Sometimes you just want comfort food. And Italian comfort food is at the top of my list. Especially when it’s DeLuca’s, an iconic restaurant. I’ve often said to people not from around here that most people think of cars when they think of Lansing Michigan. Just left of Flint and Detroit on the map, a few things are a given around here, like coney sauce, olive burgers, and of course, a culture steeped in automotive history. And in a way, DeLuca’s is part of that automotive history.
Lansing is where RE Olds rolled out the Curved-Dash Oldsmobile in 1902, the first “high production” automobile produced. Side note: You can see one of these after landing at the Capitol Region International Airport.
We are known for continuing the tradition of mass-producing vehicles, currently including Camaros and Cadillacs. Located just a few miles from GM’s old westside car assembly which operated until about 2005, DeLuca’s has been a staple for serving up meals to auto workers, and of course their families.
What started as a food stop for many GM employees is now a family restaurant, well-known by all who call Lansing home nowadays. This place is simply fantastic. It’s a freestanding brick building in an area of Lansing tucked away from other restaurants near a metals distributor and service center. The interior is filled with warm wood, booths with vinyl and they offer up scrumptious homemade sauces. The family that owns this restaurant takes clear pride in it and the service is always on point.
There is a huge following for (and a great argument to try) the pizza. Obviously, you can choose your items, but DeLuca’s has created some interesting, tasty, options. One of my favorites was always the BLT pizza back in my “working in an office” days and we had it delivered. It is astounding how good mayo can be on a pizza with crisp bacon and fresh lettuce and tomato. Other ideas they came up with include a “Philadelphia Special” with all the ingredients you’d find on a cheesesteak, “Hawaiian” (and they suggest you add bacon!), “Potato” (which includes broccoli!) and “Buffalo Chicken” – to name a few.
But the pizza is not what draws me in to DeLuca’s; my perfect meal is the baked fettucine alfredo, extra baked (the mozzarella gets so crispy!) with pepperoni added. That’s off-menu but I guarantee you should request it. I know my friend Deb has started ordering it and one of their servers told me it looked amazing as she set it down in front of me, letting me know she was going to steal the idea and order it for herself. Maybe someday it’ll make the menu! For your side on this or any entrée, get the salad, always fresh and with any of the home-made dressings. My personal faves are their ranch and thousand-island.
Going low-carb? No problem. I did a little phase of keto and although it sounds crazy this would be on my restaurant list, as it’s a venue full of pizza and pasta, I found an outstanding alternative on the menu: the chopped steak entrée. It is smothered with cheese, mushrooms, and onions. You can get a side of broccoli and it is one of the tastiest low-carb meals I’ve tried.
In closing, if you’re interested in the car stuff, be sure to hit up the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum a few blocks from the State Capitol (once featured on American Pickers!) as well as the Michigan Library and Historical Center (which covers way more than cars!).