It doesn’t matter if it’s 11 a.m. or 2 a.m., the affordable dining deals in East Lansing don’t get better than 1219 E Grand River Ave. This is the location of Conrad’s where students can find filling wraps and tasty snacks. The small take-out wrap shop has expanded over the years and became an iconic staple at Michigan State University. As students on or off campus often find themselves in the green and white building, they know they’re in for a treat.
The owner, Joe Conrad, has been in business since 2007 but his experience in East Lansing dates back nearly 25 years. As an MSU student, he worked at Jimmy Johns where he worked his way up the chain. Conrad had his eyes on running a franchise but wanted creative freedom on how to market to college students and the surrounding community.
“I looked at probably 10 different franchises to bring to East Lansing,” said Conrad, “but none of them were flexible, they had policies like you can’t deliver or you had to close at a certain hour.”
Because of the limitation, Conrad experienced with larger chains at the time, he decided to make his own shop, Conrad’s Grill. Over the years he’s seen the expansion of franchises.
Conrad’s began at the same location Ink & Needle is today before moving all the way down East Grand River to where their current location is. At one point he was overseeing three different franchises in the area before an unfortunate fire and the pandemic. Because of these incidents, Conrad’s has been reduced to one store.
However, Conrad’s plans on reopening in Frandor this May. This location is near the west side of campus which enables more students to walk through the green and white doors.
While Conrad’s appeals to the college crowd they have engaged with people from the community such as Michael Pratt considers himself a regular. The 22-year-old resident finds himself getting a #1 wrap on Fridays after he gets off work.
“There’s so many different options to order from,” Pratt said, “It’s quick, easy, filling all the things that you want after a long week.”
MSU’s students agree with the expansion and could see it moving beyond East Lansing. Junior Drake Wharton said, “Conrad’s should branch out to other campuses.”
Conrad’s menu has expanded and contracted over the year. In the early years, Conrad’s also served as a convenience store, selling over-the-counter medication or small late-night snacks. However, Joe Conrad decided to move to just late night food as the business expanded. You can now find a menu with over 40 different options with room for customization anywhere on the wrap.
Wharton feels Conrad’s menu is a really good fit for campus and appreciates the flexibility of Conrad’s hours and menu.