With the number of diners in town, I’m sure Lansing could easily claim highest number of diners per capita in the nation. But Fork in the Road is one of a kind in Lansing.
No matter how many run-of-the-mill diners there are, they all seem to be slight variations on a single theme – microwaving or grilling whatever comes off the Sysco truck. In August, the Sysco truck still delivers mealy tomatoes that were grown far across the country using virtual slave labor, picked green, and force “ripened.” This despite the fact that Michigan is the second greatest producer in the country next to California in terms of variety of produce and there are plenty of local farms raising sweet, juicy, organic tomatoes. It’s not just with tomatoes that this irony plays out – most food in restaurants comes to you in a similar manner.
What makes Fork in the Road different is that they source many of their ingredients from local farms, many who specialize in organic produce and meat. They reinterpret classics you’d find at your local diner – country fried steak, meat loaf sandwiches, apple pie – using quality ingredients and an artisanal touch. For example, instead of plain tater tots, they serve tots made with rosemary, garlic, and asiago cheese. Yes, they taste as good as they sound. The fried pie should be on your list for dessert.
The restaurant was started by the same guys who run Trailer Park’d, the gourmet food truck that typically shows up in Old Town and the East Lansing farmers market. I imagine the location doesn’t work as well for those in East Lansing/Okemos/Meridian, but it’s really only a couple miles from Old Town and downtown. It’s also close to a bus route.