When the average person drove past the former filling station in Old Town, chances are they saw nothing more than just another old building. When John Miller drove past it, however, he saw an opportunity.
The historic building, built in 1923, inspired Miller and his fiancé, Amelia Marschall, to turn it into one of Old Town’s newest additions, a coffee shop known as Artie’s Filling Station. But not before a much-needed makeover.
“The roof was pretty much collapsing,” Miller said. “It was a nasty baby blue color. They salvaged all the original wood, hand-sanded everything, refinished everything. The roof had to be reconstructed from the inside out.”
Despite ongoing construction, Artie’s Filling Station celebrated its “soft opening” last month (the grand opening is expected to take place next month). Its Italian-style coffee (which comes from MadCap Coffee in Grand Rapids) is served through a convenient drive-thru window in the winter; counter service and outdoor seating will available in the summer.
Besides serving coffee, Artie’s also serves food provided by Fork in the Road Artisan Diner, a local restaurant that exclusively uses locally sourced ingredients.
“(The café) is for people who are looking for a different kind of coffee and artisan food,” Miller said.
What sets Artie’s apart from other local coffee shops in Lansing is its effort to keep the coffee as traditional as the building they serve it in.
“With the coffee, everything we do is traditionally sized. Cappuccinos are traditional size. Lattes are traditional size. And we kind of stick to our guns: We don’t offer any sweetener for coffee, except for a flavored latte. What’s on our menu is on our menu — we don’t really alter it.”
Another tradition Artie’s intends to uphold is keeping up with the historic and artistic atmosphere that the Old Town neighborhood is known for.
“Our biggest goal is just to bring the best quality possible on a daily basis. I think that is our only concern,” Miller said.
Artie´s Filling Station
127 W. Grand River Ave., Lansing
Monday-Friday 6:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.