Coscarelli’s Restaurant & Lounge

21 01 2009
  • 2400 S. Cedar St.
  • Lansing, MI 48813
  • (517) 482-0238
  • No Known Website
  • Menu
Coscarellis Restaurant & Lounge on South Cedar Street in Lansing.

Coscarelli's Restaurant & Lounge on South Cedar Street in Lansing.

Have you ever noticed that big grey building on South Cedar Street with the word “Coscarelli’s” painted across the front?   I’ve noticed it, but never knew it was open.  There are no windows or signs that show any sort of life at the place.  The parking lot is around back and not really visible from the street.  We’ve lived here for almost ten months and had no idea the place wasn’t abandoned.  Last week, we were driving by and I happened to notice some cars in the parking lot behind the building.  Later in the week, I was driving down Cedar again and decided to turn in to the parking lot and scope the place out.  What I found was a lot of cars hidden by the big grey building.  Not only Coscarelli’s open, they seem to be packed.

I had a late afternoon job interview and wasn’t sure how long it would take or how I would feel afterwards, so I told J I would pick her up on her dinner break and take her out to eat.  Our original plan was to check out the new Brothers Restaurant in East Lansing until I remembered there was a home basketball game.  J just said she wanted a salad and didn’t want to go to a chain.  On my way home from the interview, I drove by Coscarelli’s again.  When I got home, I did a Google search for a menu and actually found one.  J approved so I picked her up at a little after seven and headed to that building we used to think was abandoned.

Coscarelli’s sits on South Cedar between Rockford and Lincoln.  On the front of the building, there are signs painted on both the north and south sides.  The south sides points you to the sports bar.  The north side points you to the lounge.  We were looking for dinner so we entered the parking lot off of Rockford Road.  The parking lot was packed.  We drove around twice looking for a place to park then just kind of made our own spot next to a snow bank. 

There are two doors on the backside of the building.  We entered the door on the north end of the building.  Once inside, we had second thoughts on whether we were in the right place.  There was a room with a bar along one wall, booths along the other and pub tables in the middle.  Since we weren’t 100% sure that was the lounge, we went out and walked to the south door.  We could see through the glass that was obviously the sports bar, so it was back down the long sidewalk to the north door.  Again, we went through the double doors and found ourselves in the dining room.  The only sign we saw said “smoking section” so we assumed that meant seat yourself.  We took a seat at one of the booths along the wall.  They weren’t your typical booths.  They were U-shaped and only sat three people.  Not a big deal to us, we just sat opposite each other and used the third seat for coats and bags. 

The north entrance to Coscarellis Restaurant & Lounge in Lansing.

The north entrance to Coscarelli's Restaurant & Lounge in Lansing.

The waitress noticed us after a few minutes and came over with menus.  She took drink orders while we were looked over the menu.  When she came back with Cokes, we still weren’t 100% sure, so she gave us a few more minutes.  When it was time to order, the waitress almost threw me a curve ball by telling me there was a special on a full rack of pork ribs for only $10. 

I let J order while I debated the ribs in my head.   Like I said earlier, she was in the mood for a salad.  They didn’t have a lot of choices other than the typical chef salad or Caesar salad, but there was one other salad on the menu.  It was called the Orange Blossom Salad which she thought sounded good.  The salad came with a bed of romaine topped with mandarin orange slices, sliced almonds, and Bermuda onions.  The orange poppy seed dressing was served on the side and it came with two slices of orange blossom bread.  She loved the salad.  She said it wasn’t like anything she had ever had before.  The most interesting thing was the orange blossom bread.  She described as a piece of pound cake soaked in orange juice.  She said it was delicious and wished there was more.  She was in the mood for a salad and she got something unique that didn’t disappoint on flavor.  The soup of the day was a cream of chicken soup, so she got a cup of soup to start off the meal.  At first, she was questioning whether there was any chicken, but eventually found some along the bottom.

As much as I wanted, I ended up passing on the ribs.  I love ribs, but have a hard time eating them in public.  I ended up getting the Bacon Bleu Cheese burger.  Their menu claimed the “Best Burgers Around,” so I had to take that challenge.  The burger is a 1/2 lb of meat topped with two slices of bacon and bleu cheese served on a toasted sesame seed bun.  The waitress didn’t ask me how I wanted it cooked, but it came out a perfect medium.  The inside was a little bit pink and it was still juicy and full of flavor.  They didn’t skimp on the bleu cheese either.  After I broke up the burger, the juicy combined the bleu cheese to make a little sauce.  It started to soak through the toasted bun leaving me with soggy bun, but a bun that had a lot of flavor.  I don’t know what the definition of “around” is, but they did have a really good burger.  If the bun had been something other than a store bought, this would have been a great burger.  The meat was really good.  My sandwich came with chips, but I upgraded to fries.  When the waitress put the plate down, she said the cook was working on making more which confused me because I thought there were plenty there.  As I was finishing up, she came out with a huge basket filled with more.  Can’t argue with that.  I didn’t really need them, but that didn’t stop me from putting them away.  J helped out a little and thought they tasted like McDonald’s.  They were the same fast food style thinly cut fries.

All I can say about Coscarelli’s is what a surprise.  I would say if they would advertise a little or at least make it look like they’re open from Cedar Street they would do ok, but I don’t need to say that.  The packed parking lot proves on its own that they do alright and the people that know about Coscarelli’s pack the place.  Our bill before tip was just under $23.  The meal took a little longer than expected, but it wasn’t too bad.  We were there about an hour, but the last fifteen minutes were because their Internet went down while trying to run my credit card.  They got it fixed and the waitress apologized for the delay, so no harm, no foul.

Coscarelli’s was better than we expected.  Both J and I liked our meals and would order them again.  There were a lot of other sandwiches on the menu that I thought sounded good.  I was tempted by both the ribs and the wings, so maybe we’ll go back since we know the building isn’t empty.

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