When the first Tin Can Bar opened in downtown Lansing seven years ago, it served as a sort of counterprogramming option to the self-important craft beer tasting rooms that had begun to pop up around town. Conceived as a “world class dive bar,” the Tin Can’s success spawned four additional locations, where its college-age (and collegeage-minded) customers could be found drinking beer out of the can, making chalk drawings on the blackboard walls and playing jumbo versions of children’s tabletop games. But this week, the Tin Can’s management team unveiled the changes recently made to its DeWitt location, which will put it in line with the upscale image the minichain was rebelling against in the first place.
“Our DeWitt customers are definitely (more subdued) than the crowds we see at our other locations,” said Dave Sell, vice president of 414 Entertainment, the Tin Can’s parent company. “We’ve been busy since we opened there, but the one thing we kept hearing from our clientele was that we should be more family friendly. That got us thinking about what we could do.”
And so 10 days ago, Sell’s team closed down the Tin Can DeWitt and took on a massive interior overhaul to the 800-square-foot space. Today, it reopens with the same management but a completely new look, new menu and a new name: the Shavey Road Pub.
“The focus will be more on craft beer, so we’ve added a draft system to the bar,” Sell said. “We’re also adding more robust wine options and putting more of an emphasis on our food. We looked at every way we could be more accommodating.”
Sell said that the eight tap handles will favor local breweries and may eventually include the upcoming Looking Glass Brewing Co., set to open in downtown DeWitt later this year. The menu was designed by Igor Jurkovic, who worked with 414 Entertainment to develop the food options at the company’s flagship bar, the Exchange. Jurkovic also owns and operates the Mediteran Café in downtown Lansing and previously ran Restaurant Mediteran.
“Igor brings some pedigree, so we really gave him a lot of room to be creative with this menu,” Sell said. “He created this lasagna dip appetizer with garlic crostini that’s out of this world. People are going to flip.”
The menu includes a new lineup of burgers, sandwiches, salads and wraps. Besides the lasagna dip, appetizer options include house-made hummus and a specialty cheese board. There’s also a kid’s menu and new dessert options, including a rice pudding served in a cast iron skillet that gets scorched to order, crème brûlée-style.
“The goal is to evolve the menu as we get feedback from the customers and keep it changing with the seasons,” Sell said. “This is the first time (our company has) put such an emphasis on our food. There seems to be a growing food culture in DeWitt, and it’s exciting to be a part of that.”
The patio and the 80-inch HD TVs are staying put, but gone are the chalkboard walls and game area. The interior was revamped with tin ceilings and furniture that has what Sell called a “neighborhood pubby” feel, as well as a darker color scheme.
“This came almost entirely from customer feedback,” Sell said. “You can’t be all things to all people, but this redesign will make it more accessible to a wider range of people. And it looks fantastic. If it works, we may bring this concept to another location. We’re eager to see how people respond.”
Last week, a sign was posted in the window for Gareth Jones’ down town Lansing sandwich store, Sarnie Shoppe, announcing the 5-month-old store’s immediate closure.
"It is with a heavy heart that I have to close operations at the Sarnie Shoppe at Lansing,” said the note, which was signed by Jones. "I realize we've only been here for a short period, but the time is right for a business decision to solely focus on catering."
Sarnie Shoppe opened on the first floor of the renovated Knapp’s Centre last September, featuring a deli counter selling sandwiches, soups, salads and smoothies. It was the Knapp Centre’s first restaurant tenant, but Nick Edye, a principal at the building’s owner, the Eyde Co., said progress is already being made on a replacement.
“It wasn’t the outcome we were looking for, but we’re already talking to some folks who would be an ideal fit,” Eyde said. “We’re also close to signing a lease for a restaurant (inside the Knapp’s Centre). It’s something that downtown really needs, and I think it will make a lot of people happy.”
Stay tuned for details.
Raising a Ruckus
Former pop-up experiment Ruckus Ramen officially transitioned to a fulltime dinner kitchen this week. Owner/ operator Steve Swart set up shop the Avenue Café after a series of sold-out one-night-only events late last year.
He worked with local chefs to hone the menu, which offers traditional Japanese soup dishes, salads and dumplings, all sourced with local ingredients and tweaked to appeal to American palates. Swart said Ruckus Ramen will be dine-in only to start.
Following the debut of its Frandor restaurant last summer, Californiabased Blaze Pizza will open a second mid-Michigan location in East Lansing later this year. The fast-casual eatery prepares pizzas in hot-stone ovens that bake crusts in just three minutes.
The new, 3,200-square-foot location will move into the ground floor of the State News office building, 437 E. Grand River Ave., adjacent to Panda Express. According to a press release issued last week by Blaze’s parent company, the new store will be built using recycled and sustainable materials and will use eco-friendly packaging and energyefficient LED lighting.
Schavey Road Pub
13175 Schavey Road (in the Schavey Road Plaza), DeWitt
3 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday-Friday; noon-2 a.m. Saturday-Sunday
517) 624-2078, facebook.com/schaveyroadpub
2021 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing (inside Avenue Café)
3-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; closed Sunday-Monday