Nuthouse Sports Grill – Revisited

19 03 2009
The Nuthouse Sports Grill on Michigan Avenue in downtown Lansing.

The Nuthouse Sports Grill on Michigan Avenue in downtown Lansing.

Over the last few weeks, you’ve heard me talking about “one year.”  Today is actually an anniversary.  It was one year ago today that J and I were in town for the first time together.  She had flown in for an interview back in February, but it wasn’t until March 17 that she was actually offered a job.  She and I were in Chicago because we had just gotten back from Bristol, TN and decided to take a few more vacation days.  While we were at her parents, she got the phone call offering her the job.  Since we were two hours closer, we thought we’d best take a trip to our new home to find an apartment.

After signing a lease, we needed to find lunch before that long drive back to Peoria.  We had been on the road all weekend.   We actually slept in a different state every night for five straight nights.  Illinois, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan.  It was kind of a whirlwind weekend topped off by my brother announcing he and his wife were having my parents first grandchild followed by me announcing I was moving with my girlfriend to Michigan.  We ran the gamut of emotions.  Before I started dating J, I never expected to leave Peoria.  I was happy enough with my job.  I didn’t love it, but it paid the bills and I don’t like moving.  J had an opportunity come up here that we couldn’t pass up.  I didn’t want to be five hours away and my career was going nowhere where I was at, so it was time for a change. 

We drove downtown that first day looking for something to eat.  The first thing that jumped out was a sports bar across the street from Oldsmobile Park.  We both like sports bars so after a few more minutes of exploring, we headed back to the Nuthouse. 

Since I’m going to be working a lot over the next month, I wanted to do something special for J.  I told her I was taking her out for dinner, but I didn’t tell her where until I parked the car.  I think she was surprised as I was that I actually remembered the date.

Our second trip to the Nuthouse started just like the first.  We were met by a host who showed us to a non-smoking table.  I only point that out because our non-smoking table was two tables away from a smoking table.  Why they even ask is a mystery.  The two sections aren’t really separated.  It’s kind of surprising we haven’t been back to this place in a year.  We both really like the layout and feel of the place.  Everything from the hardwood floors to the exposed brick to the high, unfinished ceilings really make the Nuthouse a comfortable place.

We started with Coke’s while we looked over the menu.  The last sandwich I had here was also the first time I had ever had a black ‘n bleu burger.  Hell, it was the first time I ever had bleu cheese.  Why I ordered it, I’ll never figure out, but it became my absolute favorite way to eat a burger.  I passed this time and ordered the BBQ Bacon Burger.  The 1/2 pound angus beef burger comes topped with bacon, cheddar cheese and a sweet BBQ sauce.  The sandwich is served on a toasted kaiser roll.  The burger was as good as I remembered it.  The BBQ was a really sweet Memphis style sauce.  The bacon was a little chewy, but nothing I couldn’t deal with.  I had a hard time putting the burger down.  Partially because it was so damn good and partially because if I did, it sat in a pile of BBQ sauce and made the bun really messy.  The burger came with fries which are seasoned with a lot of salt and other spices.  There wasn’t a whole lot in the basket, but what was there was very tasty.

The Nuthouse Sports Grill across the street from Oldsmobile Park

The Nuthouse Sports Grill across the street from Oldsmobile Park

J ordered the BBQ Chicken sandwich.  Her sandwich came with a grilled chicken breast, a tangy BBQ sauce, onion crisps, and melted pepperjack cheese on a kaiser roll.  She really liked the sandwich.   She loved the sauce which I believe was Sweet Baby Ray’s.  The biggest thing she liked about the sandwich was the bun.  The bun was toasted which prevented the BBQ sauce from making the bun soggy.  Her sandwich also came with fries.

Our bill was right at $20 and for some reason, getting our check was the most frustrating part of the meal.  Our waitress disappeared twice.  We sat with empty plates for quite a while, then it took her a long time to print the check out.  It literally added twenty minutes to our meal and we were on J’s dinner break. 

The atmosphere is amazing.  The Nuthouse is everything you expect from a sports bar.  Today was the first day of the NCAA tournament and there was a TV wall with every game on.  I’m going to be spending a lot of time at Lugnuts games this year and I’m hoping we spend a little time at The Nuthouse after those games.

So here we are, one year later.  It was a big adjustment, but it’s been a really fun year.  We’ve done a lot of things we never would have done had we still lived in Peoria.  It’s been fun exploring the area and hunting out new restaurants.  I got the idea for this blog before we moved, but I knew a move was imminent, so I never started it.  After one year, I’ve written  708 posts, gotten 864 comments from readers and I’m fast approaching 100,000 page views.  I said earlier I pretty much thought I’d spend my whole career in Peoria.  How things change in a year.  Earlier this month, the shop I worked at was shut down and everyone was laid off.  I left on my own terms and I did it to be closer to the woman I love.  No regrets.

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4 responses

20 03 2009
Rachel

Happy Anniversary! I am so glad you did move here. I tend to be a person who gets stuck in a routine and your site has helped me venture out to new places. You keep posting and I’ll keep suggesting. Thanks!

20 03 2009
Mitch

Great post. I’ve enjoyed your reviews and found them helpful in exploring the area that I have lived in most of my life. It’s helped branch out a bit and find the pieces of Lansing that make it somewhat unique. The Nuthouse also holds memories for my wife and I and we haven’t been back since we went there together before we were married 5 years ago! I recall really enjoying the atmosphere and wanting to go back but for some reason we just don’t ever think about it. I think I might bump up a visit on our priority list for date nights.

The only thing I have to suggest for this site is some sort of report on beer selection. My impression is that you are not a consistent or fussy beer drinker, but some of us are! We really only like microbrews (though European imports are usually okay) and I haven’t been able to figure out a way to find who has them and who doesn’t. Even though you may not care personally, it might help (if you think about it) to let your readers know what kind of beer (or drink) selection places like this have (especially bars/sports bars).

Thanks for putting this site together! Love it!

20 03 2009
Mid-Michigan Dining

Thanks to you both for reading!

Mitch, you’re pretty much dead on, I’m not much of a beer drinker. When I do, I stick to domestics. I’ve got a case of PBR in my closet and that’s what I prefer to drink. I come from a small town where the popular choices were Stroh’s, Hamm’s, Schlitz, and Milwaukee’s Best. Drinking a foreign beer where I come from is like driving a Prius in Detroit. I wasn’t even exposed to micro-brews until I moved out on my own and by then, my palate was set with cheap beer. I usually don’t even look at the drink menus. I don’t like drinking with dinner….I just don’t like the taste of beer that much. I’d rather have a Pepsi.

I would suggest

http://www.blogsmonroe.com/beer/

for more info on Michigan Micro Brews…it’s not Lansing specific, but it might be a start. Sorry I can’t be more help in that area…it’s just not my thing.

23 03 2009
Russ

I am in the same boat as the other two commenters, I grew up in the area but you have given me places and foods to explore. I hope you keep up the great work!

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