Old Town adding some ethnic flavor

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By Cynthia Lee
Old Town Lansing Times staff reporter

McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s are common restuarants that can be found in most cities across the country. If it is not a corporate restaurant, it’s usually an American mom-and-pop restaurant with the usual burgers, hot dogs, and fries in most areas in Lansing.

Until now, with people like entrepreneur Sam Short adding a new flavor to the food scene in Old Town.

Outside Creole Bar

Outside Creole Bar

Short is the owner of the new upscale restaurant and bar, The Creole at 1218 Turner St. in Old Town. Although their kitchen is still in construction, they will serve southern Louisiana cuisine such as oysters, steak tartare, braised collard greens and more unique dishes.

Sociology faculty member of Michigan State University Isabel Ayala explained the reason behind the dining trend. With Old Town being located in a city with a growing diverse student body, businesses are taking note. With today’s young adults being more culturally acceptable, they are more open to be open different cultures.

Also, from the business point of view young people mean business. Therefore businesses that offer different, and unique food will receive more business from a growing population of people who are curious to try different cuisine, Ayala said.

With the bar being open until the kitchen is done, along with the few light dishes available; the restaurant has been getting great reception in the old town community.

Customer Drew Frazier gave his thoughts on the restuarant. “It’s a fresh new spot to go to after work,” said Frazier.

“I love the Happy Hour here, the oysters are great and have me excited for their kitchen to open,” said Margaret Davis.

Short said that he would not have had the restaurant nowhere else except it in Old Town. “We would have fought tooth and nail for this space” said Short, who is located in the center of the city.


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Old Town has been receptive of welcoming different culturally-based restaurants. Pablo’s Panaderia is another restaurant at 311 E. Grand River Ave. that has created a place to eat authentic Mexican food.

Pablo Maldonado who used to be a truck driver, explained how he used to sell food to his neighbors for extra cash, soon giving him the inspiration to open a restaurant. The establishment has been operating since 2005. His son Edwin Maldonado, said it was a little shaky when it first opened.

“It was a little difficult when we first opened,” Edwin Maldonado said. “There were a lot of mom-and-pop restaurants selling the hamburgers and hot dogs; and were selling tacos and enchiladas”. Luckily with great service and food, word gradually spread around town giving the restaurant their own buzz.

“They make you feel like family, with everything hand made,” said customer Ryan Newman on lunch break.

“The food is much different from I’m used to, but it’s nice to be able to taste something new,” said Chelsea Lucas. It have been getting great business, in addition to being rated top taco place by the MLive voting poll.

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