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New in Town: REO Town pub offers garage doors and American fare

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The front door to The Rusty Mug in REO Town is open but hardly being used. Instead, patrons prefer to go through two massive garage doors opening up to Washington Avenue. With a breeze drifting through the restaurant, clacks of billiard balls from the pool table, noise from the street and the clinks of beer mugs make the atmosphere seem cafe-esque.

Continuing a legacy founded with third shift auto workers in Lansing, the bar plans to be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with drinks available at sunrise. The bar is currently open for lunch and dinner service.

“We want to be a part of REO Town and do everything we can do to support it,” general manager Blythe Oade said.

On the menu will be pub fare identical to the original Rusty Mug on Lansing’s west side. However, the added breakfast options will be exclusive to the new location.

“To start, we’ll have breakfast burritos, breakfast flatbreads, breakfast sandwiches and a breakfast scramble all served with sweet potato puffs or tater tots,” Oade said.  

Aside from breakfast, the regular menu has modern American pub fare like salads, sandwiches and burgers. Oade said a staple dish is the “Jam On IT” sandwich with blackberry jam, turkey, bacon and coleslaw between two slices of rye bread.

The location has been with the Oade family’s stewardship for 30 years.

“It used to be Oade’s Hidden Camel and Mac’s Saloon,” Oade said. “The liquor license has been in escrow for seven years as we’ve been working on it.”

The renovations were extensive. Oade put in a brand new bar, kitchen, electrical system, floor and patio. The drywall was also chiseled away to expose the original brick backbone of the building.

Oade said this space is very nostalgic for her.

“I grew up in here, so it is so awesome to see this,” she said. “It was really a big biker bar back then with a lot of metal bands. I just want to carry on my dad’s legacy and keep it in the family.”

The Rusty Mug patio has standard dining seating on outdoor furniture and cocktail seating in comfy adirondack chairs. Additionally, there are over ten beers on tap with the majority Michigan made.

It is $50 to buy into the bar’s mug club. Perks of membership are a 23-ounce pour for the price of a 16-ounce, daily drink and food specials from Sunday to Thursday and a handmade mug from an artist in Wisconsin. There are four colors and different styles to choose from.

“I am very proud of our food and hope it takes off,” Oade said.

The Rusty Mug

11 a.m. to midnight, Monday- Saturday

10 a.m. to midnight Sunday

1210 S. Washington Ave., Lansing, MI

therustymug.com, (517) 580-8131

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