She ate


Whenever I tell an uninitiated member of the Greater Lansing community about People’s Kitchen, I have to start with the pancakes. I always describe them the same way. I never cared about pancakes before, I say. I like a protein-forward breakfast — a poached egg, a yogurt bowl, a cheese-and-mushroom omelet. But these are extraordinary. I have truly never had better pancakes. They are perfectly griddled, just crispy on the lacy edges and pillowy in the center, so you can dunk bite by delicious bite into the lemon-butter syrup. If Lansing had a signature breakfast dish, the Really Good Fu%@ing Pancakes ($13) would be it. 

On a recent brunch visit, Mr. She Ate had the Chicken & Waffles ($15). The wedge of fried chicken was fat and juicy, lightly breaded but not too light to withstand the pressure of the thick waffle wedges it was paired with. My 3-year-old daughter must have liked the ginger-maple butter because she sidled up to her dad and batted her blue eyes, and he handed over his entire plate, just like he always does. We have resigned ourselves to many more years of eating whatever is deemed “too spicy” for our children — or simply being left to clean up their leftovers. 

My entrée choice was the Quiche Latifa ($14) because I love a side breakfast salad and a female icon of hip-hop. Had the restaurant offered a Lil’ Kim-chi taco, I would have tried that as well. This deep-dish quiche, stuffed with chicken, slightly spicy andouille sausage and gouda cheese, checked all the boxes for me, and the well-dressed side salad gilded the lily. 

On a lunch visit, my colleague unknowingly mimicked Mr. She Ate and ordered the Chicken & Waffles, which she proclaimed to be “the best” chicken and waffles of her life. However, she is not yet 30 years old and presumably has a lot of years left to enjoy savory-sweet breakfast combinations on her quest for the world’s best. 

Over gossip about our mutual employer, I shoveled in bites of my Fresh Perch Sandwich ($18) that came with crispy, salty, slightly smashed Yukon Gold potatoes. The dining room was solidly busy, especially for a weekday afternoon, which I loved to see. People’s Kitchen is in kind of a challenging location, one that might be intimidating if you don’t know exactly where you’re headed. But once you get the hang of it, it is an eminently approachable restaurant. 

If you are lucky enough to sit outside during the next few weeks, you will enjoy one of Lansing’s most beautifully lush patios. The landscaping is fresh and fragrant, and the restaurant has done its best to provide seating in the shade — which isn’t possible all of the time, of course. Inside, there’s lots to look at, both in terms of décor and people. I’ve had board meetings, girls’ nights, family brunches and date nights, all at People’s Kitchen. 

My most recent visit was a quick takeout dinner. I used the seamlessly easy ordering system and picked up the Wagyu Coulotte ($46), scallops ($40) a kids’ grilled cheese ($7) and a kids’ cheeseburger ($8). Right off the bat, the kids’ cheeseburger had no business being that good. And neither of my children would touch it. I did manage to convince the older child that french fries come from potatoes, so I sliced up some of the Yukon Golds that also came with the kids’ meals and —  knock me over with a feather — he ate them. What a time to be alive. 

While he was discovering potatoes, I was splitting the two entrees and having a battle with myself over which was better. I have to give the edge to the scallops because they are such a fickle mistress and so easy to overcook if your dog barks and drags you away from the stove for the exact wrong 10 seconds. These were perfectly cooked and nestled on top of a bed of polenta with fresh corn. Excuse me while I kiss the sky. Mr. She Ate gave honors to the steak, but I’m in charge here. 

We’ve lost some great local restaurants in the last few months. I know it’s hard. It’s expensive. You’re busy. The kids. A babysitter. I know. But go have lunch or breakfast. Or get an appetizer — or even just dessert. And if you’re going to make all that effort, you might as well go to People’s Kitchen and have some of the best food in town. 


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