Peanut Barrel changes ownership

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In a Facebook post June 25, the Peanut Barrel of East Lansing announced that after 42 years of business the owner Joe Bell is retiring.

The Peanut Barrel first opened in 1973 as Jacks or Better and was owned by a couple from Oregon, Carol and Gordon Smith. One year later, the name was changed to the Peanut Barrel. The restaurant was sold to Jennifer and Joe Bell in 1980. It has been a favorite to many in East Lansing ever since. 

On the Facebook announcement, over 40 locals expressed their gratitude to the business and its owners. One comment said, “Thanks for all the great years! Have a great retirement!” 

Another added: “Wishing you the best of retirement. PB is an East Lansing icon for sure. Lots of great memories there.” 

Hailey MacDonald

Locals dine on the Peanut Barrel’s patio.

Although most expressed how they were sad to see the owner leave, some found light of the situation when finding out Michael Krueger, the owner of another East Lansing business, Crunchy’s, will be handed the reins to the restaurant. 

Brendan Farhat, a sophomore at Michigan State University, is hoping that the new owner will keep the spirit of the Peanut Barrel alive. 

“I think they will be able to keep the spirit of the restaurant going as long as they are committed to not changing what worked so well then everyone wins,” said Farhat.

Matthew Olah, a doctoral candidate at MSU, agreed. 

“I think that the transition is positive, it’s nice to see the Peanut Barrel is going to be taken over by a local business owner,” said Olah. 

Crunchy’s opened in East Lansing in 1982 and has since been a popular place for locals and MSU students. The restaurant holds weekly trivia nights on Tuesdays and karaoke every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. 

Josh Smalley, an employee at Crunchy’s, said it is a great environment to be in.

 “It’s been a staple at MSU for 40 years now basically … we’re a great place to get a burger and a beer and watch a game,” said Smalley.

There have not been any announcements made of either restaurant closing for any amount of time during this ownership transition, as well as any big changes.