- 401 E. Grand River Avenue
- Lansing, MI 48906
- (517) 894-4465
- No Known Website
There’s a little soul food place in Old Town that I’ve been wanting to go to for quite some time. Up until a few months ago, it was called Vernadine’s, but it now goes by the name Hattie’s Kitchen. J and I were out running some errands and since we had some extra time, we headed down Grand River Avenue through some horrendous construction in search of some good comfort food.
Hattie’s Kitchen is in Lansing’s Old Town on the corner of Grand River Avenue and Center Street. It’s a small, corner building with the entrance accessible from either street. As we drove through the Old Town Neighborhood, we noticed a lot of people out walking around and enjoying some of the other dining establishements. That got me a little worried about getting a meal during the lunch rush.
It was a nice, cool day and the door was propped open to let the breeze in. We walked in to find only two of the handful of tables full. Along one wall was a couple older gentlemen waiting for the food. Along the other side of the room was a group of college aged kids looking over a couple menus.
Here’s where we ran into some confusion. There is an order counter in the front of the space, but the counter is chest high on me. To me, it looked more like a window from the kitchen to the dining room where the waitresses would pick up food before delivering them to the table. Not the case. We were thrown off by the other group looking over menus. We sat down and waited patiently. The other group must have had the same idea as us. After ten minutes or so, they got up and left and handed the menus to us. We waited a few more minutes before one of the older gentlemen came over and told us we might be waiting a while if we were waiting on a waitress. We went up to the window to order.
Like the setup, the menu was also pretty confusing and not very desriptive. What exactly are “funky fries” or “beastie fries?” They’re listed on the menu, but it doesn’t say what it is. Can I get a side as a menu item? What comes on the roast beef sandwich or in the grilled chicken salad? All questions I had while looking over this menu.
Being a soul food place, I was really hoping for more BBQ options. The only one on the menu was rib tips, so I got the basket which came with fries. J ordered the chicken wing basket and a side of mac ‘n cheese. We tacked on two pops for a total of just over $18. We grabbed two Orange Faygo’s from the pop cooler and sat down to wait. It was about ten minutes or so when the cook brought a Styrofoam container with J’s meal. Mine came a few minutes later.
My rib tips were actually pretty good. I got five decent size hunks of meat that were covered in a thick, KC style BBQ sauce. They didn’t give me any napkins and there was no dispenser. Luckily, they gave J a few because even the paper towel dispenser in the bathroom was out, so I have no idea what I could have wiped my hands on….and they got really messy. The fries were just out of the bag crinkle cuts, but I did get a really large portion. Between the rib tips and the fries, I left with a full belly.
J got three big chicken wings which were covered in a salt and pepper rub. They were super hot when they came out and even though she was really hungry, she had to wait a few minutes for them to cool down. The man ‘n cheese was classic soul food mac ‘n cheese. It was really creamy and heavy. Unfortunately, the portion size was incredibly small. It was barely bigger than a large serving spoon’s worth. J ordered the basket and I’m pretty sure we were charged extra for the mac ‘n cheese, but she didn’t get any fries. I didn’t realize this till much later, so we didn’t ask about it. I shared my fries with her though, because, like I said, I got more than I could eat.
Hattie’s Kitchen wasn’t what we really hoped it would be. The food was good, but customer service really needs some work. Yes, we were wrong by assuming there was a waitress, but you can’t be so oblivious as to what is going on in your dining room that customers get up and walk out because they’re confused by your system. I would really like to see a bigger menu with more southern favorites. While we had a good lunch at a pretty good price, the food doesn’t have the “wow factor” we’ve been looking for.