REO TOWN: An Adventure Waiting to Happen

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There are so many great things happening over in that artsy stretch of Greater Lansing that everyone should be checking it out. Whether looking for a place to go for food, shopping, fun or a little creative merriment, REO Town offers up an endless array of options – not to mention something new is opening up all the time. For those who may not have been to the south end of downtown Lansing in a while, here is a small sampling of what you can expect to find.

Good Truckin’ Diner

First off, they have delicious coffee and a super-fun random collection of coffee mugs, so if you’re a coffee drinker expect to get a little surprise when visiting. The menu offers lots of options, including vegetarian and vegan dishes, and the tacos are amazing. The place has a real homey feel and there’s a lot of regulars. Some things to always expect: excellent service and a friendly staff, interesting art on the walls (right now they’re featuring local artist Paul Vetne), an overall good time, and – of course – great food.

Wheel House Studio

This space is just two doors down from the diner and is owned by area potter Dan Nunez. It just opened, and it is going to be one hot spot. It is a hands-on creative space that offers pottery classes, private pottery lessons and special events like pumpkin carving and a rumored cat-tree-building summit. As the holiday season approaches, Nunez will also have pottery for sale, and he makes beautiful things.

REO Town Marketplace

Looking for handmade items and fun finds? Then the marketplace is where all thrift lovers will want to be. It houses eight female-owned businesses, including Vintage Junkies, Blue Onyx Thrift, Community Finery, Home Made Capital City, Miss Laura’s Art Gallery, Bake Haus, T. Marie & Co. and the Thrift Witch. Between these establishments, one could leave with a new dress, a used book, fishnet stockings, a repurposed wooden coffee table, a Davy Jones album and so much more. The group also hosts some pop-ups regularly. Mark your calendar now for their Fall Artisan Pop-Up on Nov. 17.

Soulful Earth Herbals

This little shop carries all sorts of natural body products, soaps and other herbal potions, and it smells so good inside that you won’t want to leave. The owner, Kathaleen Parker, has a small on-site studio where she makes everything from scratch – and there are testers, so feel free to give everything a try. There are body butters, essential oils and face creams, toothpaste, deodorant, and other specialty items. This place is the perfect stop for anyone who is looking for healthy, sustainable, beautiful products. Also, makes sure to meet Zeus, one of the nicest dogs ever, who watches over the store.

Woke Mind Body Studio

Woke is new to the REO Town neighborhood. It’s owned by Jo Figueras and offers all sorts
of healing, metaphysical and spiritual services, including massage, chakra balancing, reiki
and more. They also provide a host of different classes and workshops. The front of the studio
is a retail space that offers, jewelry, incense, tarot cards and all sorts of other magical and
healing delights.

Blue Owl Coffee Co.

This cafe has a great vibe and a delicious menu featuring all sorts of coffee and tea delights. They exhibit local art and host monthly “Meet the Artist” nights. They have fabulous open-mic Monday nights; live music Fridays; and Saturdays they present Beats and Brews, which features DJ sets. Plus, check out their pop-up omelet brunch Sundays. Day or night, something is always going on at the Blue Owl.

REO Town Pub

This cozy pub is a popular fixture of REO Town and is known for its great beer selection and friendly, neighborhood atmosphere. They have live music Thursday nights, and Wednesdays are steak nights – get a grilled steak, baked potato and a salad plus two drinks all for only $12. Need a massage? Currently, they are hosting free five-minute massage nights Fridays and bucket drink specials – what a perfect pairing.

Scratching the surface

Hopefully, this little REO Town teaser will entice all to venture into this friendly, creative district. There is so much more to discover in this Greater Lansing gem, one couldn’t begin to share it all. It boasts lots of murals and other public art, it’s home to all sorts of unique festivals and events and many creative businesses call REO Town home as well. One could spend all day (and all night) in REO Town, and I recommend you do exactly that. To learn more about REO Town visit reo.town.

Other REO Town Spots to Visit

  • The Robin Theatre: They host amazing musicians at this venue as well as poets, comedians and more.
  • Jean Jean Vintage Jewelry Store: This is a go-to spot for vintage and antique jewelry, specializing in the 1920s through the 1940s.
  • The Artisan Company Spa and Salon: Treat yourself to a new look at this full-service salon.
  • Thriftique: This charming shop offers up boutique and thrift items from estate sales, salvage and more.
  • The Record Lounge: If you love vinyl, this is your spot for new, used and rare records of all kinds.
  • Saddleback BBQ: This award-winning restaurant serves up Southern-style barbecue with a Midwestern flair.
  • Coming soon: Ellison Brewery, Sleepwalker Spirits and Ale, Pablos and Rusty Nail.

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Dawn Gorman

Dawn Gorman is a writer, connector and creative who lives in Old Town, Lansing. She is the communications and events manager at the Arts Council of Greater Lansing and loves attending festivals and arts events. She jumps at any opportunity to talk about creative ideas.

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