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Road Trip Tips: East Lansing

Sep 14, 2012, 10:03 AM EDT

Sept. 17, 2011; South Bend, IN, USA;

Heading to the game this weekend? We recently caught up with Notre Dame senior Patrick Staudt, an East Lansing native, who shared his thoughts on the sights to see and places to eat near the Michigan State campus. Check them out below.

MSU has a really nice campus (Not nearly as nice as ours, but then again whose is?). The Red Cedar River zigs and zags its way throughout the university, which is one of the largest connected campuses in the country, when accounting for all of the farmland and agriculture study that is attached to the south of the main campus. MSU has the #1 turfgrass school in the country and the grass that was used in the stadium for the Beijing Olympics in 2008 was an MSU product.

In terms of food, there are plenty of good places to go. Michigan State has one of the best college strips in the country. Grand River Avenue lies just to the north of campus and the strip runs for a few miles full of college bars and eateries. My favorite places to go when I come back home however, are not located at this place, but are close by on various sides of campus. I will list them in order of preference, with the best going first.

  • Big John Steak and Onion: If Big John’s was in Eddy Street Commons, Chipotle might be out of business. Fresh grilled steak subs with cheese onions, banana peppers and a homemade sauce that is to die for. If you use the sauce you can’t lose. The closest one is located just to the west of campus on the north side of the Frandor Shopping Center.
  • Menna’s Joint: Let me introduce you to the Dub. A tortilla filled with pretty much anything you please, a little sour cream, and then grilled to perfection; a perfect college eatery with two locations. One just to the east of campus in the Hannah Plaza next to Pizza House and the other just to the north of campus on Albert Avenue.
  • Pizza: There are many great places to get pizza in EL, but Pizza House is its own animal, serving up the best of Chicago style deep-dish just to the east of campus in the Hannah Plaza off Hagadorn Road. It is a sit down restaurant with takeout available, but has plenty of TVs to watch all of the college football glory.
  • Breakfast: For those Domers who will be staying in EL overnight following the Irish victory, there is a classic diner style restaurant on the west side of the Frandor Shopping Center; Sparty’s Coney Island. Sure the hot dogs are great and you can order those at any time, but in the morning the pancakes are bigger than the size mismatch between Tyler Eifert and a Spartan cornerback. Other local favorites are excellent as well.

If Irish fans are just craving that pint of Guinness, there is an Irish pub just a block north of campus – Dublin Square serves up all the Irish food and drinks, and will see its fair share of Domers on game day.

While there certainly aren’t many amazing attractions for fans to see in the city, EL is a great college town with plenty of vibe on gamedays, especially night games. One of the sights for Domers to see is the plethora of frats located in prominent areas along the main strip and around campus, that begin tailgating early in the morning. It is a sight to see.

For a few moments I debate whether frats would be something that Notre Dame would come to cherish, but then I think to myself…academic excellence is so much cooler. #1 Undergraduate Business School for 3 years in a row looks mighty fine on a resume.

Spartan Stadium upgraded its video boards and sound system before the season. For the Irish fans attending the game, it will be something to look at to see if they would help the home field advantage at Notre Dame…and the debate goes on, along with the Fighting Irish winning streak.

Go Irish.

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