Dec. 21 2017 04:13 PM

Green Dot Stables opened last week on Lansing’s east side.

Green Dot Stables opened last week on Lansing’s east side. Owner/operator Jacques Driscoll spent more than $1 million and year and a half transforming the former Whiskey Barrel Saloon into the restaurant, which specializes in creative slider burgers. Work included building a replica barn in the middle of the dining room that serves as a semi-private room.

Within a week of each other, and just in time for office party season, Metro Lansing is getting two new restaurants along with a craft brewery. Interestingly, each one is owned and operated by a husband-and-wife duo, throwing all warnings of pens and company ink out the window. First out of the gate was the racetrack-themed craft beer and slider bar Green Dot Stables, which opened last Thursday south of the Frandor Shopping Center. It’s the second North American location for co-owners Christine and Jacques Driscoll, who also run a Green Dot location in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood as well as two other restaurant concepts. But even with years of experience in the business, the packed dining room on opening day left owner and operator Jacques Driscoll in awe. “I’ve never served this many people before,” he said, surveying the 12,000-square-foot dining area that can seat about 350 guests. “This is bigger than my other three restaurants combined. I can’t believe this.” The tight menu consists of 24 varieties of miniburgers, five types of fries, including the gravy-and- cheese curd specialty, poutine, and a few selections of sides, salads, soups and desserts. The kitchen is overseen by Cordon Bleu-trained chef Les Molnar, who adds a touch of elegance to the deceptively unpretentious menu. Everything, including the bar menu, is priced at $3 or less, yet it all smacks of culture. Slider offerings include pork belly char siu, lamb vindaloo and chicken cordon bleu and there’s a chicken paprikash soup—let the “too much pepper” jokes begin.

Craft cocktail options include the obvious mint julep, to match the equestrian theme, and the Tom Izzo Collins, a creative local twist on an old bar standard. The Driscolls invested about $1 million to upgrade the former country-western bar, Whiskey Barrel Saloon. A set of booths on each side of the room have been fashioned to resemble horse stalls, while a massive barn was erected on the former dance floor. “Yeah, we built a barn,” Jacques Driscoll said. “It’s what every restaurant in Lansing was missing.” Cuban flair Monday marked the grand opening for La Cocina Cubana, the brick-and-mortar version of Iliana Almaguer’s 3-year-old Cuban food truck. She and her husband, Tobia, now have a prime location in downtown Lansing, giving capital workers and downtown denizens authentic Caribbean cuisine within walking distance.

“I always envisioned this as a restaurant,” Almaguer said. “But starting as a food truck was a great way to connect with the community first.” The new location allowed Almaguer to nearly double the size of her menu, including adding lamb and beefsteak options. She also has breakfast and dinner dishes, as well as authentic Cuban coffee and a line of Cuban sodas. “I’m excited to be downtown,” Almaguer said. “I hope to see a lot of new faces.” Dimes drops Following a lengthy build-out, Dimes Brewhouse is set to open Thursday, Dec. 21, in downtown Dimondale. Husband-and-wife team Chad and Michelle Rogers transitioned from careers in chemical engineering to the trade of craft beer brewing. Chad Rogers had been home brewing for eight years and decided to take a professional leap into his passion. “We’ve always been interested in the seemed like a brewery would be a perfect match engineering side of things,” Chad Rogers said. “It between what we had learned in school and what we enjoyed to do on our free time.” He’s a Dimondale native who moved back to his hometown five years ago. The brewery is set up inside a former florist, which the pair spent over two and half years transforming into a brewing facility and tasting room. “I’ve been looking at this beautiful equipment just sit there for a long time,” Chard Rogerd said. “I’m really anxious to start using it.”

Green Dot Stables 410 S. Clippert St., Lansing 11 a.m.-midnight Monday-Wednesday; 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Thursday-Saturday; noon-10 p.m. Sunday (517) 574-4214, La Cocina Cubana 123 S. Washington Square, Lansing 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday; noon-8 p.m. Sunday (517) 894-3079 Dimes Brewhouse 145 N. Bridge St., Dimondale 3-11 p.m. Thursday-Friday; noon-11 p.m.

Saturday-Sunday; closed Monday-Tuesday Allan I. Ross is a weekly contributor to the Lansing City Pulse. If you know of any new businesses in town, contact him at