There aren't many restaurants anymore where you can sit in the same booth your parents might have dined in 40 years ago. But such is the case at Beggar's Banquet. The self-proclaimed restaurant and saloon took root in 1973, founded by Bob Adler and named after his favorite Rolling Stones album. The pub-like main dining area remains down-to-earth and casual, welcoming guests with wood-paneled walls and stained-glass windows. The names of "beggulars" are etched on gold plates above the bar, and local families celebrate milestones in an elegant room dedicated to private parties. All of this, coupled with the nostalgic atmosphere and tasty, homestyle dishes, has helped Beggar’s Banquet earn praise as one of Lansing's best restaurants by 10Best.
Twenty ever-changing craft beers on tap and a wine list that ranges from malbecs to piesporters fuel the jovial ambiance. Cooks innovate creative spins on classic comfort food, adding muenster, havarti, and gouda to their baked mac 'n’ cheese and a blueberry compote to char-grilled pork chops. They also serve breakfast until 2 p.m., the time each day when orange juice magically transforms into soda pop.
Though Lou and Harry’s Sports Bar is in a college town, that doesn’t mean you’ll eat like a college student while you’re there. To elevate their food, the chefs have upgraded sports bar staples such as burgers, pizzas, and wings with inventive flavors and toppings. Beefy burgers arrive at tables topped with with warm chili con queso or barbecue sauce-slathered onion rings, and wings come tossed in one of 14 mild to mouth-searing sauces. Pizzas emulate the flavors of Philly cheese steak and buffalo chicken, each big enough to share with friends or trade with someone in exchange for their group of friends. Games are always playing on the bar’s giant TV and in warmer weather, you can enjoy pints of more than 60 varieties of beer on the patio.
Since 1825, the Old Town area has seen both prosperous times and, for the second half of the 20th century, stretches of destitution. Within the last 30 years, dedicated locals have started turning Old Town back around, dropping its building vacancy rates from 90% to fewer than 10%, and establishing a slew of festivals, art venues, and boutiques. The Old Town Commercial Association plays its role in this cultural and economic renaissance by holding the annual Old Town Oktoberfest, a Midwestern interpretation of the traditional German holiday.
Over the course of two days, live polka bands provide a soundtrack for German-style dancing and festivities. Vendors pour German and European Oktoberfest beers from Spaten, Warsteiner, and Frankenmuth, and autumnal beers from American breweries such as Sam Adams and Blue Moon. Local restaurants serve authentic German dishes such as spaetzle, potato soup, frankfurters, and bratwurst throughout the fest, allowing visitors to taste the country’s staples without having to stow away in a UN ambassador’s suitcase.
In 1997, Kip and Dennise Barber sold their suburban home. But it wasn't because they were downsizing or moving to the city. Instead, they used the money to purchase a large, wooded plot of land in Grass Lake, which they cleared and planted with rows of grapevines. And thus, Lone Oak Vineyard Estate was born. Over the years, the couple worked to add more and more varietals to the vineyard, and today, their estate is home to 12 types of grapes spanning 25 acres. Handpicked at the peak of ripeness, each of the European grapes is transformed into estate wines, such as dry reds, semidry whites, and utterly sarcastic dessert wines.
A brick oven imbues each of Luigi’s Restaurant’s pizzas with a distinct flavor and crispy crust. Chefs adorn these bubbling hot discs with 20 toppings that range from veggies such as jalapeños and mushrooms to meaty morsels of hamburger and pepperoni. They also handcraft their own spinach ravioli, meatballs, soups, lasagna, and abstract finger paintings. Servers deliver these lovingly prepared meals to tables, which populate an intimate dining room decorated with framed photographs.