He ate


Just south of downtown Lansing sits Corey’s Lounge, a three-generation family-owned-and-operated bar and restaurant on South Cedar Street. It’s known for both bar food and Sunday brunch, which can get busy, so plan accordingly. My two visits were an up-and-down whirlwind of flavors and experiences.

What’s overly basic

The regular lunch menu resembles that of many other pubs in and around Lansing’s city center. Burgers, pizza, salads and sandwiches are pretty standard midday options across the area. Some spots excel at a few items and less so at others. When visiting Corey’s with some of my favorite friends and former Lansing School Board colleagues a few weeks ago, including Mrs. She Ate, I was dismayed by the mediocrity of the experience. To start, I joined the group late since a prior meeting ran long and told my friends that they shouldn’t have waited 25 minutes to order just for me. They insisted it wasn’t chivalrous on their part — rather, they hadn’t yet been waited on. Our kind waitress, Anitra, was serving the back dining room solo, with a group of almost 20 in addition to ourselves and two other tables. We later recognized that she was also in charge of the front room and the bar. Suffice it to say the remainder of the service was very courteous but also very slow, especially when checking out so my friends could attend various appointments. 

Many restaurants are still very short-staffed after the pandemic, so we tried our best to be understanding; the food wasn’t as forgivable. My Corey Burger ($11.95) didn’t offer the star power one would expect from an eponymous sandwich. A quarter-pound burger topped with grilled onions, olive sauce, lettuce and cheese sounded right up my alley, but somehow, the fries were more memorable, and not because they were elevated in any way — they were just more solid than the burger.

One friend’s Fish Sandwich ($13.95) was a regrettable choice. Topped with a sad slice of “cheese” and lacking flavor, most of it remained on the plate when it was finally cleared.

What’s good

The brunch scene at Corey’s was a far different experience. As I dined solo, I noticed what seemed to be way more staff, and all were bustling about. I arrived just after opening, and the front room was already filling up with customers, both regulars and newbies. I saddled up to the bar and was greeted again by Anitra, who was once again considerate and pleasant but, with the additional help, was able to be far more attentive.

The deviled eggs ($7.95) were overall decent enough. They were served in three paired varieties. The first, dusted with paprika, lacked passion. It definitely needed more love — and more salt. The second variety was topped with smoked salmon, adding a bit more dimension and flavor, but it could have benefited from some added chives or red onions for texture. The final variety was the top performer. Covered in shards of crunchy, sweet and salty candied bacon, it included all the notes of deliciousness that the regular variety lacked.

The flavors picked up with the Breakfast Flautas ($14.95), three fried corn tortillas generously stuffed with well-scrambled eggs, crunchy jalapeños, onions and bacon. Each cumin-infused bite reminded me of my better half’s family breakfasts celebrating special occasions and was topped with a huge dollop of pico de gallo. Accompanied by huge chunks of home fries, this plate had no stingy servings. The pico was fresh, and leaves of cilantro were sprinkled throughout the dish, adding flavor, color and texture. 

Also tempting to my tastebuds was the sweetly savory Chicken & Waffle ($14.95), two  well-seasoned, crunchy chicken tenders placed gently upon a full waffle. The waffle was a bit chewy, but it had a crunchy exterior to please the texture geeks. The chicken tenders were adequately sized, enough to accommodate quartered portions of the waffle for a nice appetizer or a shared meal.

Best bite

Corey’s is not a traditional Lebanese restaurant, but I’ll pit its Spicy Feta Dip ($13.95) against that of any restaurant specializing in Mediterranean fare. Served with warm, buttery Parmesan breadsticks, the dip was creamy and packed a zesty kick. There were even pepperoncini for an added bite. The dip was loaded with herbs and presented a bit oily, but wow, was it yummy.


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