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Apr 20, 2008 05:25 PM

Lansing Michigan

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.

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  1. 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!

    1. 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.

      1. Thanks for your responses, I think it will take some getting used to and time to adjust. I am hopeful ;) I will probably just end up cooking even more, which is not a bad thing, as long as I can find most ingredients that I want!

        1 Reply
        1. 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.

        2. 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.

          1 Reply
          1. re: workinglunches2

            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.

          2. 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.

            Hope this might help a bit.

            6 Replies
            1. re: indivara

              second Woody's!

              and when you fly into Detroit, hit La Shish.

              1. re: luniz

                The entire La Shish chain has been shuttered recently, due to the ongoing problems with the government issues they were continuing to have.

                1. re: boagman


                  i'd never felt so brilliant just for ordering dinner as they made me feel! what a shame!

                  1. re: luniz

                    There is still one open in Ann Arbor, independently owned, at Carpenter and Washtenaw just off U.S. 23 at the Washtenaw exit. It's called Charlie's La Shish. Bon appetit!

                    1. re: Jim M

                      Well...I wasn't really counting that one. There's another one out on the west side, as well, I think, that's independently owned.

                      Is Charlie's La Shish *honestly* the same as the rest of the now-closed chain was?

                      1. re: boagman

                        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.