This article was originally printed in the Lansing State Journal
Before the pandemic, Cara Nader considered herself a planner when it came to her business.
That’s changed over the last two years.
Business owners are planning to invest in expanding Greater Lansing’s food scene this year, opening everything from new chain restaurant locations to small business startups.
“I can’t really plan for a ton at the moment,” said Nader, who opened Strange Matter Coffee just over seven years ago.
And while Nader admits she wouldn’t recommend someone start an entirely new business right now, 2022 is the right time to broaden her artisan coffee and bakery’s footprint in Greater Lansing.
“I think, for Strange Matter, these moves are really good and well-timed,” Nader said of a downtown expansion and new location coming later this year. “They both kind of were in a place where I couldn’t say no to them.”
Business owners are planning to invest in expanding Greater Lansing’s food scene this year, opening everything from new chain restaurant locations to small business startups. Here’s a look at more than a dozen eateries expected to open in 2022, and what we know about each one.
Buddy’s Pizza in Okemos
Detroit-based Buddy’s Pizza will open its second location in Greater Lansing in early 2022.
No date has been set yet for the opening, said Joelle Kruczek, a spokesperson for the company, but the location will likely open before summer.
The future home of Buddy’s Pizza in Meridian Township, seen Monday, Jan. 3, 2022.
The new 7,000-square-foot restaurant is planned for 2010 W. Grand River Road. A vacant Burger King on the property was demolished last summer to make way for the construction of the building.
The location will offer a full bar and patio seating, accommodating 275 people and is expected to employ upwards of 100 on staff.
Buddy’s Pizza opened a location in Delta Township in 2020.
Chateau Coffee Co.
Château Coffee Co. is expected to open later this month in a 1,800-square-foot space previously home to a Biggby Coffee shop, on South Waverly Road in Lansing.
The future home of Château Coffee Co. in the 1700 block of South Waverly Road.
The area needs a coffee shop, said owner Tarek Chawich, a graduate student at Michigan State University who has Lansing roots.
His specialty coffee shop will serve drinks made with 517 Coffee Co. beans, he said, along with bakery items.
“We wanted to stay local and support small business,” Chawich said. “We’re doing specialty coffee and then we’ll also add French and Italian and Mediterranean style coffee.”
Detroit Wing Company
Gus Malliaras has been looking to open a Detroit Wing Co. location in Greater Lansing for the better part of a year.
The future home of Detroit Wing Company in the 6000 block of South Cedar Street in Lansing, seen Monday, Jan. 3, 2022.
His restaurant company is based in Eastpointe, with a dozen locations already. Malliaras wants to bring more than one to the Lansing area but will start by opening the first on South Cedar Street in a 1,300-square-foot space.
The carry-out eatery specializes in 20 different types of chicken wings with house sauces.
“We’re a wing restaurant,” Malliaras said. “That’s our specialty.”
The Lansing location is expected to open in the first half of the year, he said.
Etta’s Coffee House
Etta’s Coffee House is expected to occupy a 700-square-foot former vacuum shop near Lansing Brewing Co. The building, at 316 N. Cedar St., has been empty for more than a decade.
Etta’s Coffee House, photographed on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, in Lansing.
The exterior is painted black and sports the Etta’s Coffee House logo in white.
Coen McGarity, the business owner, said late last fall that the eatery will serve specialty and brewed coffee drinks and raw juices, along with pastries and avocado toast.
It’s unclear when Etta’s will open. McGarity, who last year said the shop would likely open in 2021, could not be reached this week.
Everything is Cheesecake
Fans of DeAnna Ray-Brown’s dessert food truck, Everything is Cheesecake, should rejoice.
When she opens her first storefront at 5214 S. Cedar St. in Lansing this year they won’t have to stand in line outside to wait for a slice of her cheesecake.
Strawberry Shortcake Crunch, is a popular cheesecake at Everything is Cheesecake. It’s topped with strawberry cake that has a crunch topping along the sides.
They can visit the 1,300-square-foot storefront instead, where Ray-Brown plans to bake and sell her cheesecakes, along with fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies.
“I plan on having this store be like a journey of where I’ve come from to where I’m going and I want other people to experience that too,” she said.
Ray-Brown hopes to open the doors later this month.
Books, coffee and wine will mingle at Hooked when it opens in a 3,000-square-foot ground-floor space in the Red Cedar Development off East Michigan Avenue.
Hooked, a bookstore/coffee shop and wine bar, is expected to open off East Michigan Avenue in the spring.
Sarah Reckhow and Matt Grossmann, both professors at Michigan State University, describe the bookstore/coffee shop/wine bar as a place where the community can gather.
In the morning and during the day, the coffee bar inside will serve brewed and specialty coffee drinks made with blends from Chicago-based roaster Intelligentsia, along with bread and baked goods from Stone Circle Bakehouse. The business will also serve charcuterie boards and a variety of wines in the evening.
