Saturday, February 24, 2024

Three of East Lansing's best late-night dining options to satisfy your after-hours cravings

July 22, 2022
Illustration by Madison Echlin.
Illustration by Madison Echlin. —
Photo by Madison Echlin | The State News

You’re on your way back to your dorm or apartment after a night out, sweating under the hot night or perhaps pulling your jacket tighter around you against the cold air. Or maybe you’re already home, streaming a show, playing video games, cramming last-minute for an important exam or assignment. 

Wherever you are, whoever you are, it won’t matter. At some point in your upcoming collegiate year in East Lansing, it will be past midnight, you will be awake, and you will be hungry. 

When your cravings hit and the dining halls are closed and your confidence in your cooking ability is low, these late-night East Lansing spots will be here to satisfy you. 

Conrad’s Grill

Hours: 11 a.m.-2:30 a.m. Thursday through Saturday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday

Pickup, Delivery (on busy nights, delivery only)

Must-try: Number One, Honey Mustard & BBQ, The Dweeb

A deliciously crammed wrap from Conrad’s Grill is one excellent way to assuage a late-night craving. Located at 1219 E Grand River Ave., Conrad’s is famous for wraps stuffed with chicken tenders, mac and cheese bites, tater tots, and other fried foods. 

“We’ve definitely always prided ourselves on our late night service,” owner and founder Joe Conrad said. 

He said the three most popular menu items are the Number One (grilled chicken, mozzarella, cheddar, tots, ranch and sour cream), the Honey Mustard & BBQ (tenders, mozzarella, cheddar, tots, plus sauce) and The Dweeb (tenders, cheddar, tots, mac bites, bacon and extra ranch). 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and later due to staffing issues, Conrad’s Grill does not open the lobby on Fridays and Saturdays in order to focus on getting delivery orders out more efficiently.

“We can pump more food out when we’re only doing deliveries, so we’ve just been doing deliveries on the really busy late nights,” Conrad said. 

Conrad also plans on starting up a second restaurant in Frandor when he is able to fully staff it. 

Conrad said the restaurant is busiest from around 11 p.m. to around 1:30 a.m. and on days when East Lansing is naturally buzzing—like Saint Patrick's Day or the annual MSU versus UMich football game.  

“The first couple weekends of the school year are always pretty crazy,” he said. 

Conrad’s fast delivery and satisfyingly straightforward menu lives up to its tagline: “Tots. In a wrap. Don’t overthink it.” 

Pizza House

Hours: 10:30 a.m.-4 a.m. all week

Pickup, Delivery, Dine-in

Must-try: Late Night Specials (Delivery Only)

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Pizza House is another solid choice for a late-night meal. Located in Hannah Plaza at 4790 N. Hagadorn, Pizza House boasts a dining room with over 400 seats as well as a carry-out and delivery service. 

“Late night specials … shakes, desserts, and breakfast would also be probably the most popular things we do late night,” General Manager Jeremy Bates said. “Every game day is obviously super busy for us for late night … Friday, Saturday during school, we are all really busy.” 

Bates said delivery is generally the most popular option on late nights. 

Pizza House also features the latest hours out of the restaurants listed here; it’s open for dining, delivery or pick up from 10:30 a.m. to 4 a.m., every day of the week. Pizza House reigns supreme in the hours game. If you find a craving materializing after Pizza House closes, you’re better off just going to bed.

Cottage Inn Pizza

Hours: 10 a.m.-3 a.m. all week

Pickup, Delivery, Dine-In

Must-try: Stagger Home Pizza Deal, Garlic Cheese Bread, Cottage Inn Pizza Ranch

Students looking to grab some cheap and tasty food before heading home after a night out will likely find themselves at Cottage Inn Pizza at 615 E Grand River Ave. for its famous “Stagger Home” midnight pizza deal. 

For $6.95, students can enjoy a pizza in a bustling, true college-town atmosphere before navigating their way back home. While Cottage Inn Pizza also offers delivery and carry-out, its dining room is the spot for after-hours dining in downtown East Lansing. Owner George Hoover said couples meet and friends reunite within the walls of his pizzeria. 

“It's an opportunity to come in and get a quick pizza without having to wait 20, 30, 40, 50 minutes … a great atmosphere where you can sit down with your friends,” Hoover said. 

The energy of Cottage Inn Pizza’s dining room on a late weekend night is indeed one of its greatest qualities. Hoover said the restaurant mirrors the atmosphere of the city on busy nights.

“You know exactly when it goes down,” Hoover said. “It goes down Welcome Week, it goes down on home football games, it goes down on huge television football games away, it goes down on Halloween, it goes down on exam week. It goes down quite a bit … If the city is poppin’ and the energy is high, East Lansing Cottage Inn Pizza is poppin’ and the energy is high.”  

He said the most popular items besides the Stagger Home deal are the garlic cheese bread and the Cottage Inn Pizza Ranch, which comes with an interesting nickname.

“We had a customer … she said ‘George, can I have one of those daddy ranches?’ and ever since then, I call them Daddy Ranch,” he said. “We sell a lot of Daddy Ranch around our store. Girls will walk for miles in high heels in the winter for our ranch … and guys, I should say … our ranch is extremely popular. But the garlic cheese breads, all day every day, all night every night, up and down every street we’re dropping off garlic cheese breads.” 

Feeling hungry yet? These late-night dining spots are ready to satisfy any hunger craving.


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