Eat! Lansing

August 21, 2010

Five Guys is Coming

Filed under: American, Best of, Burger, Campus, East Lansing — dkastner @ 8:28 am

The famous burger chain known as Five Buys Burgers and Fries will be gracing East Lansing in late September.  If you’ve never heard of Five Guys, here’s some background.

Five Guys started out in the mid-80s in Northern Virginia, just outside of Washington, DC.  By the time I was living there, around 2004, the small chain was already legendary among Northern Virginians.  By the time I moved to Michigan in 2007, the chain had expanded all over the Virginia suburbs.  There was quite a bit of fanfare when a location was opened up in New York.  Around the time of the Presidential elections, the public discovered that Barack and Michelle Obama have a penchant for greasy burgers and that Five Guys was one of their favorite stops (Ray’s Hell Burger is now the preferred burger joint).  Since then, the Five Guys has exploded into much of the US, east of the Mississippi.  I have eaten at a Five Guys near Farmington Hills, but I was especially surprised and delighted to find that one would be coming to East Lansing.

The menu is very simple: burgers or hot dogs with regular or cajun fries.  There are a plethora of toppings you can have piled on top of your burger, including grilled onions, jalepeños, and green peppers.  The griddle-fried patties are succulent and juicy.  Great care is required when eating to avoid spilling grease and toppings all over.

The french fries are delivered in a styrofoam cup within a paper bag.  The best approach is to rip open one side of the bag, pour out your fries, and douse them with a healthy dose of malt vinegar.  The fries are “boardwalk style,” following the tradition of fries sold in East Coast beach towns like Ocean City, Maryland.  The fries are fried in peanut oil and it is customary to use malt vinegar, similar to eating fried fish.  The cajun fries are usually the better pick, especially if you like spicy things.

While you’re waiting for your food, there is usually an open box of peanuts in the shell for snacking.  The walls are also graced with issues of Washingtonian Magazine that rave about the joint, reassuring you that you have chosen the best burger in town.

My only complaint with this opening is that it will be located on the far eastern side of campus town, next to Blockbuster and Jimmy John’s.  Not exactly convenient for a lot of people.  However, the crack-like addiction many are likely to develop to these burgers will probably be enough to keep people coming.

East Lansing’s campus town has a glut of cheap, greasy fast food, but I’m hoping Five Guys will be able to outlast the rest, given its allure.

October 10, 2008

Moe’s Firehouse Grill

Filed under: Arab, Burger, Campus, East Lansing — Jack Lumanog @ 7:06 pm

Moe’s Firehouse Grill
565 E. Grand River Ave., East Lansing, MI 48823
(517) 333-7040‎

NOTE:  As of today (10-13-08) and driving by on Grand River, the restaurant is closed.

I walked into Moe’s Firehouse Grill and had a bit of an idea of what Chef Gordon Ramsay (Michelin-starred chef featured on FOX’s “Kitchen Nightmares” and “Hell’s Kitchen”) must think when walking into the restaurants that he is about to turn around.  I had a craving for a gyro and didn’t know where to go.  I settled on Moe’s after seeing a Kronos Gyro poster in their window  —  plus a sign that said there was a gyro dinner combo special.  I thought, “what could go wrong here?”  Sadly, the answer was everything that could go wrong  —  would go wrong.

The good news was that dinner set me back $6.50 for a gyro, french fries and fountain drink.  That’s where the good news ended.  After I ordered and paid, I noticed that the grill man took some gyro meat out of the freezer and placed it on the griddle.  If ever I was tempted to take back a transaction, it was right here.  But sadly, the deed was done and I had paid for my dinner.

There was one other customer in the entire place on a Friday night.  There were more flies inside the place than customers (something that Chef Ramsay would point out if he were reviewing the place on his TV show) and I had to swat them away as I tried to enjoy my dinner.  I picked up my gyro and immediately dropped it because the pita was so hot as if it was warmed up on the surface of the sun.  (Too bad this wasn’t an actual firehouse as I might get some water hose relief after getting burned from just picking up my gyro!)

My french fries tasted awful as if the cooking oil hasn’t been changed out in weeks (another thing that Chef Ramsay would point out if he were here).  The fries left a beige stain on the styrofoam container that my dinner was served on  —  a bad sign that the cooking oil is old.  At least my Slice tasted like lemon-lime soda.  The soda helped wash out the remnants of a regrettable meal.

The rest of the menu features plenty of cheap eats:  burgers and fries, sub sandwiches and something called a “chicken wrap.”  I didn’t bother to ask about the chicken wrap.  I bussed my table, took my soda and tried to forget about my mistake of a meal.

October 10, 2007

Burger Down

Filed under: American, Best of, Burger, Campus, East Lansing — dkastner @ 7:04 pm

Burger Down
529 E. Grand River, East Lansing, MI 48823

The best burgers are not grilled, flame broiled, nor are they microwaved. The best burgers are fried on a griddle and served with fresh-cut fries fried in peanut oil. I discovered this in Northern Virginia when I had my first burger from Five Guys. I always assumed I’d have to drive to Ohio or back to Virginia to experience that again. Not so! Right here in East Lansing is a local gem following the same path.

These burgers will spit in the face of your diet and you’ll need a bottle of fish liver oil pills to clean out your arteries afterwards. But it’s so worth it! This is burger perfection.

Don’t expect anything else, besides burgers and fries. They stick to what they do well. Plenty of toppings, including fried onions, can be added at will. A nice little touch is their “come back sauce” that seems to be a tasty mix of ketchup and mustard.

UPDATE: It seems that this fine establishment has gone out of business.  A “for lease” sign now sits in the window.

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