Eat! Lansing

September 2, 2008

Memo’s – The Döner Company

Filed under: Best of, Campus, East Lansing, Mediterranean, Turkish — erithmetic @ 8:25 pm

Memo’s – The Döner Company
Grand River Avenue, next to Barnes & Noble

Update: Memo’s is now closed!  Such a shame!

The Döner is legendary in central Europe.  It has become the new fast food hit in Germany, rivaling the mighty wurst (sausage).  After World War II, Germany’s population, especially its male contingent, was greatly reduced.  The West German government started a Gastarbeiter (guest worker) program in the 60’s and 70’s to help reduce the labor shortage resulting from a booming post-war economy (Wirtschaftswunder).  As a result, many Turkish immigrants came looking for work and a sizable Turkish population remains in Germany’s urban centers.  The döner kabob originated in Turkey (similar to plain shawarma), but was adapted to German tastes by putting the kabob meat and salad on fluffy pita bread.

I was extremely excited when I saw the newly placed sign over Memo’s storefront this summer, but it seemed like I waited forever for this place to open.  I looked forward to something a bit unique to appear in Lansing. To be honest, my only döner experience was a chicken döner in a backwater train station in Austria.  It wasn’t anything exciting, but I still wanted to experience the legendary döner.  Now, I could experience the legend right here in East Lansing!

Memo’s is definitely a unique restaurant.  The walls are brightly colored in red, green and yellow.  Small, simple furniture provide plenty of seating.  Food is ordered at a main counter and döners are prepared sub shop-style.

The döner itself is served on a fluffy pita or dürüm (like a flour tortilla).  Beef or chicken can be piled along with yogurt sauce, cucumber, tomato, onions, lettuce, cabbage, and chilies.  The beef I had in my dürüm had a depth of flavor that was far more interesting than the gyro meat you get at typical Mediterranean joints.

In addition to the kebabs are Turkish style pizzas and desserts like baklava.  The baklava I had seemed drenched in a lot more honey than what I’ve had before.  A word of warning to non-Turkish taste-buds: the yogurt drink is not a carbonated, milky-tasting drink (as I was used to), but is very salty.

Overall, Memo’s is unique enough and has good quality ingredients that will keep me coming back.  The owner plans to start a chain, so it’ll be interesting to see if this takes off.

September 4, 2007

Woody’s Oasis

Filed under: Arab, Campus, East Lansing, Lebanese, Mediterranean, Okemos — erithmetic @ 9:51 pm

Woody’s Oasis Mediterranean Deli
970 Trowbridge Rd, East Lansing, MI 48823
Phone: 517-351-2280

Mon – Fri: 10am – 10pm, Sat: 10am – 9pm, Sun: 11am – 8pm

I’ve only eaten at the Grand River Ave location and have had carryout from the Okemos location. From what I’ve tasted, it is the second best Mediterranean food I’ve had in Lansing. The hummus is very good as is the lentil soup. The pita sandwiches are innovative – including cauliflower, eggplant, and even smeed. Some of the dishes are a bit odd, such as the lentils (which consists of a gigantic pile of lentils on a bed of rice) or the kibbee (a sort of ground beef pie).

Woody’s tends toward the “home cooked” style of food and offers an very casual “bar” atmosphere. While the service has been consistently slow for me, it’s a worthwhile establishment. It’s definitely not authentic (definitely has an American flare) and you won’t see many Arabs eating here, but it has enough inventiveness to make it stand out.

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