New bistro could bring culture to E.L.

East Lansing is a city that has a lot to offer its residents and the MSU community. This town has many different restaurants, places to hang out and things to do and is starting to build its art and cultural presence.

But although East Lansing has much to offer, there is one thing missing from its repertoire: a fine-dining establishment.

This means, if you’re looking for a romantic spot for a first date or a place for business professionals to meet, you have to travel down Michigan Avenue to some of Lansing’s finer establishments or north to the restaurants offered at the Eastwood Towne Center, such as P.F. Chang’s China Bistro or Mitchell’s Fish Market.

Editorial Board

Andrew Krietz
Katie Harrington
Alex McClung
Samantha Radecki
Omari Sankofa II
Greg Olsen

However, a new restaurant might be opening its doors in East Lansing to combat this problem, although it’s facing minor difficulties with the East Lansing City Council.

The restaurant, called the Black Cat Bistro, would be located at 115 Albert Ave., next to Menna’s Joint. The owners want to bring a fine-dining element to downtown East Lansing and are applying for a Class C liquor license, which would allow them to serve alcohol. The proposed bistro would be able to hold 110 people on the inside of the restaurant and 48 people on an outdoor patio.

Yet, the city council has expressed concern over whether or not the restaurant could classify as “fine dining,” and this could be instrumental in whether or not the council allows the project to move forward. Some are concerned the owners hope to open up a bar, but are casting the establishment as “fine dining” in order to gain approval from the city and community.

It is promising to see that the council is grilling these owners about their plans for the restaurant because the council has faced troubles in the past with business owners and developers making decisions without city approval.

But if the establishment turns out to be a fine dining restaurant, it will serve the East Lansing community well.

When family members of students visit, they often have trouble deciding where to go for dinner, as most restaurants in East Lansing are tailored to college students: cheap and quick. Others who wish to take their significant other on a romantic date have trouble finding a place with an appropriate atmosphere.

If the Black Cat Bistro is able to open its doors, people would be able to stay in town to go to a fine-dining establishment in downtown East Lansing, rather than having to travel elsewhere.

Opening these types of restaurants also will help make East Lansing seem like more of a cultured city rather than a college town, which would fit in with the new “City of the Arts” mantra East Lansing recently has developed. The opening of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum will help attract thousands of young professionals and art connoisseurs to the streets of downtown East Lansing, and having fine-dining establishments will keep more people here, investing in our city rather than other places.

East Lansing is set with its number of restaurants that cater to college kids. Now it’s time to open an establishment that will cater more to professionals, adults and students who wish to spend a little bit more money on a meal every once in a while.

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