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Wednesday, October 19,2011

Tapping into craft beers

Toast the season at Crunchy’s in East Lansing

by Joe Torok
Craft beer continues to grow as an industry, relying on the enthusiasm of beer aficionados looking for something a little less mainstream, unsatisfied with the selection of mass-produced beers on tap courtesy of the historical big three brewers ' Anheuser-Busch, Miller and Coors ' with their multitude of brands.
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Wednesday, October 12,2011

Midday at the Oasis

Woody’s in East Lansing features marvelous kafta, so-so spinach pie — and lots and lots of lemon

by Joe Torok
Décor, though, is likely not on the minds of most who venture to Woody’s for Mediterranean food, as folks have for a quarter-century. No, patrons are looking for some tasty grub made fast, something substantial, flavorful and not likely to leave grease stains.
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Wednesday, September 28,2011

Rumble in East Lansing

It's Five Guys versus Bagger Dave’s in a clash of the burger chains

by Joe Torok
While Five Guys revels in simple, greasy, sloppy messes, Bagger Dave’s mission is more refined with a broader, more nuanced menu and even wine or beer pairings for your meal ' pretentious, perhaps, but it’s nice to not feel like you have to change clothes after eating.
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Wednesday, September 21,2011

Chicken coup

Broasted birds are served up at Augie’s

by Joe Torok
Augie’s Broasted Chicken opened Aug. 18, and owner Anne Ganakas, who operated the Arby’s fast food franchise formerly housed where Augie’s now sits, says the patented pressurecooked broasted style results in a juicer bird that isn’t as oily as traditional fried chicken.
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Wednesday, September 14,2011

Retro night-owl spot

Fleetwood Diner is a haven for coffee lovers

by Joe Torok
Fleetwood Diner on Cedar St. looks like one of those Airstream trailers from the 1950’s with rounded edges, a low profile and a glinting chrome exterior. In reality the atmosphere is much more nuanced (thankfully) than that. Fleetwood is the kind of place a novelist might visit for character research, especially after midnight.
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Wednesday, August 24,2011

Swanky and inventive

Enso has ample ambiance and some fine dishes, but certain elements could use a bit of polishing

by Joe Torok
A red carpet greets diners at the front door and sets the upscale mood. The patio, perhaps the best in the area, is a distinct dining space ' not just a slab of concrete with some patio furniture, like so many others ' complete with outdoor bar, fire pits and giant torches.
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Wednesday, August 17,2011

Lansing is fit to be Thai-ed

by Joe Torok
The No Thai! name is a play on an owner’s first name, but being a college-town creation, No Thai! revels in irreverence. Cooks and order-takers reference both a "Seinfeld" icon and text-speak culture with T-shirts that read “No Thai 4 U!” Don’t expect Thai Nazi treatment, though; the atmosphere is relaxed and the food is casual.
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Wednesday, August 10,2011

Disappointment, deli-style

Old Town’s Chicago Deli has plenty of atmosphere — but seems to be running short on everything else

by Joe Torok
And it’s quirky, with headshots of Oprah Winfrey, Barbra Streisand, Elvis Presley and other celebrities in high school graduation-style frames on the wall. (I get the Oprah/Chicago connection, and a Michael Jordan photo makes sense, too; the others remain a mystery.
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Wednesday, July 27,2011

Embracing Gracie's Place

Williamston is buzzing over an awesome eatery

by Joe Torok
I learned quickly of its popularity on a Friday evening. The dining space was bustling with activity, conversations layered one on top of another, waitstaff bouncing like lasers from kitchen to table and back. One table was left unreserved for the evening, on the patio, in the still-hot sunlight without an umbrella.
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Friday, July 22,2011

Something new for summer

Soup Spoon Caf' expands its menu for the season; check out the new Dawg in East Lansing

by Joe Torok
Server Eric Austin, an enthusiastic ambassador of all things Soup Spoon, explains that the Spoon-I-pino concept is an interpretation of cioppino, a type of fish stew originating from Italian fisherman immigrants who settled in the San Francisco area.
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