Backyard Bar-B-Q – Okemos

29 05 2009
  • 2329 Jolly Road
  • Okemos, MI 48864
  • (517) 381-8290
  • No Known Website
  • Menu
Backyard Bar-B-Q on Jolly Road in Okemos

Backyard Bar-B-Q on Jolly Road in Okemos

I’ve been pretty vocal on this blog about the lack of real BBQ joints in Lansing.  Sure, there’s a chain out near Eastwood and a guy who sells BBQ out of the back of his van, but there’s no real place that I can turn to when the BBQ craving hits. 

A few months ago, it was suggested that I try Backyard Bar-B-Q which has three stores in the Lansing Metro.  J and I tried to go for dinner one night, but they close at 7:00, so we missed it. 

This afternoon, J and I had to run some errands in Meridian Township including picking up our “passports” for the Be A Tourist In Your Own Town from a very rude Customer Service person at the Meridian Mall.  After that mess, we headed to Kohls to do some things then it was time for lunch.  J was running short on time and suggested we find a deli.  We were just talking about BBQ and it triggered Backyard Bar-B-Q.   Since we had to go back that way, it sounded good to both of us.

The Backyard Bar-B-Q in Okemos is in a strip mall on Jolly Road near the Okemos Road intersection.  We popped in jut before 1:00 on a Friday afternoon and the place was packed.  There were a few tables set up outside that were all full and most of the tables inside were occupied as well.  The store is not very big, but they do make good use of the public space.  The order counter is in the back near the kitchen.  There is a menu board nailed to the wall above the counter.  Read the rest of this entry »





Bethany’s Place Family Diner

17 05 2009
  • 2221 University Park Drive
  • Okemos, MI 48864
  • (517) 349-9570
  • Website
  • Menu
Bethanys Place Family Diner on University Park Drive in Okemos.

Bethany's Place Family Diner on University Park Drive in Okemos.

A few weeks ago, I noticed a billboard on South Cedar near K-Mart for a restaurant I had never heard of.  There was a web address on the billboard, so I came home and typed it into my browser.  Nothing came up that day, but a few days later, I found out the Okemos Big Boy went out of business and a family diner opened up.

Since we don’t usually get up for breakfast, I put it on my mental list of places to stop for lunch after a trip to Meridian Mall.  Things changed when I got an unexpected 9:00 AM wake up call.  Since we were both up, J offered to treat me to breakfast.  We had noticed that some people had found my blog looking for information on the place and checking it out would be a good idea.

Like I already mentioned, Bethany’s Place has taken over the old Big Boy building just off the Interstate on University Park Drive.  Last summer, J and I ate at the Big Boy and it was the first Big Boy experience for both of us.  We were pretty underwhelmed.  The business acted like they didn’t want to be in business.  There was no signage and it was hard to find.  Bethany’s Place already took the first step towards a successful business.  They added signs and started advertising.  It’s always amazed me when people open restaurants, don’t advertise at all, then can’t understand why they went out of business because no one knew they were there or what kind of food they served. 

Not much has changed from this restaurant’s Big Boy days.  There are still some signs on the walls and the layout, furniture, and decor are all leftovers.  When we got there, we stopped at the sign that told us to wait to be seated.  A frantic hostess came over and said it would be a couple minutes.  They were short handed and behind.  We considered leaving at that point because there is no way the meal could have went smoothly, but J noticed a sign for a $7.99 breakfast buffet.  We chose to stay and get the buffet so we could set the pace of our meal. Read the rest of this entry »





Starbucks Coffee – Okemos

9 05 2009
  • 3552 Meridian Crossings #500
  • Okemos, MI 48864
  • (517) 381-8350
  • Website
  • Menu
Starbucks at Meridian Crossing in Okemos

Starbucks at Meridian Crossing in Okemos

To some people, there’s nothing like a warm coffee or tea on a cold rainy day.  I’m not one of those people.  I despise Starbucks.  The only time I ever go in one is with J.  She likes a couple of their drinks and today, she was wanting something warm and comforting.  Since there was a Starbucks right next to the State Side Deli where we ate lunch, she asked if I would stop in with her.

