When searching for their lab partner, a Michigan State student might first check the dorms. The safe second option is Georgio's Pizza. The Lansing staple doles out gourmet, hand-tossed pies whole or by the slice until 3 a.m. on many evenings, following the sage business model that brought the family-owned business from Greece—settle in a college town and feed the masses. Today, more than 50 New York–style pizzas populate menus at three Georgio's locations.
The pizzas' toppings run the gamut from traditional cheese and pepperoni to creative combinations such as barbecue chicken and tortellini or eggplant and tomato. Like many forms of deep-sea pizza, Georgio's pies often disguise themselves as a different food—a taco, perhaps, or a baked potato, complete with chives, bacon, cheese, and sour cream—in a short-sighted attempt to avoid being eaten by predators. In his review for Michigan Live, Troy Reimink remarks that Georgio's served "the most interesting and tasty slices I've wolfed down in recent memory, although I felt as if I was disrespecting the creations by not nibbling them with silverware off fine china."
Georgio's is so dedicated to treating customers to a gourmet experience that its staffers actually take the pizza out of the oven before it is finished. They then wait until a customer selects the pizza before popping it back in—often adding extra ingredients—which ensures that the pies are always served piping hot without having to line the crust with charcoal briquettes.
Lansing's original sports bar assuages appetites with a broad menu backdropped by big-screen sports and quirky regulars who all play the wacky neighbor in reality's long-running sitcom. Warm up flavor feelers with an appetizer sampler ($8.95) of onion rings, chicken fingers, fried mushrooms, and mozzarella sticks before insulating stomachs against poorly aimed cannonballs with a bacon cheeseburger ($5.75) or chili dog ($4.25). Art's popular homemade deluxe pizza ($15.50–$18.50)—adorned with pepperoni, ham, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, and olives—keeps groups of competitive friends sated between rounds on the bar's shuffleboard, dartboards, and Michigan Lottery machine. Wash down any repast with a massive 32-ounce beer shooper ($4.15), which treats drinkers to the giddy thrill of chugging a fishbowl without the hassle of choking on another miniature castle.
Athletic aficionados soak in sporty showings on more than 20 TVs at the casual downtown eatery with a menu of tasty American eats. Slide into a stadium of starters, such as potato skins ($6.99) and spicy crab bits peppered with pops of jalapeños ($6.99), or down a spinach and artichoke dough disk, a pizza sporting the cheesy appetizer in lieu of sauce ($11.99). An all-star team of burger slingers catapult a multitude of choices, such as the Santa Fe burger bolstered by tangy chipotle mayo, the salami- and feta-fraught mediterranean burger, and the salmon burger, all served with fries ($8.99 each). The innovative grilled chicken alfredo penne ($9.99) and meatball parmesan grinders ($8.99) revamp Italian originals into contemporary American fare, thus infusing noshes with confusing feelings about their ambiguous origins.
Geno’s Pizzeria is an East Coast–style pizza parlor, specializing in foldable slices made with dough baked fresh daily. Open a chow down session with garlic knots ($4.25), which covers all areas of the pizzeria food pyramid including, garlic, butter, olive oil, parsley, basil, and romano. Inside the kitchen, crust commandos toss pies by hand and crush San Marzano–style tomatoes for the eatery’s distinct sauce. The menu offers specialty creations such as the salami, pepperoni, ham and veggies hoagie pie (14”, $17), as well as many triangular slice choices ($3 for one or $5.50 for two), accommodating stomachs not far along enough in Geometry to digest an entire circle. The pie shop provides a comfortable respite with brick walls and a taste bud attracting display case of pizzas kept behind glass to protect them from sneezes and desperate salami thieves.
The skilled chefs at Falsetta’s Casa Nova mingle Old and New World recipes in a menu laden with specialty pizzas, juicy steak, and burgers. To pep up palates, patrons can play table shuffleboard with crispy fried mushrooms ($5.99) or craft a topographical map of Pennsylvania atop a philly cheesesteak specialty pizza ($10.95–$14.99). As waiters arrive from beyond brick partitions, their arms release heaping plates of edible comfort, such as the spinach manicotti drenched in green-speckled cream sauce and bubbling blankets of cheese ($9.49). Half-pound burgers ($6.99) and pesto-encrusted salmon ($12.99) make tongues dance under the gleam of stained glass light fixtures, and the Jack Daniels–glazed filet mignon ($15.99) allows diners a rare peak into a Tennessee gentleman’s flask with 8 ounces of tender, charbroiled steak.
Every day inside Guerrazzi's kitchen, members of the Guerrazzi family are hard at work prepping their housemade pizzas, pastas, and sauces; it’s a job they’ve perfected over more than a decade. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, all of which diners can enjoy at freestanding tables or cushy booths inside a dining room flooded with the natural light that pours through the atrium. Three banquet rooms play host to events, with enough room to house groups of 20–200 people or seven Paul Bunyans.
Tony M's has served up home-cooked Italian fare since its founding by the Migaldi family more than 30 years ago. Though now under new ownership, chefs at the eatery still slather fettuccine, spaghetti, and manicotti with the Migaldis' secret-recipe sauce, brought over with them from Italy, and pile pizzas with toppings such as pepperoni, sausage, and pineapple. House wines pour out by the glass or carafe, and diners can also summon bottles such as Kendall Jackson chardonnay or Bogle Vineyards cabernet sauvignon. In addition, a store and deli supplies catered platters and takeout meals for eating on the go.