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Best Old Town Restaurants in Lansing MI | 7 Must-Try Places

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Lansing, the vibrant and charming capital city of Michigan, is a hidden gem when it comes to the food scene. 

Today, we’ll be exploring the historic and trendy Old Town district, a delightful neighborhood that has become a true foodie paradise. 

So, join me as we dive into this culinary wonderland, savor the flavors, and uncover the mouthwatering treasures that await us!

Nestled along the scenic banks of the Grand River, Lansing is not only known for its picturesque landscapes and friendly locals but also for its ever-evolving and diverse food scene. 

The city has transformed into a melting pot of cultures, bringing together an incredible fusion of flavors that would delight any food lover’s taste buds. 

From timeless classics to innovative dishes, the Lansing food scene truly has something for everyone.

Lansing, Michigan

But, of course, the heart of this gastronomic journey lies in the cobblestone streets of Old Town. With its beautiful historic architecture, vibrant art scene, and eclectic mix of shops, this has become the go-to destination for foodies seeking a truly unique dining experience in Old Town Lansing. 

As we meander through its charming streets, you’ll find yourself surrounded by cozy cafés, bustling bistros, and tempting restaurants, each with its own story to tell and flavors to share.

So, whether you’re a seasoned Lansing local or a curious traveler seeking to uncover the city’s best culinary offerings, you’ve come to the right place. 

Get ready to be amazed because we’re about to embark on a food adventure you won’t soon forget!

My Top Three Picks of the Old Town Restaurants in Lansing, MI

Restaurant Top PickOur Rating
Pablo’s Mexican Restaurant (Old Town)Chilaquiles 5/5
Maria’s Cuisine Mexican FoodBirria Tacos5/5
The Creole Burger Bar & Southern KitchenCreole Poutine4.5/5

The Seven Best Old Town Restaurants in Lansing, MI

Pablo’s Mexican Restaurant (Old Town)

311 E. César E. Chávez Ave., Lansing, MI 48906, United States // +15173720887 

Pablo’s Mexican Restaurant in Lansing’s Old Town is a true hidden gem that I stumbled upon during one of my foodie explorations. 

Inside, I was greeted with the warmest of welcomes, making me feel like I’d just entered a friend’s home. 

The folks at Pablo’s are some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet in Old Town, and they serve up some of the most incredible Mexican dishes that Lansing restaurants have to offer.

If you ever are unsure what to eat on any given night, try Pablo’s! Not only will you be treating yourself to a fantastic meal, but you’ll also be ideally situated to explore the rest of the vibrant Old Town scene once your belly is full and happy.

Pablo’s Mexican Restaurant boasts a simple yet charming ambiance with authentic Mexican decor and furnishings that instantly transport you to a cozy cantina south of the border. 

Don’t be fooled by the cheerful and simple shopfront – this place is the real deal when it comes to serving you excellent Mexican cuisine in Old Town.

Chilaquiles at one of the best Old Town Restaurants in Lansing MI

I had the pleasure of trying a variety of dishes. I started with a torta, which was absolutely delicious. 

The veggie omelet was a delightful surprise, packed with fresh ingredients that made each bite a burst of flavor. 

The actual show stealer, though, were the chilaquiles – oh my, were they fantastic! A dish that had the ideal combination of crispy, tangy, and spicy left me wanting more.

And let’s not forget about the drinks! My friend indulged in a comforting hot chocolate while I treated myself to a cafe con leche – both were divine. 

With such a delightful meal and heartwarming beverages, it’s safe to say that Pablo’s Mexican Restaurant in Old Town left a lasting impression on my taste buds.

So, if you’re in Lansing’s Old Town and looking for a memorable dining experience, add Pablo’s Mexican Restaurant to your must-visit list. You won’t be disappointed! 

Zoobie’s Old Town Tavern

1200 N. Larch St., Lansing, MI 48906, United States // +15178973563

I’d like to introduce you to one of Lansing’s trendiest hangouts, Zoobie’s Old Town Pub.

This place is a shining example of creativity, transforming an old shot-and-beer bar into a hip and trendy spot that attracts young professionals and foodies alike. 

I couldn’t help but be drawn in by its unique atmosphere and its incredible selection of drinks.

