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East Lansing-area food joints: Current and former students share their recommendations

September 15, 2022
<p>Meat BBQ&#x27;s 2019 addition to its original restaurant, which resides in Lansing, Sept. 8, 2022.</p>

Meat BBQ's 2019 addition to its original restaurant, which resides in Lansing, Sept. 8, 2022.

Photo by Olivia Hans | The State News

Upperclassmen at Michigan State University have learned to become experts on the best restaurants in East Lansing and the broader Lansing area.

Supply chain management senior Brady Fleszar recommends underclassmen explore local East Lansing dining options such as the Peanut Barrel or HopCat.

"There are a lot of very local, good restaurants ... There's also a lot of nightlife type of places and Georgio's Pizza type of deal where it's kind of a grab 'n' go scene," Fleszar said. "You kind of have to choose wisely."

One of Fleszar's favorite food joints in the broader Lansing area is The Creole Burger Bar and Southern Kitchen – his personal favorite dish at the New Orleans-inspired bar being the Pimento Mac 'n' Cheese.

For a more local option for students on a budget, Fleszar said students should stick to the Peanut Barrel.

"It's not too expensive and it's been in East Lansing for almost 40 or 50 years," Fleszar said. "So, I think that that's a really good spot just for like a quick burger, sandwich type of thing."

Psychology junior Maggie Neumaier recommends Maru Sushi and Grill for sushi fans and those looking for something lighter. Neumaier said her favorite roll is a salmon roll.

If you're on a budget, Neumair suggests students go to Barrio or Campbell's Market because both are local and don't require much traveling for on-campus students.

"It's not exactly dine-in," she said. "You can do it quick and on-the-go. You know, you're busy."

For non-sushi options outside of East Lansing's borders, Neumair recommends People's Kitchen. 

"People's Kitchen is very sustainable and more people probably like their food options because not everyone likes sushi," she said.

Some former students have opened their own food joints too. In fact, a vast amount of Lansing-based spots are run by MSU alumni.

Olympic Broil, for instance, is run by owner and former MSU student Mike Alexander, who's been at the restaurant since 1974. Alexander attended MSU for one to years before joining his father at the restaurant.

"We got the four big things: Keep it clean, keep it quality, keep fast service and keep it a good value," Alexander said.

The Broil's menu is diverse, Alexander said, so there is something for everyone. Chicken or veggie wraps, burgers and more can be found here.

Tate Skiba, general manager at Meat Southern BBQ & Carnivore Cuisine, is another MSU alumnus.

Students will typically fly over to Meat BBQ on the weekend, especially on game-day weekends, Skiba said.

Moreover, if an MSU student came to him and asked what to get off the Meat BBQ menu, Skiba said he'd recommend their nachos and smoked chicken wings.

From Grand River Avenue to Lake Lansing Road, MSU students of all years can enjoy the large variety of food joints East Lansing and the broader Lansing area have to offer.

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