New in town
|By Allan I. Ross|
Decker's/ Artie's Food / Athenas Diner / LeafAfter six years, Jessica Decker has handed over the keys to Decker’s Coffee Co., 220 S. Washington Square in downtown Lansing, to a new owner. J.T. Dachtler took over the reins at Decker’s Saturday, but Decker is sticking around for a week to smooth the transition.
“I just turned 30, and I thought it was time for a new adventure,” Decker said. “I’m going to take a month off, try to find a new job, then maybe start a new business again in a few years.”
Decker opened her café in 2007 and gained a cult following with her funky lattes and local art-themed décor. Dachtler, 34, said he’s committed to using all local produce in his dishes, and besides that he only has one small tweak to make.
“Jessica has a perfect system here, so everything inside will look the same,” Dachtler said. “But I am planning on changing the name eventually. We’ve already got it picked out — Cup of Dessert. But I don’t want to change too many things at once.”
Artie’s Filling station
In other café news, Dale Schrader’s award-winning work of restoration in Old Town, Artie’s Filling Station, will get an expanded food menu this summer. Business owner John Miller can’t add to the building for historical reasons, but will soon begin grilling outside for his customers to supplement his menu.
“I’d love to do it year round, but Old Town is so fair weather dependent,” Miller said. “If it’s too hot, or cold, or rainy, we just don’t get that same foot traffic.”
New items include smoked chicken salad sandwiches, wood-fired pizza, tacos and fresh baked goods.
No more phoning it in
The building that housed Jon’s Country Burgers (aka, “that restaurant where you placed your order by a phone that was installed in your booth”) is becoming Athenas Diner, 3109 S Cedar St., Lansing. Owner Anton Prenaj said he’s having problems with the city, but he hopes to be open within a month or two. For the last eight years, Prenaj has operated Hannah’s Coney Island in Hannah Plaza, but he plans on selling it before Athenas is up and running.
“One restaurant is enough,” Prenaj said. “I can’t imagine running two places at the same time.”
He said that Athenas will serve Greek-American cuisine, specializing in chicken dinners, skillets, spinach pie and baklava. The dining room will look similar to Jon’s (minus the phones), but the kitchen will get a massive upgrade, including the probable addition of a broaster.
“I take a lot of pride in my cooking, and I like to give big portions,” Prenaj said. “No one’s going to leave hungry from Athenas.”
Carats out; carrots in
There are signs in the former location of Promise Jewelers, 1542 W. Grand River Ave., East Lansing, next to Baryames Cleaners in the triangle island bounded by Coolidge Road, Saginaw Street and Grand River Avenue. Apparently it will soon become Leaf, specializing in soups, salads and smoothies.
Decker’s Coffee Co.
Artie’s Filling Station