NEW IN TOWN
|By Allan I. Ross|
LEAF SALAD BAR/ VELOCIPEDE PEDDLER / WHOLE FOODSAfter this Friday, you’ll have one less excuse for eating an unhealthy lunch because you can’t fit it in your busy schedule. Leaf Salad Bar opens across from Frandor in the traffic island bounded by Coolidge Road, Saginaw Street and Grand River Avenue. Co-owner Igor Jurkovic said the concept is “healthy fast food.”
“It was one of those napkin ideas,” Jurkovic said. His partner in the project is Mark Sprinkle, owner of Showroom Shine car wash and detailing center in East Lansing. “Mark had this idea for a long time, we brainstormed, looked at some places, and when this location opened last spring we moved on it.”
The 1,100-square-foot location is the former home of Ronny Medawar’s Promise Jewelers; the duo took over Medawar’s lease when he moved out. (The building owner is Art Baryames, owner of Baryames Cleaners next door.) Jurkovic said the building was in good shape, and needed only minor interior upgrades, including the construction of a small kitchen, new flooring and natural stone work in the dining room.
“We also custom-made the big salad bar in the dining room,” he said. “We have 110 items to choose from, and we couldn’t find anything that could hold that many items. You have to drive to Detroit to find a salad bar this size. ”
He said most of the items are organic and are sourced locally as much as possible. Out-of-the-ordinary items include Mediterranean grapes, Turkish figs and dates. He said there will be 20 dressings to choose from. And if eating your vegetables is too consuming, you can order a smoothie with your favorite items.
Jurkovic, 34, also owns Restaurant Meditaran and Deli in downtown Lansing, which his parents operate. He’s the kitchen manager for 414 Entertainment as well, servicing Omar’s Show Bar and The Exchange. He went to culinary school in Croatia, where his father owned a restaurant and a hotel, but his family fled when war broke out in the early ‘90s. He said Leaf was designed to be easily duplicatable.
“We’ll see how this space works, but the idea would be to franchise it sometime next year,” he said. “There seems to be a market for healthy fast food.”
Peddling down the street
The big news last week was the 35,000-square-foot Whole Foods Market that was coming to Meridian Township in 2015. The Texas-based natural/organic grocery chain will be built on the site of the present location of Velocipede Peddler, which is moving down the street as soon as next month. Velocipede owner Mark Sanderson will set up shop at 1353 E. Grand River Ave. in East Lansing’s Brookfield Plaza, where his neighbors will be the recently opened Bikram Yoga Capital Area Studio and the upcoming second location for Tamaki, the fast food sushi concept in Frandor.
“The new space isn’t much bigger (at 4,600 square feet), but it will have much higher ceilings, so we’ll definitely be able to fit more bikes in. “It will be fresh start.”
Velocipede opened in East Lansing in 1973, where Chipotle now stands. Sanderson’s family bought the business in 1975, and he took over in 1989 when his father retired. In 2000, Sanderson moved the business to its current location, 2758 E. Grand River Ave., but he said a move closer to campus was something he was looking to do for awhile.
“This has been a locally owned bike store for 35 years,” Sanderson said. “It opened in the middle of the student population, and it will be nice to return there.”
Leaf Salad Bar
1542 W. Grand River Ave., East Lansing
10 a.m.-8 p.m. daily