Hello, I am moving to Lansing Michigan in two months, late June from New York City. I have explored the markets a bit and am actually excited that Lansing has the extent of farmers and ethnic markets that it does. I am in my mid 20's and LOVE to cook, eat, and talk about food and local agriculture. I am big on dinner parties here in New York. I am wondering if there are fellow foodies like me in the Lansing area on Chowhound.
Welcome to Michigan, Elizabeth. Lansing has many charms--where else can you see fish climbing a ladder to spawn within city limits? It's been called a city where everyone either is a college student or lives like one, and that shows in the food. Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids have more extensive restaurant scenes, as this thread may show:
The Restaurant Villegas mentioned in that thread has closed. There are various farms and farm markets around mid-Michigan with good stuff, though. You may find this site helpful:
Best of luck!
Hi Elizabeth. As a mid-20s New Yorker foodie currently in Ann Arbor Michigan, I will say, it will take some time to adjust. I personally like Ann Arbor far more than I ever liked Lansing. Ann Arbor has a good restaurant and local foods/market scene. Ypsilanti, which is right next to Ann Arbor has plenty of small, local ethnic markets and restuarants. Ann Arbor is about an hour, hour and half from the Lansing area. The summer is a gorgeous time out here.
re: Elizabeth Rothman
Maybe you can open a restaurant! There's definitely room on the high end there; it's just that nobody has hit the sweet spot. There are a few interesting ethnic places on East Michigan Ave. running out from the Capitol area toward East Lansing and MSU. I personally like Lansing. It's a true funky town, with a good roots music scene.
Now that people are done bashing the city you are moving too..... (though it is hard to argue with Michigan is pretty bland, Lansing is the Capitol of Bland)
I only drive through lansing and dined there once and a while when my brother lived there. But here is some thoughts.
Korea House (trowbridge east off M-127 hidden in back of strip mall) Korean plain and simple. Sushi is decent, Stone Bowl BiBim Bap. Jam Pong (seafood noodle soup, mussels, baby octopi, shrimp Yum),
Dusty's Cellar (grand river in Okemos): wine store with some food. Had a cafe attached. Haven't been in years but my brother had a luncheon reception there when he gor married the first time
Blake and ???? (Okemos exit 110 north about 1/2 mile) good seafood and steak for a price (I like the chilean sea bass w/ sake infusion)
I have found other little treasures on excursions. Though I can't recall all of them.
I must disagree with your assessment of Michigan being bland. We have a lot of vibrant ethnic communities producing excellent food, high end restaurants all over the state (which I will concede, is not Lansing's strength), and the best part, AMAZING produce. Peaches from the west side, melons from howell, corn and tomatoes from all over, all of which you can find at the lansing farmer's market, and others around the area... Best of all, if you have any little bit of property, you can put in your own garden and grow your own.
Here's some Lansing/East Lansing/Okemos haunts:
Traveler's club/tuba museum in okemos - eclectic spot with monthly cuisine from around the world specials, buffalo burgers and good beer
el azteco - college hangout with roof patio (in E. Lansing. There's another one in Lansing proper). people will bash it on this board, but you just have to know what to order. Try topopo salad or blue corn enchiladas.
Clara's in Lansing in a coverted railway station. Is it world-class cuisine? no. but it has its charms and an extensive menu of comfort food.
I think I can put my two cents in for the few establishments in the Lansing/E.Lansing area that I truly do enjoy. Woody's Oasis does simple Lebanese food. I usually go to the one in Trowbridge Plaza but I do enjoy the one on Grand River. I would highly recommend Korea House as did another person. Excellent Dolsot Bi Bim Bop!
Also, there is a udon noodle shop off of Grand River, on the inside corner of a side street. Wonderful soup dishes and boba tea.
I recently discovered a funky little tea house that opened up in Downtown Lansing. It's called Magdalena's Tea Shop, and it had good soup, tea and music. I truly was happy to find such a place. http://www.magdalenasteahouse.com/
Hope this might help a bit.
It was part of the original chain but was bought out or something by the current owner. That was the one I usually ate at, so I can't compare for sure, but when I did eat at one of the Dearborn restaurants (or the one in Canton) I thought it was the same food.
