”
New in the Market
The Lansing City Market became home to two additional businesses recently: Red’s Smokehouse expanded from its incubator space at Allen Market Place into a permanent stand-alone lunch spot, and L & J Sales: Bella Soaps and Lotions specializes in personal grooming and some light home dcor items.
“We make everything here from all-natural ingredients,” said Janet Ozanich, who owns the business with her husband, Larry. She said she’d like to grow the business into one of the malls someday, but for now is happy building a solid customer base. That’s similar to what Jackie Randall said, who co-owns Red’s with her partner, Carol Smith.
“We call it ‘barbecue with twists in most delightful ways,’” Randall said. The menu includes homemade mac and cheese balls, gourmet BLT and lots of pulled pork and chicken.
“If all goes well, we’ll be looking to expand outside the market, but we’d always like to maintain a presence here in the market,” she said.
Well, if you’re looking, we heard about a place downtown … .
Red’s Smokehouse (517) 489-0959, facebook. com/redssmokehouse
L & J Sales (517) 974-2210 facebook.com/ landjsales
Lansing City Market 325 City Market Drive, Lansing
10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday-Monday