The owners of Knight Cap have sold the longtime downtown Lansing eatery. The father-and-son team of Leo and Gregory Farhat bought and renovated the restaurant in 2015. Allan I. Ross/City Pulse
Two years ago, restaurateur Leo A.
Farhat Jr. and his son, Gregory Farhat, bought the Knight Cap restaurant in downtown Lansing. Under their ownership, the space received an intensive three-month renovation and a rebranding campaign aimed at reintroducing the 45-year-old business to a new generation of diners. Shortly after reopening in July 2015, the elder Farhat expressed his commitment to upholding the legacy left by the restaurant’s founders, Charlie and (the late) George Sinadinos.
“This was George and Charlie’s baby,” Farhat said at the time. “I’m not going to be able to get the 45 years out of it they did, but hopefully I’ll get a few.”
It turns out it was only a couple.
The Farhats have sold the business to Doug Johns Jr., who owns the adjacent establishments, Omar’s Show Bar and the Exchange. Johns’ company, 414 Entertainment, also owns/operates the nearby bar cluster containing Duke’s Saloon, Taps 25, the Tin Can and the Loft. So far, Johns hasn’t announced what will become of the restaurant, but it doesn’t sound like he plans to let it sit empty.
Johns said via press release that he looks “forward to engaging the City of Lansing” as well as the Lansing Economic Area Partnership in “future discussions to help move Lansing forward.”
The Farhats gave the closing date for their incarnation of the Knight Cap as Saturday, July 29.
“We are completely dedicated to ensuring our guests enjoy this last month of the Knight Cap,’’ said Gregory Farhat in the release. “We have great passion for the City of Lansing, our staff and our guests, which makes this decision difficult. However, we feel the time is right for the Knight Cap to end while it's prime. We are confident this will allow for the next step of Lansing’s evolution downtown.’’
Through the end of the month, guests can make reservations at the restaurant’s website, knightcap.com. The Farhats will also answer any questions, field any comments and pass along any employment opportunities for outgoing Knight Cap employees at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the release, Farhat announced he intends to expand his commercial real estate portfolio with his business, Jameson Real Estate Services. He will do this while also working at Jackson National Life Insurance. Leo Farhat, meanwhile, will continue to operate the Brunch House, located at 1040 S. Pennsylvania Ave., which he’s owned since 2009.
The Knight Cap opened in 1969 under Charlie Sinadinos and her husband, George Sinadinos. She took over in 1988 after he died, ran it for 27 years and closed for good in March 2015, amid an outpouring of wellwishes. Four days later, Leo Farhat signed the paperwork, got the keys and immediately started work on cosmetic upgrades for the 1,000-squarefoot interior.
He relaunched the 45-seat restaurant with some of the same staff and a similar menu. Though he didn’t return a call for comment, it’s clear to see this wasn’t the ending Leo Farhat had envisioned.
“When I was (in high school), I told my prom date that some day I wanted to own the Knight Cap,” Farhat said in July 2015. “This has always been a dream. It just goes to show that sometimes dreams do come true.”
Knight Cap (closing July 29) 320 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing 4-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday; closed Sunday (517) 484-7676, knightcap.com