The Mayfair, Haslett

I can’t remember the last time I heard a typical drunk. You know, loud voice, slurred speech. But they must have been having a drunk convention the night I was at The Mayfair. Or maybe it was just a typical Monday night.

Outside, the sign hanging above the door advertised “Big TVs”. That was true, they did have big TVs. Inside, the menu claimed to have the best burger in town. That may be true – it was certainly in contention. And it depends on your definition of “town”. If by town you mean Haslett, then yes, I would agree. If you mean Lansing, I would put it way up on the list and include them in the best burger discussion. 

I tried the olive burger, which was cooked medium well. There was no pink in the middle, but it was still very juicy and not tough. The beef was great and the olive sauce was excellent. It had some kind of spice in there. Maybe it was garlic powder, but my wife didn’t complain about it when I came home, so maybe not. The burger was served with crinkle fries (an extra $1.50). For another dollar, I could have upgraded to “fancy fries”. I don’t know what those were, but I doubt anything in The Mayfair was too fancy. 

Mayfair olive burger

Mayfair olive burger

I had three different waitresses. One to ask if I wanted anything to drink, one to bring me my drink, and a third to handle all the food-related tasks. They didn’t swing by too often, so I would advise that unless you were sitting at the bar, order a big beer, just to be safe.

So I was very pleased with my Mayfair burger, and if you looking for a “bar bar” with beer and beef, it’s the place to be.

Harry’s Place, Lansing

I was saying to myself, “I really want to go to a bar with a view of a demolished GM plant.” Because I often talk to myself, but usually to say “You’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and dog gone it, you could be a below-average senator from Minnesota.”

The Fischer Body plant stood not far from where I work in downtown Lansing. My uncle used to work there, but the plant was torn down about five years ago. I wondered what happened to the businesses that catered to the factory workers, and while jogging through the neighborhood, I noticed Harry’s Place. So it was time to check out this local bar and get my burning question answered.

Harry's Place, Lansing

Harry’s Place, Lansing

As you would expect, Harry’s Place was a no-frills establishment, which was its appeal. It was scarcely populate when I stopped by, but I go to lunch early. And I did indeed have a view of the pile of rubble that was Fischer Body on North Verlinden. My view was only obscured by people taking frequent trips to the Keno machine next to my booth.

I was thinking burger when I first sat down, but when I saw “fried bologna sandwich” on the menu, my focus shifted. I make fried bologna sandwiches, but the only other restaurant I had see it on the menu was Toby’s Keith’s in Auburn Hills. Thus, it was bologna time.

The thick-cut bologna was served on grilled Texas Toast, and it was very good. The bologna was slightly charred and tasted as good as processed meat can taste. Just a little bit of mustard made it a great lunch. Seriously, if you are anything like me and considered cooked bologna sandwiches a childhood staple, then head to Harry’s.

Balogna sandwhich!

Balogna sandwhich!

As you can see, Harry’s Place was very generous with the fries. While good, keeping them in the fryer about 30 seconds would have improved them – many of the fries tasted like mashed potatoes in fry form. I didn’t complain, and I did eat them all, so they weren’t that bad.

It’s probably not on your normal path of restaurants, but give it a try. Harry’s Place also has nachos, so I will be back – it’s just a bike ride away from my office.

Small Town Grill, Pellston

When you think of Pellston, you are probably like me and think “dining mecca”. So as we rode into town after some brutal hills on our final day of the DALMAC bike ride from East Lansing to Mackinaw City, I was happy to have arrived without too much discomfort. And I was even happier because  it  was lunchtime, my second  favorite time  of  the  day, next to  beer time.

Small Town Grill, Pellston

Small Town Grill, Pellston

On this particular Sunday, the Grill was packed with fellow DALMACers, but one of our intrepid team of four managed to secure a window seat with a view of scenic US 31. The little place was warm, but what could you expect with the grill being only  feet away from our table. So what I’m saying is that it was small. Think of it as a chef’s table, only cheaper.

'Tis a diner

‘Tis a diner

We were kind to the chef and all ordered the grilled shaved turkey sandwich, served on grilled sourdough and with a side of fries. It was an excellent sandwich, large enough to satisfy cyclists after over three hours on the road. We still talk about that sandwich, which is now imortalized on Michigan Foodies. The fries were a perfect on the crispiness scale, not the least bit overdone.

That's good turkey

That’s good turkey

If I return to Pellston for lunch – and I will punish myself and do the DALMAC again – I will almost definitely return to the Small Town Diner again because a) there are not many other places to eat and b) it was a good stopping place. The service was friendly and fast, and though  the restaurant was getting hammered with people, our lunch still arrived pretty quickly. And four out of four cyclists agreed – it was a good meal.