Where to eat, drink in Lansing, Michigan

Friday June 30th, 2017

Heading to Lansing soon? Trying to figure out the best places to eat? Whether you’re looking for the largest sandwich you've ever attempted to eat or a deep fried double cheeseburger, we’ve got you covered right here with a list of the tastiest destinations to hit while you’re in town. 

Meat 

1224 Turner St., Lansing, MI 48906
This review of Meat originally appeared April 4, 2016. 

I didn’t walk into Meat with the intention of ordering an item so visually spectacular that other diners would ask me to leave it intact long enough for them to photograph it and send the image to their friends. I had heard the barbecue bar did just about everything well, and the Boss Logg sandwich seemed the most cost-effective way to try a variety of items.

What is the Boss Logg? It’s pulled pork, brisket, two burger patties, bacon, bacon gravy, fries, hot garlic sauce, jalapeños and a sunny side up egg between two hilariously overmatched pieces of bread. It’s more performance art than meal, hence the Smartphone snappers that gathered around it when the bartender placed it before me. That said, it isn’t quite the meatiest sandwich I’ve ever eaten. That would be a three-pound burger at Conestoga’s in downtown beautiful Alachua, Fla. (I did that to win a T-shirt. I also had salad and ice cream that meal.) Or maybe it was The Texan at Jambo’s BBQ Shack in Rendon, Texas. But thanks to some huge layers of fries, the Boss Logg was certainly the largest sandwich I’ve ever attempted to eat.

Diners flocked over, iPhones in hand, to get a photo of the Boss Logg.
Andy Staples

I say attempted because I didn’t finish. Those who know me know I don’t make such an admission lightly, but I didn’t properly prepare for the majesty of the Boss Logg. I also didn’t want the effort required to eat a few fistfuls of fries—that’s all that remained—to dampen the joy provided by that brisket and pork and burger. The only reason I ordered the Boss Logg was because its $18 price tag was the most economical way to try so much in one sitting. So even though the sandwich defeated me, I still won.

On my next visit to Meat, I might just order the brisket or pork and one of the craft beers on tap. On the brisket, a layer of salty, peppery bark covered thick, juicy hunks of beef. Each bite of pork packed crispy bark and tender, moist meat that required none of the six sauces Meat makes from scratch. (If you prefer an accompaniment, dunk the brisket in the coffee sauce and the pork in the vinegar sauce.) Or maybe I’ll order a Double Heifer, Meat’s bacon double cheeseburger. It probably isn’t fair to the nearby burger joints that a place smoking excellent barbecue also serves outstanding burgers, but Meat insists on raising the bar.

Or I may not order any of this. While I wrestled with the Boss Logg, I watched multiple orders of smoked wings leave the kitchen. Smoked wings are delicious when cooked well, which doesn’t happen often. Usually, they wind up tasting like rubber. The smiles on the faces of the diners biting into the wings at Meat suggested these fit into the far less crowded former category. So I ordered wings to go. I forgot to ask for any sauce. I learned during dinner that night that this oversight didn’t matter, because Meat’s wings require no additional flavor. They’re already tantalizingly close to perfect. So maybe that’s the order next time.

One thing I probably won’t do is accept Meat’s Ultimate Carnivore Food Challenge. If a diner can eat the Boss Logg and a made-to-order-mac-and-cheese—an entree-sized order that includes two meats mixed in, not the cupful of mac and cheese I had with my Boss Logg — then that diner receives the meal free, a T-shirt, a free beer and gets memorialized with a picture on the wall. I didn’t see many pictures on the wall. Sometimes, discretion is the better part of valor when deciding exactly how much saturated fat to consume. Of course, it does come with a free T-shirt. So I probably shouldn’t say never.

Joe's Gizzard City

120 W Main St, Potterville, MI 48876
This review of Joe's originally appeared Sept. 14, 2015. 

Don’t do this. Just don’t.

Don’t make a mental note because you heard that the Michigan State offensive linemen occasionally make the trip to Joe’s Gizzard City, and who would know edible delights better than a group of 300-pound mauling machines? Don’t get into your car. Don’t drive 19 miles southwest from Spartan Stadium to Potterville, which looks like a town in a Jimmy Stewart movie. And yes, I know they would have called it Pottersville instead of Bedford Falls had the bad guy won in It’s A Wonderful Life. The point is the town is delightful. But don’t go there.

Because if you do, you will park on that quaint Main Street. You will walk into Joe’s Gizzard City. Three men will be drinking Bud Heavy out of Mason Jars at 2 p.m. on a Wednesday. You will take a seat at the bar. The bartender, who looks as if she should be teaching Kindergarten instead of serving moderately priced macrobrews at 2 p.m., will offer you a menu. You will look. You will see that everything is fried. Everything. Even the burgers. They have the Batter Burger, which is a third-pound patty in a bun. Deep fried. They have the Triple-D Burger, which Guy Fieri helped craft when he filmed a segment there for Diners Drive-Ins and Dives. It has that same third-pound patty along with pickles, onions and a tomato slice, and it is also deep fried. You don’t hate Guy Fieri, so this isn't that offensive. You are not that guy from The New York Times who went to Fieri’s Times Square restaurant and then acted comically offended when it served exactly what one would expect at a restaurant in Times Square backed by Guy Fieri. Hopefully, that guy from the Times drizzled a little olive oil and sautéed all the fish after he finished shooting them in that barrel.

Still, the guy from the Times has a point. You can do better than Guy Fieri. But don't. Resist. Don't ask that lovely bartender if it's possible to add a second patty to that burger. Don't ask for cheese. Don't ask to add bacon. Because she will say "Nobody's ever asked for that" and then she will go into the kitchen and ask Cassandra if such a monstrosity is feasible in either the theoretical or the physical world. Cassandra's mythological namesake is a prophet no one believes. Cassandra of Potterville is an artist who uses a deep fryer to create the unbelievable. There is a guy who comes in and asks for the steak hoagie deep fried. Cassandra can do that. Cassandra can deep fry anything. So of course Cassandra can deep fry your bacon double cheeseburger that smokes Guy Fieri's wimpy Triple D Burger.

But don't ask her to do this. Because she will.

A deep fried double bacon cheeseburger.
Andy Staples

She'll fry it, and it will be placed before you in all its golden glory. You'll have to wait a few minutes for it to cool. Then you'll be able to bite into it or cut into it. But please, dear reader, don't do this. If you do, you will taste something that is more low-sugar doughnut than bun surrounding crisp, smoky bacon, gooey cheese and juicy beef. You will realize Cassandra isn't an artist. She is an angel sent to deliver your stomach's greatest desire.

Yes. A deep fried double cheeseburger tastes exactly as amazing as you're imagining. But resist. Your stomach may want it. But your heart probably can't take it. Think about it. Deep. Fried. Bacon. Double. Cheeseburger. Your cardiologist just felt his heart skip, and he doesn't even know why.

So heed this warning. I have lived this dream, and now I hear the burger's sizzling siren call whenever my stomach grumbles. If you drive to Potterville and you walk into Joe's Gizzard City and you ask Cassandra to dunk a bacon double cheeseburger in the deep fryer, you will eat that burger and you will love it. Then you will want more. And that will be all my fault.

For that, I am so sorry.

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