Another East Lansing Restaurant...Could Be The One

A number of shops and restaurants open up in East Lansing every year and students either will go to them or let them bust. A new burger joint is making it's way to East Lansing. Check out the State News article about Five Guys Burger and Fries - Coming this Fall.

Five Guys to open franchise location in downtown E.L.

By Alanna Thiede(Last updated: 07/26/10 8:53pm)

Burger lovers in East Lansing and at MSU have something to look forward to this fall.

A franchise location of Five Guys Burgers and Fries will open in September at 623 E. Grand River Ave., replacing Take 2 Authentics, with construction beginning Monday, said owner Michael Abrams.

Burgers, the menu’s mainstay, will be customizable with 17 toppings, such as barbecue sauce, grilled mushrooms and cheese, Abrams said.

“You can have it any way you want,” he said.

The 2,850-square-foot restaurant also will offer fries, hot dogs, vegetable and grilled cheese sandwiches and beverages, Abrams said.

The first location was opened in Arlington, Va., by five brothers, said Molly Catalano, a spokeswoman for the franchise.

“We started with the five brothers, and in 1986 the three oldest were approaching college,” Catalano said. “Their father had saved a certain amount of money and told them they can go to college or open up a restaurant together.”

The brothers opened a restaurant and expanded to five locations, Catalano said.

In 2003, the first franchise opened and quickly increased to 637 locations across the country. The success comes from the simplicity of the restaurant, Catalano said.

“All of our focus is on the quality of the food and our employees,” she said.

Appealing to college students is the best way to succeed close to MSU’s campus, said Randy Brooks, a business administration graduate student who has eaten at the restaurant at another location.

“They have a good client base in this area, and they have good quality food,” Brooks said. “If it’s open late, it will probably do even better.”

The burger joint likely will be open late at night during weekends, Abrams said.

The nature of a downtown area combined with a nearby college makes businesses transient in East Lansing, said Lori Mullins, East Lansing community and economic development administrator.

Successful businesses need to develop a customer base with the permanent residents, Mullins said.

“We see a lot of turnover in restaurants and soft goods retailers,” she said. “It doesn’t have to do with the type of business, more of if they’re able to market themselves to multiple demographics.”

The Peanut Barrel, 521 E. Grand River Ave., relies on word of mouth to gain customers, said manager Eric Skusa. The Peanut Barrel has been serving burgers, fries and drinks for more than 30 years in East Lansing, and Skusa said he is not worried about having a new competitor.

“You build up a reputation,” he said. “Everybody feels welcomed here.”

Abrams said the owners had been looking for an East Lansing location for more than a year, and now that they have acquired one, it will succeed.

“We offer a great product at a reasonable price, a lot of jobs and a fun atmosphere,” he said.

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