The couple aims to open Hooked in April.
Nothing Bundt Cakes
With more than 400 franchise locations and more than two decades of name recognition, it was about time that someone brought Nothing Bundt Cakes to Greater Lansing, said Jerry Yurgo.
The future home of Nothing Bundt Cakes in Meridian Township, seen Monday, Jan. 3, 2022.
Yurgo, a battalion fire chief, and his wife Kelly opened a location in Rochester Hills where they live three years ago.
They plan to open their second Nothing Bundt Cakes at 2090 W. Grand River Road in East Lansing this spring.
The store will offer bundt cakes that come in a variety of sizes, and 11 different flavors including “chocolate chocolate chip,” the most popular.
Every Nothing Bundt Cakes location is a full bakery, Yurgo said, where the staff makes the cakes in-house. The East Lansing location will employ 25 to 30 people.
“We don’t ship in frozen cakes or frozen frosting,” he said. “We make our cake from scratch using real ingredients. We make our frosting from scratch using real ingredients
Olive Garden, Delta Township
Olive Garden is one of two restaurants being constructed at Delta Crossings, a $200 million project on 200 acres off West Saginaw Highway in Delta Township.
The restaurant could open in late summer or early fall, said Kris Krstovski of K2 Retail Construction & Development, one of the companies developing the property.
Pablo’s Old Town, a 1,000-square-foot Mexican eatery on East César E. Chávez Avenue, will broaden its reach in Lansing, with a second location on East Michigan Avenue.
The future home of Pablo’s Mexican Restaurant in the 2000 block of East Michigan Avenue in Lansing.
The 3,000-square-foot leased space is three times the size of Pablo’s original eatery in Old Town. It will offer seating for up to 120 people, according to Pablo Maldonado, the owner.
The restaurant is expected to maintain the same atmosphere, decor and menu customers are familiar with, along with a few new menu items including chipotle ribeye steak, pork chops and red snapper.
It’s unclear when the location will open.
Risen Breakfast & Bakery
Dan Kostecke, Jr. and his wife, Rachel plan to bring a breakfast/brunch spot and bakery to downtown Mason.
Risen Breakfast & Bakery will occupy 1,900 square feet of space on the first floor at 402 S. Jefferson St. next door to Kean’s Store Co. The eatery will serve breakfast and brunch in a dining area that will seat upwards of 60 people. They also will offer baked goods made on site.
The future home of Risen Breakfast & Bakery in downtown Mason, seen Monday, Jan. 3, 2022.
Staff will cook with locally sourced fruits, veggies and meat, according to Dan Kostecke, Jr.
“We’re not going to have farm-to-table just be a cliché,” he said last year. “We literally will be taking it from our farm and our friends’ farms and bringing it in there. It’s about as farm-to-table as you can get.”
Construction at the space began in December, according to an emailed update last month.
Starbucks Community Store, Lansing
The Lansing area’s first Starbucks Community Store will move into a 2,800 square space in the former Clara’s Lansing Station, a historic train station on East Michigan Avenue.
A view of some of the stained glass windows inside the former Clara’s building photographed on Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021, on East Michigan Avenue in Lansing. The property is being renovated by the Gillespie Group.
Starbucks will be the building’s first tenant in five years. It will use the western half of the building, said Pat Gillespie, president of The Gillespie Group, which owns the property.
The store, with a drive-thru ordering lane located off Pere Marquette Drive and an outdoor patio with seating for upwards of 30 people, is expected to open in the fall.
Strange Matter Coffee expansion
Seven years after Strange Matter Coffee became part of Lansing’s coffee scene the artisan coffee shop and bakery will expand its footprint.
Strange Matter Coffee in downtown Lansing, pictured Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021.
Its downtown Lansing location at 337 S. Washington Square, closed since mid-2020, will be expanded to include the two neighboring storefronts next to it, previously home to Subway and Fudge & Frosting.
With more than four times the space, the downtown Strange Matter Coffee will serve as the company’s bakery for all of its locations. The downtown site will offer seating for 30 to 40 people and its menu will include “simple but delicious” food additions, Nader said.
A third Strange Matter location will be part of the transformation of Old Town’s Temple Building. The 900-square-foot location will be on the building’s lower level.
“The location will have a little bit of a different vibe than our Michigan Avenue store and the downtown store,” Nader said. She aims to make it comfortable and relaxing and hopes to secure a license to serve alcohol there too.
Nader is hopeful both will open sometime in late summer.
Texas Roadhouse, Delta Township
Construction of a new Texas Roadhouse location is already underway off West Saginaw Highway in Delta Township at Delta Crossings.
A construction crew works on a building at the Delta Crossings development off West Saginaw Highway on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021, in Delta Township.
It will offer a drive-up window for to-go orders, according to Kris Krstovski of K2 Retail Construction & Development, and is expected to open in March.