Crunchy’s, East Lansing

Any resident of the Lansing area knows about Crunchy’s. Specifically, the Crunchy Burger or, as the menu reads, “The Famous Crunchy Burger”. And it’s a good burger (like how I’m getting right to the point?) Nothing fancy, just a simple lettuce – tomato – onion cheeseburger cooked how you like it. A solid burger to meet your burger needs, and we all have them. You will not go wrong ordering this burger. And you can get it with chips, fries, onion rings, or tater tots. What variety! Boggles the mind.

Crunchy Burger and fries

Crunchy Burger and fries

But Crunchy’s is also known for its beer. The draft list is constantly changing, and they have a great selection of beers, both in-state and out. It’s one of the best spots in the area to try a wide variety of beer styles, and they have regular beer events posted on their website. And they have a Crunchy’s card, so if you drink enough beer (and you should), you’ll get a discount down the line.

And I can’t forget the décor. In between the beer paraphernalia adorning the walls are scribbles and signatures of Spartans present and past. And the Christmas lights are a nice touch. Even though I write this in May, I can practically hear the sleigh bells. Or the cash register or my ears – something that rings.

A very Crunchy alley.

A very Crunchy alley.

Before you can enter Crunchy’s, though, you have to find the entrance. It’s in an alley, but if you just follow the signs, you will not be led astray from the burger – beer goodness that lurks inside.

Pointing the way to Crunchy's

Pointing the way to Crunchy’s

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Nacho Dog at The Watershed, Haslett

Best hot dog in Haslett. Yes, I am making such a bold statement after only having one hot dog in Haslett that hasn’t come off of my own grill. I am making this statement because it was an excellent dog that you may or may not want to eat with a knife and fork, your call.

My default place to eat in Haslett is The Watershed. Known at other times as Jefferson, Gus’s Watershed, and Mark’s Watershed, the overall look hasn’t changed very much over the past decade, the biggest change coming from a patio that may or may not be swarmed by mosquitoes, depending on the wetness of spring. Just across the street from Lake Lansing South park, the restaurant includes pictures of the amusement park rides that were long ago torn down. Sad as it is to see a rollercoaster meet its end, the thing was probably death trap by the end of its life.

Yes, right – food. I decided on the Nacho Dog, a hot dog smothered with queso and sprinkled with crushed tortilla chips and jalapenos. A tasty, inexpensive meal. There is nothing fancy there, but good stuff piled one atop the other that tasted beautifully. Yes, I used the adverb “beautifully” to describe a hot dog experience. There were four other hot dogs to choose from, but the Nacho Dog sounded the most interesting.

Nacho Dog

Nacho Dog at The Watershed, Haslett

The dog was served with the excellent homemade Shed Chips.  When my wife and I visit, we almost always get an appetizer of Shed Chips, and the side served with the Nacho Dog was very generous. Nice, crispy and seasoned with mystery spice, the appetizer version is served with bleu cheese. Tip, enjoy, repeat. And the draft Sam Adams Pale Ale when excellent with my dinner, because wine with a hot dog just isn’t right.

Come down to the corner of Haslett Road and Lake Lansing Road and enjoy a cool locals bar. And during the warmer months, walk across the street to the Cone Zone for ice cream, followed by a walk through the park, all at one intersection.

The Olive Burger at the B & I Bar, Lansing

What comes to mind when I say “B&I Bar”? Probably nothing, since in all likelihood, you haven’t heard of it.  It’s out of the way for most people, not far from Woldumar Nature Center on Old Lansing Road. And let’s face it, the place isn’t much to look at:

B & I Bar, Lansing

B & I Bar, Lansing

The interior is typical dive bar, with plenty of beer-related paraphernalia hanging from the walls. And of course, there are various lottery devises for which to sink your money into. It’s dark in there too – there aren’t any windows, and natural light only briefly intruded when someone entered, which wasn’t often during my lunchtime visit.

The menu was simple, but I knew that I wanted the olive burger before I even got there. It’s Michigan – chances are a little bar will have an olive burger. I had it with fries and a gigantic Coke. A note regarding the latter: There are no refills, so don’t suck down that pop too fast. That said, the size of the mug was enormous, so you will probably do OK. Unlike me. Remember, it’s all about pacing.

The burger was bigger than I expected. My experience with dive-bar burgers leads me to think they are going to be thin patties, but the B&I olive burger bravely ventured into the realm of a medium-sized patty. It could have used more olives in olive sauce, but it tasted alright. And there were lots of crispy fries, but not over done, so thumbs up to those. And I can’t leave out the pickle – what a great tasting sour cucumber that was.

Olive burger!

Olive burger!

All in all, not a bad experience. It’s not your usual lunch spot, which is what I liked about it. If you’re in downtown Lansing, it’s less than a 10-minute drive down the freeway, under the railroad bridge, and by the cemetery – no problem. And if you’re trying to escape the prying eyes of anyone you may know, it’s the place to be.