To bring this thread back to the original topic, Elizabeth, if you venture down toward southeast Michigan, you will find that the Middle Eastern food is often incredibly good--maybe even better than in NYC. However, the scene changes rapidly. I once read that Arabs as a group tend not to like the restaurant business, and that as a result places change hands rapidly. In Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, Al-Noor used to be the best, hands down. But the last time I went there it was under new ownership and terrible. OTOH, Pita Pita, which was always just middling, has been getting better and better. In Dearborn the competition in a heavily Arab market is so intense that any random place you stop is likely to be pretty good at the very least.
re: Elizabeth Rothman
There are co-ops (ELFCO) and natural groceries (Foods for Living, a few others). You can get bread from decent local bakeries. Go to the Asian market in East Lansing (east of Hagadorn) for any asian foods. I don't eat meat, so I don't know about butchers - but if you found more than one true butcher shop in all of Lansing, I'd be surprised.
I think the produce in Lansing area Meijers (grocery store) is better than many other places I've been to. There are other Farmer's Markets in the area - one in Old Town, another in Okemos, neither too far away. As far as I remember, he Lansing City Market was more candles, flowers, and ceramics than fruit, veg, meat. This may have changed...
As a foodie moving from NY to Lansing, I would take advantage of all the things you can do in Michigan that you can't do as easily in a city - like grow a garden, go apple/berry picking, fry a turkey outside. Also - MSU has an organic gardening program and a lot of agricultural fun stuff going on.
re: Elizabeth Rothman
Oh yes, also... Meijers is amazing. You might not be impressed by the food (it's more everyday than gourmet), but there is something truly wonderful about going to the store for food, auto parts, socks, and a goldfish. No, those things had nothing to do with each other... that's the point. And you can get all those things at three am, even.
I live in SF now. What I miss most about Lansing is Meijers.
re: Elizabeth Rothman
I agree with other posters, City Market is a great place to go, but for convenience and price, you can't beat Meijer. They know how to handle the produce (for example the tomatoes are NOT in coolers), strive to buy from Michigan farmers, and the selection during the summer is incredible. The so fresh and so good! Plus, where else are you going to get an artichoke at 2:30 in the morning? I've lived in lansing all 29 years of my life. My mother took me to the same Meijer I shop at now with my kids when I was a baby!
re: Elizabeth Rothman
I find the best and affordable meat department in the area is at Apple Market on Saginaw, just west of the Frandor area. It's a small Spartan store, but they do have their own department and I'm often surprised at the quality and value they offer. If you're looking for Buffalo, Rabbit, or other, then Goodrich's is your bet. If you're looking for Steaks, Ribs, Pork, Chicken, etc. Check out Apple Market.
I grew up in East Lansing and my parents still live there. Thus I visit often. For the quality of local produce available ( fruit and peaches especially) the quality of restaurants, especially in the Lansing area, is appalling. On the other hand it may just reflect that you are much better off cooking at home, given the high quality of local ingredients.
My post seems to have disappeared into the ether after I tried to edit so I will try again.
I grew up in East Lansing and my parents still live there. Thus I visit often. The quality of local produce, especially fruit, is astounding. Thus I think you are much better off cooking at home and this might explain why the restaurant scene in Lansing is pretty bleak.
Ah yes "fond" memories of Meijers Thrifty Acres, or as we used to say Meijers Shifty Takers.
My parents live in Lansing and have given me a half decent introduction to the town..
I will second the Tuba Museum AKA The Travelers Club....
As for Merindorf Meats...they do now have a Williamston location.
As for Local Beer...Michigan Brewing Company is not that shabby!
They have taken over brewing for the legendary Celis Brewing.
I spent my first 23 years in the Lansing area, and although I complained at the time, it really was great place to live.
Some suggestions I haven't seen mentioned yet:
Lansing has some great, family-style Italian places. DeLuca's and Spagnuolos's are wonderful.
In my hometown, you will find Joe's Gizzard City. It is by no means gourmet, but it is an experience.
I'm also a fan of Beggar's Banquet. It's a very cozy place with tasty food.
