By Savannah Swix, Nadia Lorencz, Nicole Bush
Above: Listen to the sounds of a Sunday morning at Golden Harvest.
Location: 1625 Turner St, Lansing, MI 48906, Old Town Lansing
Clientele: There were some college-age students, but also an older crowd.
Atmosphere (decoration, overall vibe): Golden Harvest is unlike any other coney that you may have ever experienced. The decor is indescribable… No typical diner booths, lots of eclectic art, signs, stickers, photos, general decoupage.
Music/TV: Rock and punk, played loud on speakers.
Staff: Minimum. There was one head waitress and another food runner, one cook and another employee doing stock.
Floor plan and setup: Crowded – not a lot of extra space. Tables and chairs as well as bar seating.
Wait time/process: First-come, first-served. There was an hour wait when we arrived. We also waited another hour from the time we ordered food until we were served. Not seat yourself.
How do you pay: Cash only.
Wish I’d known going in: Long line outside, standing wait time.
“We went to the Golden Harvest for breakfast around 8:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning. I was immediately drawn to the unique decor of its exterior. The small, blue building was covered with vintage toys – action figures, old penny rides – and rustic signage. Even in the early hours of the morning, the restaurant was packed and so we ended up waiting in line outside for about an hour. We had expected to wait after reading other customer reviews, but wow it was cold! When it was time for us to move inside and sit down, we walked in and were hit by the loud punk rock music. Definitely not your usual coney! We ordered our food almost immediately, eager to fill our hungry bellies. We waited another hour for our food to arrive. I got the french toast, potatoes and sausage. It was really good, but it didn’t stand out to me as much as I thought it would. I had heard amazing things about this place and because we waited for two hours in total, I suppose that I had high expectations. If I went back, I would probably order something from their specials menu in order to get a taste for what the people who work there recommend to newcomers.”
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
“I’ve been to Golden Harvest before and knew what I was getting myself into. Though, the last time I’d been it was summer so the hour stand outside in February was something to plan for. I wore some extra clothes, but by the end of our wait, my feet were going numb. When we got inside it was crowded, the music was loud, the service was slow, but the place is interesting with its eclectic menagerie of stuff on the walls. There’s a charm to Golden Harvest that, when paired with good company, makes the long wait, slow service, loud music and paying in cash somehow just part of the experience. I only ever order one thing when I go to GH and that’s a breakfast burrito with chorizo and it’s great every time. Though the service is often slow, there’s something special about seeing a staff just working their asses off for a business they love. I would/will go back to Golden Harvest.”
Rating 4.5/5 stars
“It was my first time going to Golden Harvest this past Sunday and I can say that it was quite the experience. Although I did have to wait in line for just over an hour, the trinkets that covered the building kept my mind off of the wait. The restaurant has an eclectic/ small town feel which was refreshing from most restaurants in the Lansing area. Once I was inside, I ordered a Belgian waffle and two eggs. I can say that I was very disappointed in the wait time to get the food. It took almost another full hour before our food came out which didn’t help out with my overall experience. I wasn’t a huge fan of the atmosphere. Yes- I enjoyed that the atmosphere was one where you’re free to be yourself without being judged, but the loud music made it almost impossible to have a conversation with the person right next to you. Also the waitress wasn’t as friendly as most and seemed to be in a rush (which I do understand). I definitely don’t think that I will go to Golden Harvest again. Between the long wait, subpar food, and average customer service, It’s not a place that interests me enough to go back.”
Rating 2.5/5 stars
Above: Grace Guideau, from Leo’s Coney Island, and Rebecca Smalley, from Hannah’s Koney Island, answer the question about what makes their customers choose them over other locations.
Location: 333 Albert Ave, East Lansing, MI 48823 | In the middle of East Lansing’s downtown area, just one block from campus of Michigan State University and close to off-campus student housing and residential areas.
Clientele: Mostly students, but we were told that visitors from the Marriott Hotel connected to the restaurant are common customers as well.
Atmosphere (decoration, overall vibe): Typical of what you might expect of a standard coney island.
Music/TV: ESPN on the TV and Top 40 music (One Direction, 5 Seconds of Summer, etc.)
Staff: Very friendly and attentive.
Floor plan and setup: Windows for lots of good people-watching. Booths, tables and bar seating.
Wait time/process: Seat yourself.
How do you pay: Take your bill to the register.
