Harper’s Restaurant & Brewpub

19 06 2008
  • 131 Albert Ave.Harper's Restaurant and Brewpub
  • East Lansing, MI 48823
  • (517) 333-4040
  • No Known Website
  • Menu

I noticed Harper’s one night while driving around East Lansing pretty late looking for a pizza-by-the-slice place.  We didn’t stop because we weren’t looking for a bar and especially not a college bar, but I put that info in the back of my head for future use.  Today, my girlfriend and I were making a run to the Grand Traverse Pie Company to get pie’s for the weekend, but weren’t in the mood to eat there.  After driving around with my head cut off, my girlfriend mentioned that brew pub I was telling her about, so we headed down Grand River to downtown East Lansing.

The building for Harper’s is massive.  When we drove by, we weren’t sure if it was even open.  It looked dark, so we drove around the block again.  The parking is across the street in the public pay lot, so we went through the gate and found a place to park.  It was just starting to rain as we got out of the car, so we hustled across the street hoping they were open.  I got to the top of the steps and pulled on the big wood double doors and they opened up right into the bar. 

The inside of Harper’s is just as massive as the outside looks.  A hostess showed us to a table near the front of the restuarant near the giant distillers.  The tables were unique with crushed tile tops and the chairs were high back wrought iron designs as well.  The light fixtures in the area we were sitting deserved a second look too.  There was only one other group in the pub when we got there and they looked like MSU professor’s having a meeting.  You’d think since we were practically the only ones there that service wouldn’t be a problem but you’d be wrong.

The waitress came and took our drink orders then came back for the food order.  There were a few sandwiches that sounded good on the menu, but I went with the double cheeseburger.  I got something I was really not expecting.  The sandwich is two ground beef patties with cheese.  No surprise there.  The surprise was that there was another bun bottom between the two beef patties (think Big Mac).  The sandwich just like that was delicious.  The bun was slightly buttered and toasted.  All three pieces of bread were like that and the burger was juicy and delicious.  My complaint was that there was mayo on the top piece of the bun.  That wasn’t on the menu and I don’t like mayo.  I did my best to scrape it off, but it was already on the cheese, so there was still a little bit of a mayo taste.  If it’s not on the menu, don’t put it on the sandwich.  I have no idea why they would do this, but they did.  The sandwich came with fries.  Out of the bag fries, but they were crispy and there was a lot of them.  The meal was enough to fill me up and, minus the mayo, satisfying.

My girlfriend wanted a healthier lunch since I baked cookies last night and we were going for pie afterwards, so she got the Michigan salad.  She got a plate of mixed greens with candied walnuts, poached cherries, and smoked gouda with a housemade blueberry vinegrette.  She really liked the walnuts and gouda.  She said the blueberry vinegrette was something she’s never had an a nice addition to the salad.  She ate about half of before getting full and pushing the plate aside.

And, that plate sat there for quite a while.  Again, I remind you that we’re one of three (another table sat down halfway through our meal) parties in the restaurant and it took a long time for the waitress to come back with our check and to clear plates.  During the meal, I sat there a couple times with an empty drink.  They served the pop in such small glasses anyway that the waitress would have needed to come back every two or three minutes to keep my glass full.  Our bill was pretty high.  With tip, it was just over $28 which seems like a lot of lunch.  We both left full, so at least there’s that.  The reviews I’ve read about Harper’s have been mixed with most of them complaining about the service.  Our service wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t good either. 

I don’t think we’ll be back to Harper’s for lunch.  It looks like a great night spot with a lot of space, a nice big bar, and of course, the micro-brews made in house.  The food was good, but overpriced for lunch.  A great night spot for the MSU kids and a great spot for those that like the micro’s, but not for me.

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4 responses

20 06 2008
genie28

I happen to know of a PIzza-by-the slice place in downtown EL; and its because of Harper’s that I know of it.

Bell’s Pizza at 225 M.A.C. Avenue; you can enter off MAC or through the flat lot behind the building. I’m not sure if they advertise the slices but that is how its served late at night.

We found this place one night after some drunk fool assaulted my boyfriend in Harper’s. Management was useless and we ended up at Bell’s looking for a bag of ice for his face.

You can also try Georgios Pizza at 120 Charles St which is the ground floor of the Habitrail Parking Ramp. They have more varieties but its not quite as good as Bell’s, IMO.

20 06 2008
Mid-Michigan Dining

We saw Bell’s on the way from Harper’s to Grand Traverse. That’s the one I was looking for that night, but couldn’t remember where it was, so we went to Theio’s.

7 07 2008
Bethany

I’ve seen your reviews many times when searching for new places to eat in Lansing…my boyfriend and I just moved to South Lansing after going to school at MSU.

Anyway, I had two comments after reading this post…one, Harper’s has sadly been known for it’s bad service for a very long time. I was there a couple Tuesdays for a networking event, and I was told a new manager took over that is trying to fix it, so hopefully it gets better.

As for EL pizza, most of my friends are very opinionated on Bell’s vs. Georgio’s, so make sure to try both! Bell’s is a great for a greasy slice, and their grinders are quite good too. Georgia’s has some unique slices…you must try the potato pizza!

7 07 2008
Mid-Michigan Dining

Thanks for the suggestions. I’ve drove by both places with intentions of stopping. The night I was looking for pizza with my dad, Bell’s was the place I was thinking of..I just couldn’t remember where it was at.

I really wanted to like Harper’s. It’ such a nice looking place and I usually like brewpubs. Hopefully new management will make things better.

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