As I entered Zoobie’s, I was immediately struck by the casual, tavern-like atmosphere that felt like stepping into a time machine – a charming blast from the past with a modern twist. 

This Lansing tavern has a unique ambiance, replete with an excellent bar and an attractive outdoor patio that calls you to kick back and relax.

I couldn’t help but notice the fabulous Sputnik marquee and matching lights inside, which added a nice touch to the warm atmosphere.

The friendly and attentive bartenders were happy to help me navigate their fantastic selection of libations, which included a wide range of craft beers, both on tap and bottled, as well as wine and expertly-crafted mixed drinks.

corn fritters

I started my evening with a refreshing Michigan craft beer on draft before deciding to dive into their cocktail offerings. 

Trusting the bartender’s recommendations, I went for a “Trust Us” option, and boy, was I in for a treat! The first drink was a New Age Ol’ Fashioned that was nothing short of perfection. 

For my second “Trust Us,” I requested a gin-based concoction and was presented with an exquisite Gin Mojito, bursting with bright, summery flavors. Two beautifully crafted drinks that left me beyond satisfied.

But what’s a great drink without some tasty bites to accompany it? At Zoobie’s, the artistic flair doesn’t stop at the decor. It also extends to their mouthwatering menu. 

I indulged in their corn fritters while my friend opted for the goat cheese salad with flank steak. Both dishes were delicious and beautifully presented, making the entire experience an unforgettable feast for the senses.

So, next time you find yourself in Lansing, MI, make sure to pay a visit to Zoobie’s Old Town Tavern. 

You’ll be blown away by the delightful ambiance, the friendly staff, and the incredible selection of drinks and bites!

The Creole Burger Bar & Southern Kitchen

1218 Turner Rd., Lansing, MI 48906, United States // +15172675372 

This Lansing restaurant is nestled in the center of Old Town, surrounded by fashionable boutique stores and the picturesque river nearby.

Get ready for a unique atmosphere that sets the tone for an outstanding dining experience.

Now, if you’re a whiskey lover like me, you’ll be thrilled to know that The Creole boasts one of the best whiskey selections in Lansing! 

They even have a dram club, which offers tempting discounts and specials on whiskey drinks. How could I resist?

As I settled into the casual and relaxed ambiance, I couldn’t help but feel at ease. Our bartender was a true pro, warm, welcoming, and incredibly knowledgeable. In addition, the drink menu featured unique and delicious concoctions that left me in awe.


I decided to share a meal with friends and was absolutely blown away by the Creole Poutine. The dish had a delightful kick of spice that left me wanting more. 

And don’t even get me started on the burger – the Jalapeño cheese spread and Andouille sausage combination was pure magic.

As if the savory dishes weren’t enough, we decided to treat ourselves to some Beignets for dessert.

 Now, I tend to be quite critical when it comes to Beignets, but these were a delightful surprise. They were light and airy, just as they should be. 

Sure, I could’ve done with a touch less powdered sugar and maybe not having to pay extra for the jam, but they were still so good that I couldn’t help but sing the chef’s praises.

If you’re looking for a unique and delicious place for dining in Old Town Lansing, MI, make sure to add The Creole Burger Bar & Southern Kitchen to your list. 

With its fantastic atmosphere, delightful drinks, and scrumptious food, it’s a place you’ll want to revisit time and time. I can’t wait to hear about your own adventures at The Creole!

The Rusty Mug Bar & Grill REO Town

1210 S. Washington Ave., Lansing, MI 48910, United States // +15175808131

The Rusty Mug Bar & Grill REO Town is a stylish downtown bar with big windows, old-school chunky brick, and dark wood accents. 

It’s an effortlessly cool place that’s perfect for a fun night out with friends or a laid-back dinner date.

The friendly and welcoming environment impressed me. The pleasant personnel made me feel at home, ensuring that my evening started perfectly.

And let me tell you, the bar had an incredible selection of beverages, making it even harder to decide what to order!

But enough about the drinks; let’s get to the main attraction, the food! I ordered the Reuben with pastrami and fries, which were delicious.

