Creole Burger Bar & Southern Kitchen / Punk Taco


For 2 ½ years, the Creole restaurant has been serving New Orleans-style bistro cuisine in the former home of Old Town’s historic Creole Gallery. But this weekend, Metro Lansing diners will get one last chance to order its upscale menu items such as the sous vide pork chop and the roasted steelhead before it transforms into a more casual dining location.

“Our food and drinks are amazing, but with our price points we were being viewed more as a place to go for special occasions,” said co-owner Sam Short. “So we’re sending the old menu off with a bang before switching it up next week. And I think people are really going to like the new concept.”

The Creole is closed Monday through Thursday this week as Short’s team gives the interior a fresh coat of paint and a new look. Then this Friday, Jan. 5-Sunday, Jan. 7, the old menu will get a final hurrah. It will be closed again next Monday-Thursday as the final touches are made before permanently reopening on Friday, Jan. 12 as the Creole Burger Bar & Southern Kitchen.

“Our chef, Scott Macpherson, is a worldclass act, and we wanted more people to see what we see,” Short said. “We’re keeping the creative, chef-driven aspect and transitioning into something that’s more reasonably priced.”

If the new name doesn’t give it away, the menu will be burgercentric, featuring specialty creations that include wild game options. There will also be hand-cut fries and a second line parade full of Southern staples, including shrimp and grits, oyster po’ boys and build-your-own jambalaya. All entrees will be priced in the $10-$18 range, with appetizers in the $5-$9 area. Short said the restaurant’s popular weekend brunch will survive the transition, albeit with “two or three tweaks.”

The drink menu will also get an overhaul, including the addition of a full tap system and a new line of creative cocktails. The most notable newcomer will be the Punch Pots, 128-ounce copper kettles filled with shareable mixed drinks for four that will be left at the tables. There will also be a pared down wine menu, including two new wines that will be available on tap, as well as 150 types of whiskey.

“Lansing has a rich restaurant culture that’s nurtured a growing base of adventurous diners, and this new concept is very much in line with that,” Short said. “We’ve been able to connect with those diners at our other locations, and now it’s time to bring that here to the Creole.”

Short is one of the partners of the Potent Potables Project, which refashioned the former dive bar Zoobie’s Old Town Tavern into a hip watering hole in 2013, and constructed the gourmet wood-fired pizza joint the Cosmos as its conjoined twin in 2015. The group also launched the Dolson in Charlotte last year. He said that the group’s long-gestating Punk Taco bar/restaurant near Frandor is “definitely” still on, just not at the Frandor location where work has been stalled for over a year.

“We had to walk away from that deal, but we’re planning to bring Punk Taco to somewhere in Old Town in 2018,” Short said. “We try to do a little something different at each location. It’s fun to keep people on their toes.”

The Creole Burger Bar & Southern Kitchen (opens Friday, Jan. 12) 1218 Turner St., Lansing 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Monday-Thursday; 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday (517) 371-1361,


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