In a town like Lansing, the appearance of a new building or storefront with a “coming soon” or “now open” sign can be very exciting, filling one’s mind with endless possibilities. Will it be a tapas restaurant or a weed dispensary? A gelato shop … or a weed dispensary? This year saw the opening of a number of exciting eateries and, I’m sure, marijuana provisioning centers. We’ll just go over the non-intoxicating kind of edibles here, though.
Serving up the most important meal of the day, Square One Breakfast & Bakery opened in Hannah Plaza in East Lansing, offering delicious, enormous cinnamon rolls, scratch-made corned beef hash, huevos rancheros and more. Technically, the restaurant opened in 2021, but I like it so much that I want to make sure you know about it. For coffee, the new kids on the block include Hooked on East Michigan Avenue (which also has books and wine) and Château Coffee Co. off of Old Lansing Road.
In the way of the somewhat exotic, Veg Head opened its doors downtown, offering fully plant-based comfort food options. Just down the street, Tatse, an American-African restaurant, opened a storefront, relocating from its former home in the Allen Neighborhood Center incubator kitchen. Near Eastwood Towne Center, Fuel’d has a build-your-own stir fry setup that’s guaranteed to leave you with leftovers and Blend, a superfood café offering smoothie bowls and various health tonics, has your lighter-lunch needs covered while out on West Saginaw Highway.
Also out that way is The Americana Bistro in the Lansing Mall, which has mouth-watering burgers and Sidewinder fries, a cut style that I don’t think I’ve ever seen elsewhere. Other newcomers offering Midwest menu standards include Joe’s on Jolly in Okemos, the swanky new sports bar with quality eats, and Old Bag of Nails Pub just off of East Michigan Avenue, which, according to reports, is filling the fish and chips hole left by Claddagh.
Chicken restaurants proliferated, including Grand Grillin (salads and wraps), Raising Cane’s (chain fried chicken tenders) and Kimchi Box (chain Korean fried chicken), all in East Lansing. Barbecue joints also popped up all over the place — just look at Valley Wings in Okemos, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit next to Frandor Shopping Center, Smoke N’ Pig BBQ next to the Lansing Mall and Detroit Wing Co. in south Lansing and East Lansing. I’m sure there’s more, but these are just the ones I’m aware of.
Coming soon in the new year are Pablo’s long-awaited eastside location and Strange Matter’s Old Town digs and expanded service at its downtown location. And who knows what other culinary pleasures await us? I, for one, can’t wait to see what else 2023 has in store for the avid eaters of Lansing.
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