At the corner of Shiawassee and Verlinden, is Lansing’s oldest, family-owned, still-in-business restaurant: Harry’s Place Bar & Grill.

Harry’s opened in 1921, over 100 years ago in the same spot where it currently sits. Their sister restaurant, Kewpee’s, opened two years later on the corner of Verlinden and Shiawassee. The café was built by GM founder Billy Durant as a place where Greek immigrant Harry Andros could feed the employees of Durant Motors. It wasn’t always called ‘Harry’s’…it began as the Star Café, named after the Durant Company’s ‘Star Car’. However, Durant Motors folded in 1929, but luckily, GM took over the plant and the workers continued eating at the cafe’, keeping Harry’s in business.

Harry’s was right across the street from Fisher Body Assembly, and all the Fisher Body workers would go to Harry’s for a 20-minute lunch and some beers after work. It wasn’t all roses and rainbows for Harry’s – they stuck out all the tough times that history threw at ‘em: GM strikes, Prohibition, and the thing that hurt the most: when Fisher Body shut down in 2005 after 70 years. With the closing of Fisher, 90% of Harry's business was lost.

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Even with this loss, Harry’s forged on, not ready to pack it in. They expanded the menu, added craft beers, have Fish Fry Fridays, and trivia games to bring in date couples and whole families.

What Billy Durant built and Harry Andros turned into a success, is now an iconic, historic Lansing establishment. Both men are gone…so I think you need to stop in sometime, pay your respects, soak up some iconic local atmosphere…and have a burger and a brew.

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