COVID-19 devastated many restaurants and small businesses in Michigan. Yet some Lansing-area businesses chose to open despite the pandemic.
For Veg-N, a vegan and vegetarian restaurant on East César Chávez Avenue in the city, the deciding factor was ensuring customers would be safe. To that end, owner Christabelle Dozeman opted for to-go orders only.
“With the drive-through we were confident it was safe to open,” she said. “We still are not having dine-in.”
Owners of One North, located where Reno’s West was on West Saginaw Highway, hoped to open before the coronavirus hit. Once renovated, One North opened and today offers indoor dining, said Manager Jose Martinez.
“We really wanted to give ourselves a chance to be successful whenever we get to 100% capacity,” Martinez explained. “We figured opening as a carryout restaurant and doing some outdoor seating — we had our igloos out front — to get basically some practice gave us a chance to try it out and to get our cooks trained.”
Another pandemic opening was Wing Heaven Sports Haven on South MLK Boulevard, which touts itself as a nonalcohol sports bar. It enables families, as well as recovering substance abusers and people on parole, to have the sober sports bar experience.
“We have felt there was a need for a while, but the timing just happened to present itself because we had had the sober bar concept and then we had the opportunity to purchase a franchise,” said Teresa Stokes, co-owner with her wife, Ayanna Ballard. “So the timing just happened to come during this pandemic.”