The Peanut Barrel

19 08 2008
  • 521 E. Grand River Ave.
  • East Lansing, MI 48823
  • (517) 351-0608
  • Website
  • Menu
The Peanut Barrel on Grand River Ave. in East Lansing across the street from Michigan State University

The Peanut Barrel on Grand River Ave. in East Lansing across the street from Michigan State University

The Peanut Barrel is one of the restaurants that have been our list since we moved here.  One of our first weekends in Lansing, we went to check out East Lansing and MSU.  We walked by the Peanut Barrel and the patio area was full with a long wait, so we didn’t stop.  Every other time we’ve been down that way, the situation was the same, so we’ve always passed.  Those times were always weekends which makes sense.  Lots of students with families in town.  We finally made it to East Lansing on a Tuesday morning right before lunch and thought it would be the perfect time to try to get a seat outside. 

My girlfriend needed to go to the Secretary of State’s Office.  I asked her which one and she just said one near a restaurant we haven’t been to.  The Mason branch is the closest, but there’s not a lot of restaurants around there.  I thought I remembered seeing a branch in East Lansing and there are still a ton of restaurants in that area that we haven’t been to, so that’s where I went.  Like all trips to the SOS office, it never goes smoothly.  We had to drive all the way back home to get something and go back.  Same thing happened to me last time I went.  Why do they have to make it so damn hard?

Anyway, I put what I thought was enough change in the meter for lunch (it wasn’t…we missed by 4 freakin’ minutes and got a parking ticket) and walked down to The Peanut Barrel which is located on Grand River in downtown East Lansing right across from Michigan State University.  There weren’t a whole lot of people there yet.  There is actually a hostess station outside so you don’t have to go inside to sit outside.  That makes so much sense.  The sign said if you want to sit outside, wait for a hostess.  If you want to sit inside, go inside and seat yourself.  It was a pleasant day out, so we chose to sit outside.  We waited a few minutes then the waitress came over and handed us menus and told us to take the square table in the corner.  We took a seat and started looking over the small, pub style menu.  The waitress came over for drink orders.  I ordered a Pepsi and J got a Diet.  The waitress stood there staring at me for a few seconds.  I wasn’t really sure what she wanted.  She finally asked what I wanted to drink.  I must not have said it loud enough or something. 

Anyway, she went and got the drinks and we were ready to order by the time she got back.  I was craving a hamburger.  It’s been quite a while since I’ve had one, so that’s what I really wanted for lunch and why I chose The Peanut Barrel.  I went with the Rodeo Burger which came with cheese and bacon.  You get your choice of cheese.  I chose Swiss and your choice of bun.  I chose white.  The sandwich comes with a pickle spear and chips.  I upgraded to fries for a dollar.  When the waitress set the basket of food down in front of me, my mouth started watering.  This just looked like a good burger.  The bun was really soft and flaky.  The 1/3 lb burger actually looked like a 1/3lb burger.  The bacon was really piled on there.  I really, really hoped it tasted as good as it looked.  Luck would have it, it did.  This burger was really good.  It tasted like a fresh made patty which was still juicy and had a lot of flavor.  The bacon was crispy which added a crunchy layer to the really soft bun.  The fries were fresh cut and there were quite a few of them.

J got a Veggie burger with cheddar on a rye bun.  She said she used to eat veggieburgers all the time, but that must have been before we started dating because I can only think of one other time she ordered one with me.  She was really impressed by the bun also.  She commented several times on how soft it was.  She didnt’ say a whole lot about the sandwich, but didn’t complain either, so I take that as a good sign.  The fries were too much for her as she passed her basket over to me after she got done.

We sat there for a while after we got done with empty drink glasses waiting on our waitress.  Finally, the other waitress outside noticed and came over with our check.  The bill was only $15 for the two sandwiches and two pops.  We both really liked The Peanut Barrel.  The menu is really simple with only a handful of sandwiches and wraps.  There’s not even much of an appetizer list.  Just fries three different ways.  I can see why this place is always packed.  The food is really good and they have one of the best outdoor patio areas around.  You have a great view of Grand River and can people watch while enjoying your meal.  Grand River has a lot of diverse places to eat, but it’s nice to find a place like The Peanut Barrel that thrives on basic American food and they do it well.  If we can find a time to get a table, we’ll be back for a second round.




4 responses

20 08 2008

Yum! The Rodeo Burger is my favorite at the Barrel! Also, take another trip and get the Chili Cheese Fries… I think they’re the best in town! They use good, homemade chili, not that brown soupy stuff from a can! Fantastic!

20 08 2008
Enlightened Spartan

Great! Glad you made it. I’ve spent at least $10,000 on food and beer at the Peanut Barrel… been a regular there since 1988… 20 years! If you see Rod, he is an older African American wait staff with a scruffy beard – he has been waiting tables there as long as I have been going to the PB.

Anyhow, my favorite burger is the Border Burger with Swiss on Rye. I don’t think I’ve had anything different for 10 years – always order the same thing.

However, they are also known for some of the best chili in Lansing (numerous awards) and for their Tuna Melt.

Glad you made it! Great place to watch football as well…

Finally, an interesting fact, the building next to the PB (Bubble Island, Steve & Barry’s) is only about 13-15 years old. Before that, it was a bookstore (Jocundry’s), and The Professor from Gilligan’s Island was signing books there but came over to the PB for a burger and I got his signature. And, before the bookstore (about 16-17 years ago), it was just a dirt parking lot. I remember my buddy pulling in there with his car and the hubcap rolled off and into the PB seating area. Back then, you could also eat peanuts on the patio — until the city passed a law prohibiting peanuts on patios, because idiots like myself used to throw them at the cute college girls.

25 08 2008

You seem more like a beer or pepsi guy, but I also would highly recommend their Long Islands….a rodeo burger, fries and a long island on a nice late summer/early fall afternoon or evening is fantastic!

25 08 2008
Mid-Michigan Dining

Last time I had a Long Island Iced Tea I had a bad night…I was young and didn’t realize there was no iced tea in it……

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