New in town
|By Allan I. Ross|
Between the Buns/ Piggee's Smokehouse and BBQ / Cowboy's Southern BBQWhether you’re the king of the grill or you prefer to let someone else handle all the barbecuing duties, three new Lansing businesses will make your summer eating schedule a little easier.
Ruben Garcia opens his specialty condiment store, Between the Buns & More, on Saturday in Holt. His line includes McClure’s Pickles (pickles, potato chips, and bloody mary mix), American Spoon (salsa, preserves and marmalades), Safie Specialty Products (pickled products, including beans, asparagus and beets), the Indiana-based brand Local Folks Food (marinara, ketchup and mustard) and Uncle Dave’s Bacon Hot Sauce. The store will feature mostly Michigan products for now, but Garcia said he hopes to eventually have products from all 50 states.
“You’ll be surprised how much good stuff Michigan makes,” he said. “And everything I sell, I really like, or else I like the story behind the product.”
Garcia, 39, started his first business, RG Distribution, three years ago as a partnership with the owner of Lansing’s El Azteco Mexican restaurant as a way to distribute its cheese dip and hot sauce into stores.
“When I started, I had 10 bucks to my name,” Garcia said. “Now I have a fleet of vehicles and distribute all the way to Kalamazoo. It’s crazy how much I’ve done in three years.”
He said that he intends to work with local groups to do fundraising, and will donate 15 percent of his sales one day each week to a local charity.
Piggee’s Smokehouse and BBQ is set to open Sunday in the former location for Turkeyman, which recently transitioned to a catering-only service. The store, kitty-corner from the Lansing Mall, gives first-time business owner Larry Piggee 1,500 square feet to play with, but he’ll also have a food trailer that he intends to set up on Washington Square near Allegan in downtown Lansing at lunch and for special events.
Piggee, 32, said he makes everything from scratch — including his lemonade barbecue sauce — using all family recipes. His products include his homemade, slow smoked barbecue beef brisket, homemade baked macaroni and cheese and his broccoli, bacon and cheddar salad that gained him attention when he used to barbecue in front of Downtown Subs and Salads in downtown Lansing the last couple of years.
Piggee said he wants to install a patio next month and is “definitely looking” to add a beer license.
Glenn Henson (aka “The Cowboy”) opened the food stand, Cowboy’s Southern BBQ, eight weeks ago in a parking lot of Complete Hitch & Welding on Lansing’s south side. Henson said he’s planning on being open year-round and will be available for catering.
His stand offers all the usual barbecue offerings, including ribs, brisket chicken and homemade sides, and features the locally made Winston’s Barbecue Sauce.
Unlike other local food trucks that made the transition to brick-and-mortar restaurants, including Purple Carrot (which settled down as Red Haven) and Trailer Park’d (which became Fork In the Road), Henson said he isn’t looking to expand.
“Business has been absolutely fabulous,” Henson said. “The customers have really brought this to life.”
Eric Finkler contributed to this story.
Between the Buns & More
Piggee’s Smokehouse and BBQ
Cowboy’s Southern BBQ