Hibachi Bowl settles in on Grand River
Not only do MSU dining halls have to keep pace with rapidly changing menus, so do restaurants. Storefronts along Grand River Avenue have assumed many identities trying to stay ahead of the curve. There is no telling who will stand the test of time and who will be refitted for the next culinary trend.
This past year, GoombaS Pizza, Velvet A Candy Store, Cosi and Sweet Lorraine's Fabulous Mac n' Cheez have all fallen victim to closure. Hibachi Bowl has recently taken Sweet Lorraine's Fabulous Mac n' Cheez's place.
Hibachi Bowl, which opened on Grand River Avenue in January 2018, offers a similar fast-casual dining style similar to popular restaurants like Chipotle, Blaze Pizza and Noodles & Co.
Hibachi Bowl offers a sit-down style of dining with food delivered to patrons. Its menu includes items such as noodles, white and brown rice, chicken, shrimp, beef, tofu and a variety of vegetables that can be served either cold or grilled.
Authenticity is not lacking from the menu. Complimentary Miso soup is included with every entree and the restaurant also offers a select variety of sauces.
Choices and customization are the crux of Hibachi Bowl's recipe. Along with offering a quick form of dining for students on the go, there are options on their menu that accommodate vegetarians and vegans, such as options like purple rice and organic tofu.
While on the outside, this style of dining may seem like an opportunistic market, there is evidence that the reign of fast-casual might be halting as traditional fast food companies adapt, according to a report by Bloomberg.
Fast-casual dining is popular, but according to an article published by The Balance, a financial advising site, making sure there is a sizable market for food is a hurdle that is often overlooked.
This, however, has not deterred Hibachi Bowl from opening up shop.
Hibachi Bowl Manager Jerry Lin said he wanted to open up shop in East Lansing to provide customers with "a different style" of food.
MSU business junior Jonah Newman said he believes the restaurant will do well because of it appeals to multiple types of people. He described it as an "Asian version of Chipotle."
MSU communication sophomore Natalie Cooper expressed similar views when she dined at the restaurant with her sorority sisters. When asked if the fast-casual format contributes to the restaurant's potential, she replied she thinks it does.
"I think it will be because of the atmosphere," Cooper said.
As more options for dining open up in East Lansing, making a decision on where to eat can become difficult. As Cooper said, sometimes it's not always the food that brings a restaurant major success, but it's the atmosphere.