And, one thing you absolutely must try are the cider mills. They are all over the area, and they have all manner of tasty things, from fresh fruit and cider to baked goods and homemade preserves.
Lansing is small and not as exciting as many bigger cities, but it does have it charms. Keep an eye out for the summer street festivals in East Lansing.
2006 W Willow St, Lansing, MI 48917
662 W Grand River Ave, Okemos, MI
Joe's Gizzard City
120 W Main St, Potterville, MI 48876
218 Abbot Rd, East Lansing, MI 48823
Golden Wok on Grand River in East Lansing (by ELFCO) has cart service dim sum on Sundays. Go around noon because it fills up fast.
I work on the west side and here are the haunts I frequent for lunch:
The Kroger on the corner of Saginaw Hwy and Creyts Rd has adequate takeout sushi.
UKAI behind the Bennigan's on Saginaw Hwy has great sushi.
Little Panda on Saginaw Hwy has pretty decent General Tso's chicken. I don't order anything else there. The General Tso's chicken is a greasebomb, of course. On Wednesdays its the special, and it costs less than $5.50 for enough to make two meals.
Mike's Village in Dimondale has FANTASTIC homemade soups and breads. The soups are served all you can eat style and it's less than $5 for lunch. They are outstanding!
I've heard very good things about Vinagerattes (sp?) on Elmwood. Never ate there.
Caremello's Italian Ristourante on Saginaw Hwy has a decent lunch buffet - but I will actually drive over there at night to eat when it's non-buffet.
Other restaurants of note:
San Su in East Lansing has great sushi
Big T's Extreme Deli, located inside Brower's Hardware and Liquor Store on Aurelius in Holt serves the best hamburger I've ever had. I live super close, I would say I eat take out from there about once a week.
Sammy's (a bar) in Holt has a great deep dish pizza
Buddie's Bar and Grill on the corner of Holt Rd and Aurelius in Holt has great food
Aldacco's has the best mexican food I've found in town, it's located on South Cedar in Lansing
Joe's Gizzard City in Potterville is a great townie bar and I'm here to tell you, fried chicken gizzards are delicious.
The Fleetwood Diner on S. Cedar St has great breakfast. I especially recommend the hippy hash with gyro meat. Yum!
The Airport Tavern on Grand River has a really, really good steak. It's a dive bar, but whatever.
Spuds on Waverly Rd has a greek food night periodically, and their greek food is great.
I have it on good authority that Asian Express on S Cedar has good thai food, but I've never had it.
Bonnie's Place (a bar on E. Saginaw and N Cedar St) has a pretty good hamburger and fries. I believe they have a $6 special: hamburger, fries, and a draft. It's good stuff.
I HIGHLY recommend the Michigan Brewing Company in Williamston. Even if you don't like beer, the food is good - but if you do like beer, it's a great place. Reasonably priced, very nice atmosphere. Usually some of my friends and I make an afternoon of it - we go have beer and lunch at MBC, and then stop on the way back and stock up on meat from Merindorf's. Bring a cooler with you, it's possibly the best meat I've ever had.
I can't believe no one has mentioned Golden Harvest in oldtown Lansing. Awesome breakfast! All fresh and local ingredients. If you go, plan on being there for awhile, it's really tiny, but with all the crazy stuff on the walls and shelves you won't get bored, and it's worth the wait.
I just moved to Lansing about three months ago. I've been documenting our dining expereinces at
Still haven't found a place that really knocks my socks off. I don't really eat ethnic food so I don't have any suggestions. The Lansing City Market is not what you're hoping it's going to be and not really worth the trip. We were so excited before we moved here that the market was going to be where we did all of our shopping. Instead, we shop almost exclusively at Horrocks (http://www.shophorrocks.com).
So far, some of my favorites have been....
burgers - Leo's Lodge/Leo's Outpost
Pizza - Fat Boys - Holt
deep fried anything - Joe's Gizzard City - Potterville
Sandwich - Turkeyman Deli
upscale - Troppo
There were a few places already mentioned here that sound pretty good that I need to try out....
