This year, Greater Lansing welcomed a host of new eateries, many of which quickly solidified themselves as staples in the hearts and bellies of area residents. City Pulse food reviewers were eager to try the new options and sampled plenty of dishes, but the following five stood out as the cream of the crop.
325 Riverfront Drive, Lansing
The opening of Lansing Shuffle in January brought five new restaurant options to downtown Lansing, offering a range of cuisines, including Nepali, vegan Italian, elevated American, Southeast Asian and Caribbean barbecue. The food is so good that four different City Pulse reviewers had to praise it. Lizy Ferguson made it out to the food hall shortly after it opened and chowed down on the Laab Wings from Kin Thai. She wrote that the “perfectly golden-fried but not at all greasy” wings, made from umami-rich chopped meat salad, left her “entranced and craving more.”
4 Tha Soul Restaurant
5920 S. Cedar St., Lansing
Husband-and-wife team Dartagka and Domonika Tipton opened 4 Tha Soul Restaurant in February and have been serving up seriously scrumptious soul food to residents of the south side and beyond ever since. He Ate columnist Bryan Beverly gave his “best bite” nod to the Grilled Chicken Alfredo Pasta and Giant Stuffed Potato Alfredo with Grilled Chicken, and his counterpart, Gabrielle Lawrence, said the standard Chicken Alfredo was one of the best iterations she and her husband have ever had, describing it as “absolutely decadent, creamy, well seasoned and just spicy enough.”
Gorditas al pastor
2010 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing
Old Town stalwart Pablo’s expanded to a second location on East Michigan Avenue in March, partially due to the fact that the first location was too small to fit a bar area and customers were looking for liquor. Beverly and Lawrence visited the new restaurant in May and were thrilled with the al pastor, or marinated pork with pineapple. Lawrence, who ordered the gorditas al pastor, said the meat was “insanely flavorful and tender, with just a hint of sweetness that paired perfectly with the fat, chewy tortilla.” Beverly noted that the flautas al pastor were “crunchy and delectable” and promised to make a return visit to order them again.
Nashville Hot Yardbird sandwich
Ellison Brewery and Event Space
1314 S. Washington Ave., Lansing
Ellison Brewery + Spirits opened its second location in early 2023, transforming the last-remaining REO Motor Car Co. building in town into a large dining and bar area with an event space on the second floor. The brewery offers appetizers, wings, pizzas and even breakfast items, which the She Ate/He Ate reviewers gave rave reviews, but they both agreed the hot chicken sandwich is a must-order. Lawrence enjoyed the hot honey drizzle on the sandwich, which was “perfectly spicy and sweet,” and said the chicken was “juicy and not overbreaded.” Beverly savored the house-made pickles and slaw but mentioned that the handheld could use just a bit more hot sauce.
Maple Boy (w/ biscuit upcharge)
331 S. Washington Square, Lansing
Strange Matter Coffee reopened its downtown location in September after a nearly two-year renovation, now including a brick-and-mortar space for former food truck and breakfast haven Bangos. Ferguson sampled the Maple Boy sandwich on a biscuit, which was loaded with egg, sausage, cheddar cheese and maple syrup. She loved the biscuit, which was “golden brown and savory all on its own” and “soaked halfway through with real maple syrup.” She lauded the diversity of flavor profiles the sandwich provided and wrapped up the review by stating that Bangos had joined her list of top Lansing food spots due to its “thoughtfulness, care and just the right amount of flair.”
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