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GABRIELLE LAWRENCE

I turned 40 this week. I have spent most of my life living in Lansing and I am proud to be a city dweller who camped at the Fenner Nature Center and Turner Dodge House as a child, whose first job was at Moores Park Basin, who remembers that the first season of Lugnuts (and the confusion I had as a teenager because of the name – what are lugnuts?). But this month’s nutrition challenge shows that even longtime lanstronauts can learn a thing or two about this community — and find a new favorite breakfast in the meantime.

Until a month ago, I had never been to Gregory’s. Of course I knew where it was, and I know well-deserved knowledge of the owner, Gregory Eaton, who maintains an absolutely immaculate landscape setting in his front yard, which I drive past several times a day, driving in and out. our general area. I met my co-reviewer and another former classmate of ours (Go Big Reds!) at lunch one recent weekday, and we set about choosing as large a section of the menu as possible.

My favorite was the fried shrimp. The dough was light, which I prefer, and the shrimp were big, juicy, and flavorful. Of the 10 that ended up in our basket, at least half I took off myself. I will forever order fried shrimp. Second place went to the famous wings, again lightly breaded and deep fried. Both baskets contained corn muffins and garlic toast, but I quickly noticed the wide selection of toppings we chose.

Black-eyed peas were my favorite in this bunch. I love all varieties of beans and I strongly believe that simple preparation is best. These beans were creamy but retained their texture. They were only slightly sharp. In a word, they were perfect. My companions have swallowed the dressing, and although this is not always my natural inclination, I will withhold judgment on this matter, because I do not prefer any dressing or topping that I have ever eaten. I didn’t like macaroni and cheese – my standards are very strict and I like the dish to have a little more texture in the form of breadcrumbs or toasted panko. The fries were milquetoast and while the spiced fries would have been a nice surprise, I’m willing to overlook them due to the absolutely legendary status of the shrimp and wings.

We also ordered a New York style strip steak to share at the suggestion of the waiter. While the $17.25 12-ounce steak provides incredible bang for your buck, ours was tragically overcooked. Alas, maybe we shouldn’t have eaten the whole steak at lunch time on Monday.

On a return visit, I ordered a takeaway breakfast for the family. Mr. Shi Ate chose a meat omelette that included ham, bacon, sausage and cheddar cheese. First, the omelettes are really big and come with homemade fries and toast. My husband spent the rest of the day talking about homemade fries. He said he had never seen such hot potatoes. He couldn’t stop writing poetry about the texture of homemade fries and the perfection of bacon.

I opted for a farmhouse omelet stuffed with diced ham, chopped onion and cheddar cheese. I loved the onion slice with the spiciness of the cheddar, and next time I’m looking forward to trying the veggie omelette with its delicious-sounding combination of green peppers and mushrooms. I also really want to try fried shrimp and grits with toast.

The babies she ate shared an order of pancakes and bacon. The pancakes were not at all what I expected and I mean in the best possible way. They were thin—almost as thin as pancakes—and more spicy than sweet. My 2.5 year old daughter got her money’s worth for her newly developed fork skills and gobbled up two pancakes barely airborne. A four year old loves bacon and is also a very thoughtful eater (I don’t like to call kids “picky” eaters). Well, he found something he liked at Gregory’s and ate three big slices of bacon. fast.

My late beloved former colleague on the Lansing School Board, Shirley Rogers, promised me that she would take me with her to Gregory. We never had a chance. When I sat with Brian Beverly, who also loved Shirley, I felt that she was with us. I know she would love it if we were there, together, silently, but undeniably, thinking of her. Shirley, I promise that the next time I’m back with Gregory, I’ll take my beautiful ass husband with me.

BRIAN BEVERLY

The black-owned bars in Lansing have a rich heritage as an after-work drink and a variety of life celebrations (birthdays, anniversaries, and memorial meals). Soul or Southern cuisine often takes center stage. In the early 1950s, Sonny Adams opened the Tropicana Lounge on the corner of Division and William Streets, near the Oldsmobile main gate. The establishment advertised fine dining and cocktails featuring jazz bands. In the early 1970s, Starr’s Black & Tan opened nearby on River Street, owned and operated by Roland Starr. Black & Tan was known for its marinated pork knuckles, eggs, sausage, and homemade burgers. The establishment hosted several themed nights in a large banquet hall with space for funk, soul and Latin American bands. Around this time, Gregory Eaton, a Lansing native and Michigan’s first black lobbyist, opened The Garage on Capitol Avenue. A favorite nightclub for local business, education, statesmen, and workers, Garage offered menu items called Hub Cap, Tail Pipe, and Rolls Rueben. The garage closed in 1991, but Eaton soon opened on North Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard as Gregory’s Soul Food. Gregory’s still draws crowds for big gatherings and music, but has also carved out a niche as a Mecca of soul food in the capital.

What is decent

When I was younger, I had food prepared by my grandmother and I have a clear idea of ​​what good soul food looks like. It also means my bar is set pretty high. With that said, the kale and Mac & Cheese are Gregory’s were respectable – I just can’t call them great. The greens were flavorful and the pieces of smoked meat simmered slowly with them, but they were priced lower than other foods I’ve tried. They were also a bit stiffer than I like, but that’s probably personal preference. Likewise, from a Mac’s point of view and

Cheese, I’m usually in the baked pasta camp, and while that was acceptable, it wasn’t a standout player like some of the other parties.

What is really good

Gregory’s are known for their wings, and I’ll tell you, they didn’t disappoint. They turn golden brown and very hot, so it’s best to break the wings apart to let them cool for a few seconds before putting them in your mouth. When you get the chance to taste them, the crispy skins and seasonings will amaze your taste buds. I prefer mine with a dash of hot sauce, a move my fellow rookies have emulated. Next, the dressing (not to be confused with the stuffing) is great too. The flavorful cornbread casserole dish includes shredded turkey, celery and plenty of sage. I’m also a big fan of black-eyed peas and rice, as well as yams, traditional southern favorites. The peas are savory and smoky with a slight burst of heat at the end. The yam is served in delicious syrup but is too popular as it is not always found on the menu.

Best Bite

Draw this month. First, the fried shrimp at Gregory’s is a secret gem. The chicken is getting a lot of acclaim, and rightly so, but I’ll bet these shrimp against any of the “You buy, we fry” fish markets that have become popular in the city. Beaten and browned to perfection, the shrimp are large and well seasoned, perfect with a basket of fries or onion rings. Further, while chicken and waffles are popular menu items at many soul food restaurants around the country, I prefer fried blue whiting (fish) to waffles. The cornmeal crust serves as a textural contrast to the airy, freshly baked waffle. I’m tossing in my hot sauce and syrup and honestly can’t wait to come back for more this weekend.

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