There comes a time in every Lansing-area adult’s life when he or she begins to question whether or not they should dine at certain East Lansing establishments. You see, there are plenty of fun places, with great prices, but sometimes the price you actually pay is feeling a million years old as you are surrounded by youthful, fun-loving kids. That was sort of the way my hubby Matt and I had been feeling about Peppino’s Pizzeria and Sports Grille. Although we had heard great things, it seems like every time we were ready to eat there, the fear of being the oldest people in the place took over and we passed. But then, as luck would have it, my much younger cousin Gracie decided to hold her birthday party there and so we had a great excuse — and a table full of 22-year-olds — to hide behind. Thank you, Gracie! What we found in Peppino’s far outweighs any fear we had. The place has a somewhat classic bar vibe. It’s dimly lit and includes lots of fun sports memorabilia on the walls. In the spirit of Sparty, the décor utilizes a lot of green, white and there is an overall MSU vibe. There are garage-door style walls out front that allow the place to open up to their patio when weather allows. Overall the entire place is big. My cousin’s party was held in a kind of side room that was itself the size of a normal restaurant. There is a mix of tables and booths and as a bonus each booth has a personal TV at it (hello new game day spot!) and that’s just the start when it comes to TVs, the place is loaded. Also loaded? The multiple bars and menu. Peppino’s serves up pretty much any adult drink you can imagine, including a selection of Michigan craft beers. The menu is filled with bar classics like wings, breadsticks and cheese dip and more unique items like Arancini, a crunchy, creamy, cheesy risotto ball flash fried and served atop homemade margherita sauce and fresh basil pesto. There are pasta dishes like Amatriciana, which includes bacon, ham, garlic, tomatoes, fresh herbs, bow tie pasta and Romano cheese in a white wine sauce. There are steaks, chicken, seafood and even a couple of Tex-Mex selections. Oh and let’s not forget dessert and a slew of delicious-sounding sandwiches. But the real attraction at Peppino’s is, of course, the pizza. Because Matt and I have been married long enough to know when to agree to disagree, we have stopped trying to eat each other’s favorite pizza. Instead, the night we were at Peppino’s we each opted for a personal 10 inch pie. Matt went with his favorite — pepperoni, green peppers and onions. I went with my favorite — the Hawaiian, which at Peppino’s includes pineapple, bacon and ham. He choose the thin crust, I went for traditional. The pizza was so good. I actually can’t remember the last time I had pizza I liked that much. Perhaps I was in a pizza rut and just needed something new, but I have to think their pizza is special. In fact, what Matt and I did end up fighting about was who ate my leftover slices the next day (as he had finished his the night before). Peppino’s crust manages to be crispy and chewy and it’s topped with the perfect ratio of sauce, cheese and toppings. On a return visit with coworkers I suggested we try that unique appetizer — the Arancini — and so we did. It was a wonderful ball of cheese and rice. What’s not to like? My only change would have been to serve it a tad warmer. Will Matt and I be back to Peppino’s? YES! Will we always have to have a table of 22-year-olds with us? No. I think we are hip enough to manage it ourselves. Someday we might even be brave enough to head there for one of their weekday specials like their $2 10 inch pizzas on Monday. Let’s not forget they also serve up $2.75 domestic pints that day as well. Liquid courage anyone?
Emily Caswell is the Managing Editor of CAWLM. She has a passion for fun, family, friends, shopping sprees, cold drinks and Lansing.