Every bite was a mouthwatering explosion of flavors that left me wanting more. My friend opted for the Cowboy Up, and it was equally delicious – we couldn’t help but rave about our choices!

Reuben with pastrami and fries

What truly stood out to me, though, was the phenomenal service. Our server was quick and super attentive, dashing all over the place to ensure we had everything we needed. She did a fabulous job, making our evening even more enjoyable.

If you’re searching for a place in Lansing, MI, that offers delicious bar-like food and a charming atmosphere, look no further than The Rusty Mug Bar & Grill REO Town. 

It’s perfect for anyone looking for a memorable evening out, whether you’re a local or just passing through town. 

So, grab your friends, head on over, and let me know what you think! Cheers to great food and good times!

Maria’s Cuisine Mexican Food

516 E. César E. Chávez Ave., Lansing, MI 48906, United States // +15178834323

This place offers hands down the best Mexican food in Lansing! It’s got all the authentic flavors and style that the larger Mexican chains just can’t seem to capture, and at incredible prices to boot!

 The service was quick and efficient, making my mouth water in anticipation of the scrumptious dishes to come. 

I decided to go all in and ordered the birria tacos with consommé and the beef wet burrito – after all, why not try it all and save the leftovers for later?

The moment I took my first bite of the birria tacos, I was blown away! They were filled to the brim and had just the right amount of crunch on the shells. 

The consommé was equally impressive, perfectly complementing the tacos without overpowering their flavors. 

But the star of the show was a giant wet tortilla the size of a Chipotle burrito!

Every ingredient blended together beautifully, and the red sauce added that extra touch of deliciousness.

birria tacos

And let’s not forget about the hot sauce – it was awesome! It added heat without stealing the spotlight from the other flavors. The subtle balance of flavors made each dish truly memorable.

Of course, no meal is complete without dessert, so we indulged in the tres leches cake and flan. Let me tell you; they were absolutely divine! It was the perfect sweet ending to a fantastic dining experience.

So, if you’re craving some authentic and delicious Mexican cuisine in Lansing, look no further than Maria’s Cuisine Mexican Food. 

It’s a must-visit spot for anyone who appreciates true Mexican flavors in a friendly and cozy atmosphere. 

The Cosmos

1200 N. Larch St., Lansing, MI 48906, United States // +15178973563

I’ve got another delightful find for you in a Lansing, MI, Old Town restaurant – a cozy little spot called The Cosmos. At first glance, you might think it’s just another dive, but don’t let the modest exterior fool you. 

The Cosmos is connected to its neighboring bar/restaurant, Zoobies, sharing the same owner and kitchen. 

The real magic, however, happens inside, where they serve up some of the most outstanding thin-crust pizza I’ve ever had – it’s right up there with the best of Italy!

As you step inside, you’ll notice the rustic décor, which only adds to the charm of the place. But don’t let it deter you from dining here because the food is truly out of this world.

deviled eggs with bacon

Our culinary journey began with classic deviled eggs with bacon, which were nothing short of fantastic. 

The peach bruschetta was another crowd-pleaser, enjoyed by all at the table. However, the real star of the show was their pizza. These aren’t your average, run-of-the-mill pizzas you’ll find elsewhere.

We indulged in the black truffle chicken pie, which boasted an unbelievably thin and crispy crust. It was pure perfection!

Our waitress was an absolute delight, providing helpful suggestions and making our experience all the more enjoyable. 

To top it all off, the prices were quite reasonable, making the whole dining experience even more appealing.

So, my fellow pizza lovers, if you ever find yourself looking for pizza in Lansing, MI, make sure to pay a visit to The Cosmos. 

With its rustic charm, friendly staff, and absolutely mouthwatering pizza, it’s a must-visit destination for foodies everywhere.

Meat BBQ

1224 Turner Rd., Lansing, MI 48906, United States // +15175804400

There’s a spot you simply must add to your dining bucket list: Meat BBQ. This pearl of a BBQ restaurant in Lansing boasts a cozy atmosphere, eclectic decor, and a laid-back vibe perfect for enjoying good times and great food. 

Expect enormous amounts and a flavor explosion that will send your taste senses into a frenzy.

The tender, juicy meats are cooked to perfection, and the homemade sauces are nothing short of heavenly. 

