She ate


Shortly after I became a member of the Lansing School Board, I had the opportunity to tour Willow Elementary School. I hadn’t been in that building before, and during the tour, I was completely blown away by the enthusiasm and love that poured out of the principal, Steve Lonzo.

When I learned last year that Lonzo was retiring, I was incredibly sad for the district. While I, too, don’t want to work forever, there are some people who I wish could, and Lonzo is one of them. But then I learned that he and his equally impressive wife, Re’Shane Lonzo, were purchasing the old Leo’s Outpost on South Pennsylvania Avenue and converting it into a restaurant and cigar lounge. Even better, the Comfort Zone is located in my county commission district, which matters to literally nobody but me.

To be frank, I was apprehensive about the amount of smoke that we would inevitably encounter while eating dinner in a cigar lounge. But while I did have to wash my hair that night and hang my coat outside, behaviors that reminded me of my undergraduate days, the smokiness inside the building was much less than I anticipated. The ventilation system is top of the line, and the smell of smoke was virtually unnoticeable by the time we sat down.

The Comfort Zone is a far cry from Leo’s Outpost. It’s draped in purple, with textures and lighting that make you want to hire a babysitter and find a corner to sit in with your husband. If a building can be sexy, this one is. It has been absolutely beautifully renovated and was very clearly a labor of love for the Lonzos.

Mr. She Ate and I love a crab cake, and we were excited to try the Comfort Zone’s version. The appetizer was expensive, $32 for two large crab cakes, and our server didn’t bring smaller plates for us to use while we ate. Not a problem for myself and my spouse, but this could be extremely awkward if you were with a colleague with whom you didn’t want to share a plate. The crab cakes were above average, very large and drizzled with romesco sauce. However, for that price, I expected much more lump crab meat.

For my entrée, I chose the hand-cut New York strip steak ($55), which the menu claimed would come with mashed potatoes and fresh broccolini. What was actually on my plate was broccoli, which I still love, but there’s something about those long broccolini stems. When I placed my order, our server didn’t ask me how I wanted the steak prepared, which gave me pause, but to his credit, he came back a few minutes later to inquire.

The steak was wonderfully medium rare, as I requested. The sear on the outside was crisp, while the texture inside was smooth. It was topped with a generous amount of herby compound butter, which complemented every bite. I would definitely order this again.

Mr. She Ate chose the chicken alfredo ($25), which he reported as being unoffensive but not particularly memorable. What was memorable was that when we stood up to leave, who should walk in but my co-reviewer and his fabulous better half? We sat right back down with them and proceeded to talk each other’s ears off until their entrees were delivered to the table.


comfort zone lounge, Lansing restaurant, food review,


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