Posted by: Kath Usitalo | January 5, 2010

Road Food Report: Golden Harvest

One man, one grill, one heck of a breakfast. Paige studies the menu as waitress Vanessa (left) waits for a plate from Zane, who is working his way through the line of order slips above the grill

It seemed like a good idea at the time: swing through Lansing for breakfast en route from our home in the 313 to Blue Skies, our place in the UP. We usually just barrel up I-75 to reach the Mackinac Bridge as quickly as possible, but a family’s got to eat, and the gang was game for a detour to the Capital City to fuel up on the most important meal of the day at the kooky diner with rave reviews.

Look for the pirate flag; you can't miss the joint---if you can find it

I’d heard about Golden Harvest from two trusted sources who advised there’d be a wait, but that it would be worth it. And that the funky building, on the north side of Lansing near the Old Town neighborhood, is off the beaten path in an industrial area.

They mentioned that Zane the tattooed cook (and co-owner) never stops moving as he fries jumbo eggs, mountains of potatoes, Paul Bunyan-sized pancakes, and various forms of pork on the grill in plain view of everyone packed into the tiny dining room.

That the décor is kitschy, the bottomless cup of coffee really good, the mood convivial, and that it’s open only for breakfast and lunch. They were right on all accounts (which is why I call them trusted sources). They didn’t mention the cash-only policy (but I kind of anticipated that), and that there would be a really looong wait. Or rather, a series of waits: a wait for a seat, a wait for Vanessa to take our orders, a wait for Zane to create each dish.

The decor is a feast for the eyes, and ranges from orginal art to photos and a collection of metal serving trays including a perky Strawberry Shortcake

Even the cover of the menu warns, “hang in there, we’re overworked and understaffed.”

TJ and the kids knew nothing about the joint but they’re used to driving miles out of the way to investigate this sight or that diner, so no one blinked an eye at the industrial neighborhood, the pirate flag marking the spot, or choice of skull and crossbones to represent the hash house. And no one complained that the breakfast experience added a couple of hours to our New Year’s trek Up North.

It helped that we landed front row seats facing the grill, so we had a floor show plus conversation with a regular seated next to us at the counter. (She said the place is usually less crowded weekdays after 9 a.m. when the bureaucrats head to work.)

Thankfully, all of the food was worth waiting for: TJ’s choice was Mar’s Scramble (eggs, turkey, veggies, cheese); Cornbeef Hash & Eggs for Graham; two thick and fluffy Bluenutchipberrycakes for Paige, and my favorite, the Breakfast Burrito.  With hashbrowns, homefries, toast and beverages, it was a day’s worth of food plus a cultural experience for less than $40.

If you don't mind a long wait for good food in an obscure location, check out Golden Harvest on Lansing's north side

Sometimes what seems like a good idea really does turn out that way. If you’re willing to make the time.



  1. Yummy AND fun…..what a great combo! Where do you come when you head UP here? I probably should know this, but it’s not coming out of my brain at the moment?!?

    • Definitely try Golden Harvest next time you’re in the Lansing area.

      Our place is in Naubinway, but we have relatives in Rock, L’Anse, Kearsarge, Ishpeming, Marquette, and elsewhere. Mom and Dad were born in Copper Country; his family home is located next to the stone boat on 41…we spent weeks each summer between Rock and the Keweenaw. Love it.

  2. […] sure to make time for breakfast or lunch at the Golden Harvest in Old Town […]

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