Wanderer's Teahouse set to close this week


After nearly two and a half years, Wanderer’s Teahouse and Cafe is closing its doors in East Lansing.

The decision comes after owner Michael Spano accepted a position as an acupuncturist at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, thus ending a partnership with the city of East Lansing noted for crepes, hummus sandwiches and various teas from across the globe.

Spano said Friday will be Wanderer’s last day in business.

“It’s kind of a dream come true,” Spano said. “It would have to be something this good to get me out of here.”

The business, 547 E. Grand River Ave., could continue to operate if acquired by the end of the month, Spano said.

Perry Investment Group currently owns the space.

“The people in East Lansing (and) the people at (Michigan State University) have been nothing but absolutely wonderful,“ Spano said.

After spending the past year traveling, including four months in Europe, it was only fitting that Irene Blanchard would wander in for one last cup of pomegranate lemon ceylon.

Blanchard’s first brew came with a friend who brought her in for her birthday. The “beautiful setup” kept her coming back until 2011 when she decided to drop everything and travel.

She said the teahouse is a cozy and unique location to meet with friends or pick up a good book.

“It has been great to have had people who are knowledgeable about tea because it is just not a staple like the way it is in other countries,“ Blanchard said.

Options such as rooibos and honeybush teas remind her of her childhood growing up with a Canadian, British-oriented mother.

“There are a lot of really nice coffee shops, which I like a lot, but there is nothing like this,“ Blanchard said.

Fisheries and wildlife junior Kari Grebe, an employee at Wanderer’s Teahouse and Cafe, said she always will remember the first place that caught her eye after moving from Ann Arbor.

“I was like, ‘I feel like I need to work there,’ so I applied and I got the job,” Grebe said. “It was my first choice in East Lansing.”

Grebe spent her shifts preparing local, organic, vegan and vegetarian selections for customers who strolled in from all walks of life.

“I have really felt a strong sense of community,“ Grebe said of her time working at the teahouse.

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