Typically, I don’t go for “bar food”- it must be really special if I’m going to submit to the kind of calories you ingest with this type of cuisine. That said, I’ve been around Lansing since the Nuthouse was built across the street from our A-team stadium (recently renamed Jackson Stadium) which is home to the Lansing Lugnuts.
Ambience: exactly what you’d expect from a “sports grill” – a bunch of TVs, usually tuned into sports, a long bar with a chalkboard showing specials, pool tables, and plenty of restaurant-style seating, including 2 patios when the weather is warmer. It’s a great spot for groups of friends and, being across from the stadium, is pretty kid-friendly as long as it’s early in the evening before more patrons are there for drinks than food.
The menu is a play on baseball (of course!). You might not see the best reviews on the review sites, but as a local and a foodie, I assure you: if you order the right stuff you will be more than happy. The menu is divided up into sections like “The Opening Pitch” for appetizers, “Field of Greens” for salads and one of my favorite sections: “Homerun Grinders.”
The Opening Pitch section is full of fabulousness- you can’t go wrong. However, if you like cheese bread you must try the Nutty Cheese Bread – I add pepperoni. This stuff comes with dipping options, and I’m imploring you, not just recommending, to get the dill dip. It is a perfect replica of the original dill dip any Michigan State University or Western Michigan University grads will remember from the old Bilbo’s. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you will understand why I mention it if you taste it.
I have two default orders. First is the Philly Cheesesteak. Be warned if you’re a traditionalist and persnickety about it, this Philly isn’t traditional. If you’re a foodie that wants to try all versions of things you love and you love sandwiches, I recommend it highly! It is served up as a grinder option on the menu and it is toasty, melty, and filled with beef. You get shaved ribeye and cream cheese (yes, I know, but I said it wasn’t traditional!) with peppers and onions just like on the east coast.
It’s easy for this sandwich to become a craving and for me, it is. Living on the next block, I am fortunate I can run over and grab one to-go!
My second go-to: the BLT (and it is truly stacked!). I always order it on wheat with American cheese. And I sub out broccoli for the fries (I know- it seems strange, but I like a vegetable with heavy food sometimes!). The bread is toasted perfectly (I’m pretty certain there’s butter all over it) and you get a half pound of bacon, thick cut. The lettuce is shredded and always fresh. So delish.
For a salad I’d recommend the buffalo chicken salad, which I’ve tried myself and watched others devour. They do a terrific job with the flavor on the chicken and the serving is a decent size for an entrée. It’s a great option for a hot day on the patio.
And the burgers are also well worth trying. The “Black and Bleu” burger is a favorite of my significant other’s – he almost always orders it. This burger has the perfect amount of blackening seasoning and is always cooked to order (we tend to go medium). Of course I’ll add that it has a healthy amount of bleu cheese. The burgers are good so if this recipe isn’t your thing and you’re wanting one, don’t hesitate to try another selection off the “All-Star Hitters” section of the menu.
If you’re heading down Michigan Avenue towards the State Capitol, look for the giant lugnut, a nod to Lansing’s automotive history, shooting into the sky, and grab a spot in the tiny lot or at a meter on Michigan Avenue. Just give the Nuthouse a try. Unless there’s a game happening, parking is never really an issue.
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