Lansing Shuffle & Social Club opened its doors to customers for the first time today during its grand opening event.
The business’ opening day falls roughly three years after owner Jonathan Hartzell first had the idea to open up a community center focused on the food and entertainment experiences.
Hartzell cited the COVID-19 pandemic as the main reason why the opening process took so long, but he said he's excited to finally see the location filled with customers.
“It’s like giving birth to a baby that now you get to raise,” Hartzell said.
Despite the snowy weather, the new entertainment joint quickly filled up. Customers perused the variety of food, listened to the live band and examined art on the walls painted by artist Gary Horton.
Utility manager and bar employee Conor Bitz said he was excited about the high turnout.
“We’ve just put together a really awesome place for everyone and honestly, like, it’s already coming alive at this moment,” Bitz said.
The space will eventually be filled with seven restaurants. Five were open and serving food at the event, including Browndog Creamery, Yeti Kitchen, Irie Smoke Stack, Kin Thai and Osteria Vegana.
Louisa Ainsworth, who co-owns Yeti Kitchen with her husband, said she's excited to bring Himalayan food to Lansing.
"It’s a food that people maybe aren’t really familiar with, but once they try it, they’re super excited about it,” Ainsworth said.
Osteria Vegana executive chef Gianmarco Roselli said he wants to provide a more diverse palate to the Lansing community.
“I’m excited to attract customers from all over, any place in Michigan and give them quality organic, fresh food while still respecting vegan people, gluten free people and all dietary restrictions,” Roselli said.
Lansing Mayor Andy Schor attended the event, calling Lansing Shuffle "a great asset for the city."
“We’ve been working on this for several years now," Schor said. "Ever since the City Market closed we’ve been trying to activate this space.”
For downtown Lansing folks and those who come from East Lansing or Meridian, Schor said Lansing Shuffle will be a great meeting space.
Willow Richmond, a Lansing resident who used to own a massage therapy booth in the building when it held Lansing City Market, said she was taking in the reopening of a building she was once familiar with.
“It needed to be used. It really needed to be opened up and have some life breathed into it,” Richmond said.
The inside of the building holds a spread of open seating. Rachel Garza, a Lansing resident, said, “it’s almost kind of like going to the mall.”
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Hartzell hopes to get the shuffle boards opened up within the next two to six months and to get leagues and events running. He also said he is in touch with a convention center so he can start hosting more community events.
“It’ll just be a community that has more experiences,” Hartzell said. “I’m excited that we’re open. We closed that chapter and a new chapter is being opened.”
Lansing Shuffle is located at 325 Riverfront Drive in Lansing.
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