Built by Irish farmers in 1937 and still family-owned, Grattan Irish Pub serves its steaks, dusted perch, and house-brined kraut and corned beef with a hearty side of tradition. Deep kelly green booths dot the interior, tucked along walls covered with Irish decor. The kitchen produces authentic dishes made from carefully guarded family recipes and serves soups alongside local, hormone-free steaks that are hand cut and never marinated. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, live music sails through the air, and a weekly burrito special is definitely not Irish but involves a burrito, so nothing else matters.
The cherry-red Diners, Drive-ins and Dives convertible idles beside a giant rooster statue in the Gizzard City parking lot. Inside the diner, Food Network's Guy Fieri stands over a deep fryer, a full burger battered in his gloved hand. With a sizzle and a grin, Guy drops the entire creation into scalding oil, yielding Joe's Gizzard City's newest creation, the Triple D burger. After spending years battering chicken in his grandmother's secret blend of ingredients, co-owner Joe Bristol Jr. decided to experiment with the hot oil, and now deep fries hot dogs, Oreos, and even whole burgers. But the eatery isn’t called Gizzard City for nothing. Pressure cooked in garlic and celery powder until tender, Joe's namesake chicken gizzards arrive to tables cloaked in Cajun spices or crowded into the cheese-filled confines of an omelet.
Hesitant diners begin to sample gizzards, cautiously at first, but then letting forth happy sighs that reverberate off neon beer signs, a projection TV, and a weathered wooden bar. The staff operates on the same irreverent attitude that led them to deep-fry a Twinkie, joking with one another and playfully asking guests to help with the dishes. Booths the deep red hue of a lobster with lost cue cards cradle lingering patrons who chat with Joe Jr. about his numerous Tennessee Country Music Association awards.
Landmarks of standup for decades, Connxtions Comedy Clubs remain mainstays for up-and-coming comics and national stars, with a roster of past performers that includes Sinbad, Drew Carey, Tim Allen, D. L. Hughley, and Rob Schneider. Headlining comedians, many seen on national television, keep the venues teetering Thursday–Saturday nights, whereas Wednesday nights host improv spectacles and open mics where rookies can begin their ascent into stardom or descent into miming. While refueling chuckle tanks, duos and groups can split a savory appetizer, such as cheese bread or chicken wings, or enjoy a potent cocktail at the bar.
A mid-Michigan institution since 1929, the Lansing Symphony Orchestra performs for more than 20,000 visitors every year. Music director and conductor Timothy Muffitt currently leads its roster of professional musicians in concerts that explore a variety of musical styles, including classical masterworks, a pops and chamber series, and brassy big-band engagements.
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.