This Starbucks is located on the far end of the Meridian Crossings shopping center.  You can see it from Okemos Road and there is an entrance on both sides of the building.  With this business, it doesn’t matter which side you enter.  The counter is in the middle.  That’s only if you’re not lazy and actually go in.  There is a drive-thru on the side of the building and the line wrapped back into the parking lot.  I don’t do drive thrus and it was easier just to get out and go in the store.

There’s really not much there.  There are a few tables if you want to pay for wi-fi while you drink coffee and a few displays of coffee making products.  I’m guessing they do most of the business through the window.  Read the rest of this entry »





State Side Deli

9 05 2009
  • 3552 Meridian Crossing Dr. Suite 550
  • Okemos, MI 48864
  • (517) 853-1100
  • No Known Website
  • Menu
The State Side Deli at Meridian Crossings in Okemos

The State Side Deli at Meridian Crossings in Okemos

I’m not an expert on New York deli’s.  In fact, I’ve never eaten in one.  I’ve only been to New York City once and that was a quick weekend trip to see a baseball game in old Yankee Stadium with my brother.  We ate at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill, La Famiglia Pizza in Times Square, and a bar near Madison Square Garden.  We were going to find a deli to get some corned beef but we never did.

I read the message boards at Chow.com quite often and the most popular question about dining in Lansing is “Where can I find a New York style deli?”  Recently, the answer has been State Side Deli.  I’ve heard a lot of good and only one bad, so I’ve been looking for an excuse to go. 

For the first time in about two months, I had a Saturday off.  No work.  No family in town.  No trips to Chicago.  Just a Saturday afternoon where J and I could do whatever we wanted.  What we wanted to do was go to Walmart.  J had a list of things she needed and can usually get cheaper at Walmart.  Since there’s really not one close to us, we were going to have to drive somewhere.  Since I there was a Walmart in Meridian Township, I chose that one so I could finally stop at that deli everyone’s been talking about.

State Side Deli is in the Meridian Crossings shopping center somewhere between Stillwater Grill and Starbucks.  You can see a sign from Okemos Road, but your better off if you enter on the backside which is techinically Meridian Crossing Drive.  There is an entrance in front, but the counter and tables are off the back parking lot. Read the rest of this entry »





Cancun Mexican Grill – Jolly Road

2 04 2009
  • 2398 Jolly Road #100
  • Okemos, MI 48864
  • (517) 347-3510
  • Website
  • Menu
Cancun Mexican Grill on Jolly Road in Okemos

Cancun Mexican Grill on Jolly Road in Okemos

Mexican wasn’t the plan tonight, but that’s where we ended up.  We were actually going to Backyard BBQ on Jolly Road in Okemos on the suggestion of a commentor.  When we pulled up there a little after 7:00 we found the business closed.  They close at 7:00, so we just missed them.

Instead, we headed across the street to Cancun Mexican Grill.  The shop is in one of the many strip malls in the area right next to a Mediterranean deli.  Cancun is in the corner and they make good use of the space.  When you walk in, you come to a very small waiting area.  We were met by a waiter who showed us to a booth.  The space is pretty much one long hallway with booths on either side. 

