July 8 2013 12:00 AM
After a series of construction delays, Famous Dave’s became the south side's newest restaurant on Monday morning. There were people in pig costumes, a fire truck and about 30 grown-ups doing the hokey-pokey on the sidewalk, as Delhi Township Supervisor C.J. Davis performed a ceremonial rib (no, not ribbon) cutting. He gave a quick speech as he nibbled on a baby back.

“This restaurant fills a hole in our community,” Davis said, referring to the fact that the building had stood vacant since left in 2010. (It was originally a Hardee’s and later a Kenny Rogers Roasters.) “I’ve been a restaurant guy my whole life, and I know the value a good restaurant brings to a neighborhood.”

The Delhi Township fire truck took part in the ceremonial passing of the burning embers, which are transferred from store to store. The embers that lit the ceremonial “first smoke” came from a Famous Dave’s restaurant in Puerto Rico.

This is the 190th store for the Minnesota-based Southern barbecue chain, and the ninth location in Michigan. The Lansing Famous Dave’s is part of a franchise group that owns several other locations statewide, including stores in Flint, Saginaw and Grand Rapids.

“This is true barbecue, and Lansing is going to love us,” said managing partner Jerrid Heidel. “About 90 percent of the food made from scratch in the building. This is authentic cooking in a family friendly, fun environment.”

In addition to ribs, Famous Dave’s features a full range of barbecue chicken, brisket and chopped pork, as well as sides including spicy mac and cheese and green beans with bacon. It’s also a full bar and features four rotating Michigan craft beers among its 12 drafts.

Last weekend, there were a couple of “friends and family” events, and all tips that were collected were donated to Building 21, a nonprofit after-school teen center located inside the nearby Journey Life Church. At the rib cutting, Building 21’s executive director, Benjamin, Chartow, was presented with a check for $3,200.

“Welcome to the neighborhood,” he said with a smile.

New caf offers sneak peek

On Monday, REO Town’s newest caf opened briefly for a sneak preview for attendees of the new Board of Water & Light power plant two doors down. Vintage Caf opens for business full time on Aug. 1. Owner/operator Kait Medrano said that part of the reason she decided to open in REO Town was all the activity going on in the neighborhood.

“This whole area is developing in leaps and bounds,” Medrano said. “I’m really eager to open up and be a part of this. It’s pretty exciting.”

Medrano honed her professional cooking skills at McLaren Greater Lansing. She said opening her business was a natural next step for her, being from a long line of Lansing business owners: Her great-grandfather opened Pulver Bros. Sinclair Gasoline & Oil Co. in the 1920s on West Main and Claire streets (where I-496 runs). She said he used to deliver oil in an REO Speedwagon, built not far from where her business stands.

“Now I feel like things have come full circle,” she said.

Vintage Caf will keep breakfast and lunch hours, with a menu consisting of baked goods, soups, sandwiches and coffee. Vintage Caf also offers catering services.

Famous Dave’s

2457 N. Cedar Road, Holt

11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday

(517) 694-1200


Vintage Caf (opens Aug. 1)

1147 S. Washington Ave., Lansing

7 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday-Friday

(517) 371-1600