I lived in Lansing for a number of years and worked there up until last year. I am picky but was fairly satisfied by frequenting the following places (with a big 2nd for Woody's and MBC):
*Akagi in Okemos, in a tiny strip mall near the Wal-Mart. I used to live in Japan and this is by far the best sushi in Michigan, IME. Doug, the owner, chooses the best possible raw ingredients and keeps it simple. (Ukai is NOT good, IMO. Small portions, no attention to detail, it is primarily a "Japanese steakhouse.") Akagi is unpretentious, it looks like a Japanese lunch counter but is a foodie heaven.
*Asian House on Grand River in East Lansing. Twice, cars have crashed into this place, but I overcame my fear to get their tasty pho when I was sick or it was winter.
*Emil's downtown Lansing. This is a comfort-food Italian place that has been there for years. Tuesday nights (I think) they have all you can eat spaghetti. It is frequently packed with locals.
*Thai Food From Lamai's Kitchen in Lansing. No atmosphere, phenomenal homestyle food cooked by a lady (Lamai) who is always there and makes you feel like she's your long-lost Thai grandma. She has a different lunch buffet every weekday. I only wish I had such good Thai food where I live now.
*Knight Cap in downtown Lansing. You will only hear this from locals. Great steak, 70s vibe, next to the strip club. Worth your time.
These are all good suggestions, though at Lamai's it's recommended you go there for the buffet.
If you love Udon or Bubble Tea, I highly recommend the Udon Sushi Bakery which is behind the Harrison Road House at Michigan Ave / Hagadorn. The owner is from Korea and his wife from Hong Kong. Not really much Sushi, but I love their food. Clientele is usually about 80% Asian.
ditto the recommends on golden harvest and emils. Nothing fancy, but decent greek diner food at Zeus on South Pennsylvania St always crowded at lunch time. Can also recommend Red Cedar Grill, the original in Williamston or the branch in Lansing Mall on West Saginaw.
Also loved Beggar's Banquet when I was a student at MSU but haven't been there in 10 yrs or so. For mexican Los Tres Amigos isn't bad (locations on west Saginaw and South Cedar.
I was looking for a butcher and came across this blog... as a fellow New Yorker who moved to Michigan, I had to reply. Hope you are enjoying the "mitten state". I actually moved to Grand Rapids when I was younger, but recently moved to Lansing. GR has a lot of good restaurants, but I've found so does Lansing... I recommend:
Charlie Kang's for Korean (dolsot bibimbap, haemul pajun, bone-in kampongi...)
Omi's for Sushi
DeLuca's for Pizza
Bravo's for Italian
Clara's for Sunday brunch
Famous Taco's for Mexican
I haven't found anyone that makes a good pastrami sandwich... but anyway, if you ever venture to GR you should check out their downtown area. They have all sorts of good places to eat... San Chez is da bomb (great mediterranean...yummy tapas)! XO asian cuisine is great, Louis Benton's pearl is to die for, Ritz Koney has good hot dogs (nothing like a Sabretts or Gray's Papaya tho),
Hope you find some good eats!
> I haven't found anyone that makes a good pastrami sandwich...
Maybe not in Lansing, but just over an hour away, Detroit and its suburbs have some awesome Jewish delis, better than anything I've been to other than the New York area (and yes, better than here in Chicago, although we have some decent ones too). For specific recommendations, see
I think my dad had the worst Deli experience you could have in Lansing...
He was looking for a Pastrami on Rye with Mustard about 15 years ago...
The person behind the counter actually told him she had never heard of Rye? You would think that anyone that works at a Deli would have a base idea of what breads and meats are generally available. I am not even asking the sandwich maker to know what makes a good rye or Corned Beef (I will leave that to the Deli owner). So not only did the employee not know what Rye was, the owner did not even stock it, much less train his employees. It was somewhere in/near Frandor...
The Audacity to call it a Deli....
I had a Pastrami sandwich at Amici's New York Deli on Clippert not too long ago. I'm not a pastrami expert, so I don't know if it was good or not, but I did enjoy.
Did you find a butcher shop yet? I suggest Merindorf Meats in Williamston and Mason. I like the Williamston store better, but both are good. Probably the only butcher I've been able to find so far.