The decor is loud.  Very, very loud.  Everything is painted in bright colors and there are Mexican flag designs on the curtains.  The booths and tables are really neat.  Each table and booth back has a Mexican scene on them.  These scenes are actually carved in the wood then painted.  It’s a very cool looking design feature.  They really play on Mexican stereotypes with the way they’ve decorated. Read the rest of this entry »





Gilbert & Blake’s

31 01 2009
  • 3554 Okemos Road
  • Okemos, MI 48864
  • (517) 349-1300
  • Website
  • Menu
Gilbert & Blakes on Okemos Road in Okemos

Gilbert & Blake's on Okemos Road in Okemos

I’ve always been afraid of Gilbert and Blake’s.  I had only read one review of the place and it wasn’t exactly glowing, but the thing that really scared me off was the “seafood” part of the branding.  We don’t eat seafood.  I know, they have steaks, but I don’t order steaks at a restaurant.  They’re never as good as I make at home and really expensive.  J and I are sandwich people.  I love a good burger and there were no burgers on Gilbert and Blake’s dinner menu, so I never considered it an option for us.  For some odd reason, I was looking at restaurants last night.  I came back to Gilbert and Blake’s and decided to look at the menu again.  Again, the dinner menu didn’t do much for me.  It’s a little too fancy for a regular night out, but the lunch menu actually looked really good.  J and I were discussing lunch options and I figured…let’s give it a try.  There were enough options that both of us should be happy.

Gilbert & Blake’s is on Okemos Road not far from I-96 in Okemos.  Like I figured, it’s not your average night out kind of place.  I would put it in the fine dining category for this area.  There are couple different dining rooms.  When you walk in, you’re met by a hostess.  We were shown to a table in what looks to be their main dining room just off of the bar.  Gilbert & Blake’s is a white tablecloth, black napkin kind of place.  The decor is subdued and dark.  Most of the light is natural lighting coming in from large windows that run along one wall of the dining room.  What little lighting they have are track spot lights. Read the rest of this entry »





New Places To Eat!

31 01 2009
The State Side Deli on Okemos Road

The State Side Deli on Okemos Road

We went out to lunch and planned on doing some shopping in Okemos this afternoon.  Our restaurant of choice was Gilbert and Blake’s.  When we pulled into the parking, we noticed a new deli across the street with a “Grand Opening” banner hanging out front.  It’s called State Side Deli.  They’re on Okemos Road in the strip mall directly across from Gilbert and Blake’s.

After lunch, we headed cross town to Horrocks.  I almost suggested stopping at Ice Cream Joes, so I was looking for it.  Ultimately, we didn’t, but as we drove by, I noticed a new name on the side.  It’s now called The Uddery Creamery.  We didn’t stop, so I don’t know if anything’s changed, but we really liked Ice Cream Joe’s when we stopped in back in the spring.





Press Release – New Coffee Line at Panera Bread

22 01 2009

I’ve been told all three Lansing area Panera Bread will be participating in this and the funds they raise will go to the Mid-Michigan Chapter of the American Red Cross…..

Panera Bread® to Celebrate Breakfast
With Free Cups of its New Coffee and Samples of New Products
Panera Bread to Support Local Communities by Raising Funds for Operation Dough-Nation® Recipients

Richmond Heights, MO, January 22, 2009 – Something big is brewing at Panera Bread and everyone’s invited. On Wednesday, January 28, Panera Bread bakery-cafes throughout the country are inviting customers to celebrate Panera’s new breakfast experience by sharing free cups of its new Light and Dark Roast coffees, as well as samples of its three grilled breakfast sandwiches and new Strawberry Granola Parfait.

To Share the Warmth with the local community, Panera Bread will also be inviting customers to donate a dollar on January 28 to help support its Operation Dough-Nation Community BreadboxTM program. Participating bakery-cafes will join the celebration by matching customer donations made on that day. Donations to Panera’s Community Breadboxes support local programs that address community needs. Through its Operation Dough-Nation effort, Panera Bread bakery-cafes collectively donated a retail value of more than $40 million worth of bread and baked goods in 2007 to charitable organizations helping to address the need for food distribution in its local communities.
“We are very proud of what we have achieved at breakfast at Panera,” said Ronald Shaich, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Panera Bread. “We’re looking forward to celebrating breakfast with our customers and joining them in supporting our local communities.”

