Rave reviews for rookie restaurants


Just a couple months shy of its one-year anniversary on Jan. 26, 2024, Lansing Shuffle took home the title of Best New Business in this year’s Top of the Town contest, while also finishing second in the Best New Restaurant category.

Technically, it houses five restaurants: Yeti Kitchen, Osteria Vegana, Kin Thai, Browndog at the Shuffle and Irie Smoke Shack — with the capacity to add two more. The large food hall also features two full-service bars, a lounge and its signature riverfront patio. Five or six shuffleboard courts are in the works as well.

One voter praised the concept as a “brilliant idea of bringing various food stands together so a group can gather and everyone can get what they want.”

Another wrote, “Great atmosphere, food options (that are tasty), great view of the river ... it’s the best.”

Lansing Shuffle (top) won Best New Business in this year’s Top of the Town competition, but The Old Bag of Nails Pub beat it by one vote to win Best New Restaurant.
Lansing Shuffle (top) won Best New Business in this year’s Top of the Town competition, but The Old Bag of Nails Pub beat it by one vote to win …

Lansing Shuffle also finished second in the Best Jam Night category, with one voter saying, “Jam and choice work well together.”

The property was formerly home to the storied Lansing City Market. The new development was created by the same team that brought the Detroit Shipping Co. to life.

In the Best New Restaurant category, the final tally came down to just one vote as first-place finisher The Old Bag of Nails Pub topped Lansing Shuffle.

The Old Bag of Nails Pub opened within the Red Cedar Development in October 2022, the Ohio chain’s first location in Michigan. In addition to its Best New Restaurant win, the pub collected three second-place finishes in Best “Kids Eat Free” Restaurant, Best Fish Fry and Best Irish restaurant.

The new eatery’s most popular entries thus far include the Famous Fish & Chips, traditional British-style, hand-battered Atlantic haddock that can be blackened or pan-seared. Fish sandwiches are another easy sell here, with the traditional option as well as a Reuben-style version, made with Atlantic haddock and served on grilled rye bread with melted Swiss, coleslaw and Thousand Island dressing. The gluten-free New England Clam Chowder also packs a punch.

One commentor said The Old Bag of Nails “fills a need vacated by Claddaugh,” referring to the Irish pub that occupied the space at 2900 Centre Blvd. in the Eastwood Towne Center from 2018 until its permanent closure in 2020. Several others also mentioned this as a factor in their votes.

Many voters mentioned the food itself. “The fried corn is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten,” one wrote, with another seconding that opinion. “Free kids’ meal when eating with adults. Great food for adults,” said another.

Rounding out the top three in the Best New Business category were Hooked and Homebrew Tabletop Gaming Lounge. The former is a bookstore, coffee shop and wine bar that opened in the Red Cedar Development in April 2022. The latter, a gaming oasis in Grand Ledge, opened in April of this year.

Rounding out the Best New Restaurant category was third-place finisher Veg Head, a vegan eatery located on the first floor of the Ranney Building in downtown Lansing that celebrated its first anniversary in October. Owned by former Michigan State University executive chef Kari Magee, Veg Head takes a creative stance on American comfort food, offering a menu that looks to reintroduce vegan options as something hardliners and casual omnivores alike can enjoy.



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