March 25 2015 12:00 AM
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Last month I told you about Henry’s on the Square, a new specialty goods market on downtown Lansing’s South Washington Square that was designed to slowly incorporate elements of restaurant, bar and nightclub into its identity. Evolution seems to be a theme on that street — next month the Crafty Palate, a new diner/ deli serving breakfast and lunch will open, and it will also undergo a rapid transformation into something more.

“We hope to have a liquor license by June, and hopefully by this summer we can open for dinner as well,” said co-owner/operator Peggy Pinter. “There are a lot of choices for dining out downtown, and we want to be stand out and offer a little something more.”

The Crafty Palate takes over the former digs of Restaurant Mediteran, which recently underwent a conversion of its own when owner Igor Jurkovic spun it off into Mediteran Café & Catering, an openair noshing spot nearby.

But downtown has limited sit-down breakfast options, with Kewpee’s Sandwich Shop being the only other choice. So having breakfast, lunch AND dinner AND a deli AND a full bar will make the Crafty Palate the only one of its kind.

“We’re connoisseurs of Michigan craft beer and wine, and we love to eat different kinds of food,” Pinter said. “The Crafty Palate fits what we are.”

Pinter and her husband/ business partner Tim are recently retired and had been looking for something to do. (“I’m too young to be retired,” Tim Pinter quipped.) This will be the first restaurant venture for them.

“The idea was to run it for two years, then turn it over to our son and his friends,” Peggy Pinter said. “They’ve got all the restaurant experience.”

Her son leads a managerial staff of hospitality professionals who have worked at Applebee’s, Olga’s Kitchen and the State Room. Colleen Dick, a former service trainer at Applebee’s, designed the menu — and has an egg white omelet named after her (with turkey sausage, mushrooms and spinach). The breakfast menu will also feature eggs Benedict, biscuits and gravy, pancakes and French toast.

The Pinters inherited Mediteran’s rotisserie oven, which they’ll use to roast chicken and other meat for Crafty Palate’s lunch menu. Offerings will include the Juliet (smoked turkey and spinach dip on grilled sourdough) and the grilled Veggie (roasted artichoke hearts, pesto cream cheese and roasted red peppers on French bread). There will also be salads, French onion soup and a soup of the day.

When it opens next month, hours will be 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday, with a Sunday brunch from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. A fenced-in patio is also planned.

“This corner gets a lot of sunshine, so I’m sure a lot of people will be using that,” Pinter said. “And after the winter we just had, they need it.”

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