Panera Bread has been working for more than two years to perfect its two unique new coffee blends — a Light Roast and a Dark Roast. The Light Roast Coffee is a new blend of some of the finest South and Central American beans, roasted lighter for a smooth, classic taste. The Dark Roast Coffee is a new blend of top Costa Rican beans, created for customers who prefer a robust, balanced, full-bodied coffee. All Panera Bread bakery-cafes will continue to carry its current Hazelnut and Decaffeinated coffee blends, as well as a selection of specialty Espresso and Espresso-based drinks expertly prepared by trained baristas.
Read the rest of this entry »





Guido’s Premium Pizza – Okemos

10 01 2009
  • 1754 Central Park Drive
  • Okemos, MI 48864
  • (517) 347-3030
  • Website
  • Menu
Guidos Premium Pizza on Central Park Drive in Okemos.

Guido's Premium Pizza on Central Park Drive in Okemos.

Is eight inches of snow a reason to stay home and not go shopping?  Of course not.  J and I wanted to run to Meridian Mall to make good use of some gift cards we got for Christmas.  The fact that it snowing wasn’t going to keep me home.  I can’t take that many days in a row in front of the TV with a Wii controller in my hand.  Before shopping came lunch though.  A month or two ago, I got a comment from someone at Guido’s Premium Pizza.  I had read another review on the place months ago on Runs With Spatula, but had pretty much forgotten about the joint until I got that comment.  J and I are still looking for good pizza places, so we decided to give Guido’s a shot.

Guido’s Premium Pizza is located in a strip mall near the Walmart on Central Park Drive.  There are quite a few other eateries in that area.  Guido’s isn’t unique to the Lansing area.  They have nine other locations, but all are in Michigan.  The shop isn’t that big, but they do have a handful of tables which was perfect for us.  We made our to the counter to order.  A guy came out from the kitchen to take care of us.  When it comes to pizza, J likes thin and crispy.  I like either thin and crispy or a Chicago deep dish.  Neither one of us are fans of the inbetween hand tossed pie that most chain pizza joints do.  Read the rest of this entry »





Chili’s Grill & Bar- Okemos

1 01 2009
  • 5055 Marsh Road
  • Okemos, MI 48864
  • (517) 347-7188
  • Website
  • Menu
Chilis Southwestern Bar & Grill on Marsh Road in Okemos

Chili's Grill & Bar on Marsh Road in Okemos

Hey, why not start of the 2009 with a review of a chain restaurant?  J’s mom picked up a gift card for Chili’s for me for Christmas.  Just like Applebees (review HERE), I have never been to a Chili’s.  Growing up in the Kankakee (IL) area, there was no Chili’s and by the time I moved to Peoria, I was already on my “hunt out the local joints” kick, so I never took the time to actually eat at Chili’s.  J said she used to eat there all the time when she lived in Idaho Falls (ID) because they had great drinks and appetizers, so when I opened up the gift from her mom on Christmas and found a Chili’s gift card, J got excited that she was going to get to take me to what could maybe be called her favorite chain.

The Chili’s Grill & Bar in the Lansing metro is in Okemos adjacent to the Meridian Mall.  It sort of shares a parking lot with the Olive Garden. Our plan was to hit up Younkers at Meridian Mall then go to dinner, but we were too late for shopping as the mall must have closed at 6:00 and we arrived closer to 6:30.  Since we couldn’t go shopping, we just headed over to Chili’s for dinner. 

We were met inside by a hostess who I’m pretty sure punished us for picking non-smoking over smoking.  I was hoping to be seated where I could see the Rose Bowl game, but the only TV’s must have been in the smoking section which is basically the bar area.  Instead, she took us into a cramped dining room around the corner and sat us in a booth right next to the Chili’s To Go entrance.  The restaurant was not packed by any means so there was really no reason to put us at this table.  The table was fine, but it was right next to an outside door so every time someone came in or went out, we were also treated to the 20 degree weather outside.   Kind of ruins dinner when you have to eat with a coat on. Read the rest of this entry »