Make sure you arrive with an appetite, as this place knows how to cater to meat lovers’ desires. And while dessert may not be on the menu, you’ll hardly notice with all the delectable goodness on your plate.

What truly makes Meat BBQ stand out is its warm, welcoming staff and relaxed ambiance, making it an ideal spot for any occasion – whether catching up with friends or dining solo.


Now, let’s talk appetizers. The Fried Pickles here were a delightful surprise, served in a “stringed” style that instantly became my new favorite way to enjoy them. In fact, I’m already planning my next visit to Lansing just for these pickles and a cold brew.

Meat BBQ offers an impressive selection of brews, from the robust Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Rasputin XX to the crisp Ellison Amber and the fruity Passion Fruit Kolsch. There’s truly something for every palate!

For my main dish, I savored the Fatty Brisket and a half rack of ribs, accompanied by Mac and Cheese, Slaw, and a side of French Fries.

 It was a royal feast that could easily satisfy two ravenous diners.

So, if you find yourself in Lansing and crave a down-to-earth BBQ experience complete with mouthwatering food, fantastic beer, and a friendly atmosphere, head to Meat BBQ in Old Town. Your taste buds will thank you!

Foodies Also Ask

What makes Old Town Lansing’s restaurant scene so unique?

Old Town Lansing’s restaurant scene offers a diverse mix of cuisines, atmospheres, and styles that cater to foodies and casual diners alike. 

From mouthwatering BBQ to authentic Mexican cuisine and cozy taverns to trendy bars, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this vibrant neighborhood.

Can I find any late-night dining options in Old Town Lansing?

While some restaurants in Old Town Lansing may close earlier, several spots offer late-night dining for those looking to satisfy their cravings after hours. It’s best to check with individual restaurants for their specific hours and late-night menu options.

Do I need a reservation to dine at Old Town Lansing restaurants?

While some restaurants in Old Town Lansing may accept walk-ins, making a reservation is always a good idea, especially during peak dining hours or for larger groups. 

Be sure to call the restaurant or check online for reservation options to ensure a hassle-free dining experience.

Is outdoor seating available at restaurants in Old Town Lansing?

Yes, several restaurants in Old Town Lansing offer outdoor seating options, perfect for those warm and sunny days. 

Be sure to check with the restaurant beforehand, as seating might be limited, and some may offer outdoor seating only seasonally.

Wrapping Up: The Seven Best Old Town Restaurants in Lansing MI

Alright, let me tell you – if you haven’t explored the food scene in Lansing’s Old Town yet, you are seriously missing out, my friend! 

This delightful neighborhood is packed with delicious eats and treats that will make you wonder why you didn’t discover it sooner. 

We’ve taken you through our top seven favorite Old Town restaurants, and trust me, they are all kinds of amazing!

Now, let’s not forget that the charm of Old Town Lansing goes beyond just the mouthwatering food. I mean, hello? Have you seen those charming streets, the historic buildings, and the thriving arts scene? 

You’ll feel like you’ve entered a new world, and the sense of community and creativity is contagious.

Why not make a day of it? After you’ve had your fill of the fantastic food Old Town Lansing has to offer (good luck choosing just one place to eat, by the way), take a relaxing walk along the scenic riverfront, or get your shop on at the quirky local stores, galleries, and boutiques. 

You never know what hidden gems you might stumble upon or the fascinating people you could meet!

The truth is, it’s the perfect blend of drool-worthy food, friendly vibes, and the lively spirit of the neighborhood that makes Old Town Lansing an absolute must-visit spot for all you food lovers and adventurers out there. 

Whether you’re a hardcore foodie, a laid-back grazer, or just craving a fun night on the town, there’s something here for everyone to enjoy.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your stretchy pants, round up your favorite foodie friends, and set off on a culinary adventure through the enchanting streets of Old Town Lansing. 

I guarantee you’ll be so obsessed with the flavors and atmosphere that you’ll start planning your next trip before your food coma even has a chance to set in. 

Here’s to discovering delicious delights and making memories in the irresistibly charming world of Old Town Lansing! Bon appétit!

Visiting other cities in Michigan? Check out our foodie guides to the following cities:

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