Art’s Bar and Grill

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Art’s Bar and Grill is considered a Lansing landmark. I had always heard about the pizza and burgers in off-hand conversations at various social events, yet I had never been there. The time had come to see if it lived up to its legend. The Place and its People Established in 1948, Art’s is one of those quintessential neighborhood bars. In fact, they describe themselves as the result of rolling Cheers together with Spartan Stadium to create an atmosphere of sports, great food and fine spirits. In terms of “ambience,” Art’s serves up a very casual and relaxed space, complete with MSU sports murals and TV screens galore. A little rough around the edges perhaps, but that just lends to the idea that you can really let go and have a good time. The staff contributes to this feeling. They are friendly and attentive, and look to be enjoying themselves just as much as the patrons. The Food Now, I had been hearing about Art’s pizza forever. Everyone who has consumed it claims it is the best in town. This is high praise indeed. The pizza was great, don’t get me wrong, but I may have gone in with overly high expectations. “Solid” is the best way I can describe it. The crust is traditional hand-tossed, landing perfectly somewhere between light and heavy. The sauce has lots of tomato with a nice balance of spices. The cheese is thick without being overdone. Honestly … it’s solid. And the fact that there are slices available at all times for those sitting at the bar is beyond brilliant. I also got a little crazy and tried the taco pizza. It is a pizza crust topped with taco meat, vegetables, lots of olives, tortilla chips and cheddar cheese. If this wasn’t enough, they serve it with sour cream and a homemade salsa laced with serious jalapeño. Not your traditional pizza, but “MMM, MMM, good.” Though Art’s Bar does have healthy options, like nice salads and protein-driven choices, a majority of the menu is for those looking to throw down gastronomically with little regard to potential diet fall-out. A perfect example: the menu’s fried bologna sandwich. This option alone marks Art’s as a contender for perfect bar food. I was privileged to try the soup of the day, which was a crazy-rich concoction of ham chunks, potatoes, cheddar cheese and cream. Next up, and not for the meek, was the “Art’s Burger.” This is another item that they are known for. A bun, stabbed with toothpicks, hosted two seriously juicy hamburger patties and a stack of shaved ham. This was all cemented together with gooey, melty, drippy cheese. I am not sure what kind of cheese it was, and I am certain I don’t care. I think I may have even seen some onions somewhere. People, I am not kidding, this was a serious burger. Though normally served with chips and a pickle, I was blessed with a side of their hand-cut fries (which FYI can also be doused with chili and cheese if you are so inclined). Nobody call my doctor. It was go big or go home. Next up, and not for the meek, was the “Art’s Burger.” This is another item that they are known for. A bun, stabbed with toothpicks, hosted two seriously juicy hamburger patties and a stack of shaved ham. This was all cemented together with gooey, melty, drippy cheese. I am not sure what kind of cheese it was, and I am certain I don’t care. I think I may have even seen some onions somewhere. People, I am not kidding, this was a serious burger. Though normally served with chips and a pickle, I was blessed with a side of their hand-cut fries (which FYI can also be doused with chili and cheese if you are so inclined). Nobody call my doctor. It was go big or go home. The Beverages Art’s Bar and Grill probably doesn’t have a specialty martini and mojito menu, though I am confident theycould produce one on demand. They do, however, have what I like to call a “bowl of beer.” This is a 32 ounce pour served in a big ‘ol challis, for lack of a better word. Hey, why go small? Something has to hold up against that “Art’s Burger.” Again, nothing fancy here. Art’s delivers your typical barroom offerings with neighborly enthusiasm. The Value Art’s Bar and Grill definitely delivers on value. As far as entrees go, the most expensive item, a 10 oz. “Sizzler Steak,” doesn’t even break $10 and comes with a salad, baked potato or French fries and Texas toast. All sandwiches and hamburgers run between approximately $4 and $7. You only start to approach the $20 mark with large pizzas buried under the kitchen sink of toppings. You certainly can’t go wrong there. Final Note The city-famous pizza can be ordered “half-baked” to go. You pick it up, throw it in your oven at home for five minutes, and viola … Art’s from the comfort of your own couch.
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Tags: Art's Bar and Grill, pizza, Restaurant Review

Colette Evangelista

Colette Evangelista sells certified organic, non-toxic beauty, health, baby and home products at www.healthandhopeorganics.com. Twenty percent of her profits go to Ascending Above Autisim, a charity that helps parents pay for autism treatment.