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Clara’s Lansing Station

November 26, 2010 Ashleigh

Courtesy of kalamazoorichard

Last weekend I decided to head to one of my favorite restaurants in the Lansing area, Clara’s! Clara’s is an ornately decorated restaurant located in the old train station (you can even eat in a train!). The walls are full of antiques to look at while you are waiting for your food.

Courtesy of petitshoo

We went on a Saturday evening and we were told we would have to wait, which was not a big deal. I try not to analyze how a restaurant is run, but there was something odd about our wait. We probably saw five groups leave before they called in a new group and this repeated for every group that was waiting. It was so ridiculous that I saw two groups get fed up and leave.

We were finally seated in the train section of the restaurant and I’d only been seated here twice before. This section of the restaurant is laid out with two rows of tables separated by a walkway that is a little wider than the average person. In other words, if there is a table across from you, you are sitting pretty close together and because of the acoustics in the train, we could here every conversation that the other tables were having (and so could everyone else. We heard people going off of other table’s conversations. It was uncomfortable to say the least).

The menu at Clara’s is very extensive with everything from pizza to enchiladas. The online menu is honestly 22 pages long! One of the greatest things about this restaurant is that they have something for even the pickiest eater!

I ordered the mushroom Swiss burger which has mushrooms, brown gravy, and Swiss cheese on a half-pound of fresh charbroiled ground beef on a egg Kaiser roll. I chose a side of Clara’s chips instead of fries. And these are like regular potato chips. These are a baked potato that is sliced and deep fried.

My dining partner ordered the Chicken Fajita sandwich. This is fajita seasoned chicken breast with marinated onions, bell peppers, and pepper jack cheese served with lettuce, tomato, and mayo on a sub bun. He had this with fries.

We waited and waited and waited for our food in that cramped train listening to everyone else’s conversations and trying to talk quietly so everyone couldn’t hear us. My seat was right about the heat register so that every time the heat went on it felt like my shoes were going to melt off.

When our food finally came we were so hungry that I forgot to take pictures (sorry!). But my burger was good and the chips were unique, but good. They looked burnt but they tasted great! His sandwich was so wet that it stuck to the plate and he had to eat it with a fork. Besides that, he said it was OK.

I hate to have to give such a negative review to this restaurant; as I said its one of my favorites in Lansing. They must’ve been having a bad day and I want to give my readers the full truth. So, I guess I have to recommend Clara’s with reservations. You may want to avoid it on a Saturday night after an MSU football game and ask for a table in the dining room, not the train.

I do want to mention that they have a brunch buffet on Sundays if that’s your thing.

Clara’s can be found on the web at They are located right off the railroad tracks in Lansing at 637 E. Michigan Ave.  They also have a location on the river in Battle Creek.

Clara's Lansing Station on Urbanspoon

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