Nsxtasy and others:
If you want a new, very good big city-class deli that passes the corned-beef sandwich acid test, and you're willing to drive to Okemos (which you should be if you're seious), try State Side Deli on the west side of Okemos Road, just north of Jolly. State Side is in the same center anchored at one end by Starbucks, and on the other end by Grand Traverse Pie, with Stillwater Grill at the corner in the middle. It is as close as we come to a Detroit-style Jewish Deli. Corned beef and pastrami are very good; rye is double-baked; they have Dr Brown's Soda, as well as 7-layer cake. Hanging salamis tell you they're serious about meeting your expectations.
If you have big-city taste for a very good corned beef sandwich, this is your bet and worth the drive (short of Zingerman's in Ann Arbor, or the Stage in Farmington, both of which are also worth the drive but much further. The staff there wants you HAPPY, and knows how to schmooze to make sure you are.
If you was a decent corned beef sandwich closer to you, there is also Amici's Deli near Frandor. It's good enough quality corned beef; and generous, but the bread isn't the same as you will be used to despite being good enough. I've run over there from my office near the Capitol in Lansing on occasion for a quick carry-out and I've always enjoyed it. But it's not a real deli.
If you're only satisfied with a Chicago/NYC/LA deli spectacle, Lansing won't be it, but it will hit the sweet spot for authenticity of the food.
Finally, if you haven't taken the time to go to Zingerman's in Ann Arbor, you have thus far missed what may be the best of the best of the delis in the USA. Do your homework before you go, and cover the complete sandwich menu because deciding is not for the faint of heart, so incredible are the offerings.
Hello, I am from Okemos, Michigan. Welcome to the area. I am in my 50's. I would suggest you try I Fusion in East Lansing; if you have not yet.
Also, you must go to Kewpee Burger on Washington in downtown Lansing. You can not say you ate in Lansing until you had a olive Kewpeee burger. Icon of Lansing, Michigan. Been business through 4 generations. Must have atleast once.
I stopped at a Taco stand on Michigan Ave this weekend. I got a beef cheek burrito.
Best Burrito I have had in decades.
I will be going back every single god damn time I am in town.
Not my blog...but more in depth than I am willing to go today.
Welcome to MI. I moved here from Chicago a year ago and my best find so far is Horricks. You should definitely check it out! Good luck.
I hope you're well settled in by now and loving the Lansing area. Here are some places you may not have tried yet:
*Apple Jade - Chinese/Taiwanese in Frandor
*Altu's - Ethiopian on Michigan Ave. east of Frandor
*Cafe on the Grand/Sir Pizza - Pizza and sandwiches, but cool community of people in Old Town, karaoke or bands some nights
*Geno's - Pizza in downtown Lansing
*Omi - Sushi in downtown East Lansing (ignore the college kids, it's good food)
*Sawyer's Pancake House - Organic and natural food on Saginaw at Pine in Lansing (serves more than breakfast)
*Stillwater Grill - American food in Okemos near I-96
*Red Cedar Grill - American food in Williamston on Grand River
*Bell's Pizza - Grinders in East Lansing
*Tavern on the Square - Small plates/bar in downtown Lansing
Just popping in to say that we tried El Azteco on the recommendation of this post and the meal was
a) the worst excuse for Mexican food I've ever had
b) one of the worst meals I've ever had, period.
Beware: the food is totally at odds with its website's claim to focus on fresh ingredients. Stay away.
1016 W Saginaw St, Lansing, MI 48915
It's been a long time since this thread has been updated...anything new and noteworthy in the Lansing area?
I'll be visiting for my annual (working) Memorial Day trip. The one restaurant I know I'll be going to -- probably more than once -- is San Su in East Lansing. I just love their sushi and their Korean dishes (I'm already drooling thinking about the Chirashi Deluxe I know will be my first meal in town.)
Actually going to be staying in the South Lansing area but don't mind driving a bit for dinner. One place I absolutely will be avoiding is El Azteca -- I've given 2 of their locations a chance over the years and just find it a dreadful excuse for Mexican food. Bad salsa, margaritas from obvious mix AND the worst was last time I was served one, it was still WARM. Ugh.