Eat! Lansing

March 31, 2009

Emil’s Restaurant

Filed under: Best of, Italian — Jack Lumanog @ 2:46 pm

Emil’s Restaurant
Menu on RestaurantDB.net

2012 E Michigan Ave., Lansing, MI 48912
(517) 482-4430

My wife and I have been meaning to go to Emil’s for a long time now.  Now, into our third year here in Lansing, we had a great opportunity to go for a church activity. 

We went on a Saturday night and the place was pretty packed out at 5:45pm (hint: make a reservation!) and that crowd was spilling out into the tiny waiting area and bar area when our group was finished up with our dinner.  And, what a dinner it was!

Apparently, Emil’s is Lansing’s oldest restaurant (operating since 1921).  It seemed a lot of the diners around us were going for the pizza.  But, the Italian sausage and peppers entree seemed like a great idea for me.  At $14.25, it was the perfect amount of food, perfectly prepared and it took me back to my childhood in Hoboken, NJ where I practically grew up on sausage and peppers at many a parish supper at St. Francis Church … but, I digress.  Emil’s Italian sausage and peppers came with two links, grilled sweet red peppers, a sweet marinara for dipping and a side of spaghetti in a different marinara sauce.  Absolute perfection and I was thoroughly satisfied.  My wife ordered the small dinner portion of lasagna which she proclaimed: “perfect!”

There is a limited selection of nameless wines by the glass.  The house wine selection is $5 by the glass.  At first, I went with the house Chianti and it was a mistake.  It was very, very sweet and tasted more like a Riunite Lambrusco.  My wife gladly took that glass of Chianti over so that I could try another glass of wine from the premium selection  —  $6 by the glass.  I went with the Cabernet Sauvignon instead and that was just perfect with the sausage and peppers dinner.

We had about 20 people in our group and the service was very efficient considering we were on separate checks.  Everyone from our group was very pleased with dinner which is very gratifying – and a feat at the same time! 

Finally, my only complaint is that my wife and I were charged $2 a piece additional to upgrade to a Caesar salad.  Should have stuck to the house salad for free because there was no real noticeable difference between our “upgraded” salad and the regular house salad.  That said, it was the only thing that stuck out in a bad way from my first ever visit to Emil’s.  It’s a minor thing and our family will definitely be back soon!

September 14, 2008

Grand River Coffee

Filed under: Coffee, East Lansing, Italian — dkastner @ 5:08 pm

Grand River Coffee
515 W Grand River Ave, East Lansing, MI 48823

In the spring of 2007, I was looking for a good coffee place to hang out at.  I saw a lot of billboards for Cornerstone Coffee and decided to try out the one in Holt.  I wasn’t impressed.  The decor seemed to come straight out of a Pottery Barn catalog (no character), the wireless internet was a no-go, and the owner/manager rubbed me the wrong way.  Since then, I drove by the Grand River location in East Lansing without stopping.

Now, the cafe sitting on Grand River is named Grand River Coffee.  I never would have stopped in, but my wife suggested it.  I’ve been pleasantly surprised.  The atmosphere is cozy – leather chairs and couches, a fireplace, and a sheet of falling water surrouned by stone masonry.  However, it’s still a little bit soulless and the light jazz piped through overhead speakers requires a pair of headphones to drown out.  

The coffee here is the best part.  It’s probably the best brewed coffee I’ve tasted here in town and there are plenty of varieties to choose from.  

On the dining front, there is a case full of tasty pastries or they’ll grill up a panini for you.  I had the Italian panini and it was good.  The dill bread was buttery and crisp with pesto spread on the inside.  The meat was pleasantly spicy.  The sandwich was served with salt and pepper flavored kettle-style potato chips.  

Overall, it’s a great place to study or hang out, especially if you enjoy good coffee.

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