Sept. 17 2014 12:00 AM


East Lansing has Reno’s East. Lansing has Reno’s West. Is it really any surprise that the sports bar and grill micro-chain would start spreading in other directions?

“People loved to ask if there was ever going to be (another Reno’s), and I always said ‘maybe someday,’” said Reno’s owner Jessie Stiptack. Last week, that someday came when she started renovation — ahem, make that Reno-vation — on the former Rookie’s Bar and Grill in DeWitt Township, converting it into the third member of the Reno’s family: Reno’s North.

“This is a developing area and we live nearby, so when the opportunity came (to buy Rookie’s) I jumped,” Stiptack said. “DeWitt Township has been very helpful and everyone seems to be really excited about the changes we’re making.”

Those changes include the addition of a 6,000-squarefoot patio, two sand beach volleyball courts, a covered heated smoking area and a massive interior overhaul, including new flat screen TVs. The NASCAR-sanctioned quarter midget auto racing track behind the restaurant is staying put, though.

“I didn’t know anything about midget racing before,” Stiptack said. “But it’s been there since the ‘50s and it’s very popular. I want to add cameras though, so people at the bar can see the action.”

The building was home to Richard’s Food & Drink for 25 years before becoming Rookie’s Food & Drink five years ago.

“There’s a big loyalty to this restaurant in the community — I wanted to build on that base,” Stiptack said. “We kept the employees that were already working here and we’re dedicated to staying open during construction so that no one loses any money.”

When work is complete, Reno’s North will be a 15,500-square-foot dining complex situated on an 8-acre lot, allowing for plenty of future expansion. But Stiptack was close-lipped about the possibility for an eventual Reno’s South.

“Maybe someday,” she said.

RENO´S NORTH 16460 S. U.S. 27, Lansing. 11 a.m.–2 a.m. daily (517) 487-8686.