Leo’s Coney Island opening in downtown East Lansing

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By Cortni Moore
Entirely East Lansing staff writer

EAST LANSING — A Leo’s Coney Island, part of the Detroit chain, is to open in East Lansing Nov. 5.

The fact that the Coney Island is based in Detroit has some people banking on its success in the East Lansing area despite the recent closing of National Coney Island, which opened in 2009.

Alyssa Deplonty, 22, MSU arts and humanities graduate, says the restaurant will be more successful than the nearby hot dog spots.

“There are a lot of people from the Detroit area here at State so more people would go. The American/Greek menu that the Coney Island has to offer is more popular,” said Deplonty.

Although Deplonty said it’s a “Good location,” Kassy Fineout, 22, MSU arts and humanities graduate says otherwise.

“There’s a hot dog place that just opened right down the street from it. It doesn’t make sense,” said Fineout, referring to What Up Dawg? Which opened in 2010 on M.A.C. Avenue.

Although she doesn’t agree with its location she said, “The other Coney Island was really small,” agreeing with Deplonty on the space Leo’s has.

Once opened, the 2,600-square-foot Leo’s in the Marriott Hotel building, will be capable of seating 82 people.

Hadley Kleinschmidt, MSU psychology freshman also said it will be “more competition,” but she said, “There aren’t a lot of diners so it would be a good hangout, but it’s attached to a hotel and usually hotels are more strict.”

The restaurant held open interviews for all positions outside of the store on Wednesday, Oct. 5 from 4-8 p.m., which the restaurant advertised on its Facebook page.

“I think it will be good for business. A lot of students are looking for jobs outside of campus,” Kleinschmidt said.

Deplonty believes it will attract students for employment as well, “It’s a new place that students haven’t already been rejected from.”

Capital Gains reported Bill Krall, president of Leo’s Coney Island MSU, said, ”I would like to recruit students and graduates who are looking to have a career in restaurant business management or as a franchise owner for future locations.”

“I saw on Facebook they were asking about what people wanted online,” Deplonty said.

The restaurant’s Facebook page has been asking for opinions on what the new location should include.

While the Facebook page said, “We will be open for the early birds and stay open late for the night owls,” it continues to ask suggestions for hours of operation. The restaurants official website lists the hours as TBA.

“If they stayed open later, more people might go,” said Kleinschmidt.

In a college area, where many students budget their wallets, pricing is also something people are considering.

The Facebook page lists a price range reaching $10. “They’re cheap so a lot of students like them,” said Kleinschmidt.

The opening of the Downtown East Lansing location has been planned since 2008.
The Kralls have a family tie to the East Lansing area with owner/partner Chris Krall graduating from MSU in 1994, reported Capital Gains.

Leo’s Coney Island has been in the Detroit-area since 1972 and now has more than 40 locations.

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