“You can almost always count on a Leo’s Coney Island. They’re everywhere, which means everyone you know has probably been to one. We arrived pre-dinner rush (around 5 p.m.), so the restaurant was basically empty when we walked in. Our server was super friendly and accommodating. She checked in on us frequently, but also gave us time to enjoy our meal and each other’s company. I ordered the chef salad and a side of chili-cheese fries, because who can resist going to a coney island and ordering something so delicious and essential to coney culture? I really enjoyed the food. It was quickly prepared and served after we ordered, which was great because after a long day of class, sometimes you just need to eat! The overall feel of Leo’s was pretty basic and what you’d expect of a coney island. When we were there, the only other customers were college students, so it felt very relaxed and low-key. I will be back.”
Rating: 5/5 stars
“I’ve been here before and I’d come back with friends if I was in the area. Because it’s perfectly located in downtown East Lansing. To me, Leo’s is the quintessential college town diner with the good booths where you have to annoyingly take your bill up to the counter check out. The thing I like about Leo’s is that I know what I’m going to get when I go there: decent food for a decent price and lots of people enjoying a morning in sacred breakfasthood. But, I had a club sandwich and it was dinner time.”
Rating: 3/5 stars
“Leo’s is one place that you neither love nor hate. The food was pretty good- the portions were huge and prices were very reasonable. It’s located in such a convenient place, which makes it a hotspot for Saturday mornings when you’ve got a hangover that only breakfast food can solve. I will definitely go back especially after trying their greek salad which was large enough to last me 2 meals!”
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Location: 4790 Hagadorn Rd #110, East Lansing, MI 48823 | Hannah Plaza on Hagadorn Road near the campus of Michigan State University.
Clientele: A mixture of students and city residents. Location close to campus makes it an easy option for students in the dorms across the street. Also, a local ice rink brings in some customers, according to staff.
Atmosphere (decoration, overall vibe): Very welcoming, quiet place to come on a weekday morning and finish a few emails or cram for an exam. There was even a few decorations for Valentine’s Day. Some oil-type canvas paintings hung on the bright orange walls. They depicted what almost looked like the mediterranean. Modern cafe decor.
Staff: Friendly and energetic, even during an early morning meal.
Floor plan and setup: Spacious with booths and tables. One cool detail was the open, unfinished ceiling. Very authentic-looking.
Wait time/process: No wait time. Quickly served.
How do you pay: Paid from our table.
“I really enjoyed Hannah’s Koney. I have never eaten there before, so I had very few expectations going in. It’s a very quiet and cozy, down-to-earth restaurant. I kept saying that It reminded me of Central Perk from the TV show Friends. I think the way it was decorated led me to picture that. For breakfast, I ordered a custom omelette with potatoes and wheat toast. I enjoyed the food. My potatoes were a little cold, but overall I was very happy with the meal! I would return someday!”
“Hannah’s Koney is a diner-cafe hybrid. It has a more community feel than a college feel. It’s got booths, which is important to me. After talking to the a member of the staff I realized why the food was better than I expected it to be and that’s because they use fresh ingredients and make things in-house. I’ve been here before and I’d come back again. Oh, I had biscuits and gravy and liked it.”
Rating: 4/5 stars
“Hannah’s Koney was probably my favorite overall. The food was great, the service was great and the environment was… you guessed it, great! I loved that so many items on their menu are fresh and homemade. The restaurant wasn’t crowded with college students which created a very laid back atmosphere. As far as their food: they had an interesting take on staple breakfast foods. I ordered a short stack of their cookies and cream pancakes, which I loved. Great place, I will definitely go back.”
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
The three coneys that we visited were all unique in their own way. Some parts we enjoyed more than others, but overall our experiences were good ones. Golden Harvest showed us an unorthodox option for a meal. Leo’s Coney Island was a familiar, local choice with an atmosphere that made us feel right at home amongst fellow students. However, Hannah’s Koney definitely knocked it out of the park overall. With an average rating of 4.17 out of 5 stars, it made an impression on us.
All in all, we learned that if a place has character and reviews very well, it will draw people to it, like Golden Harvest. However, for places like Leo’s and Hannah’s convenience is one of the more important qualities for customers, especially in terms of location. For Leo’s, because it is in downtown, it brings in a lot of students and therefore cater to them more. For Hannah’s it was a mostly location, but a location that drew in college students as well as families. A factor that can push you over into high ratings, like Hannah’s, is when you mix character and convenience.
Average review total: 3.5/5 stars
Experience not location
Leo’s Coney Island
Average review total: 3.83/5 stars
Location – near downtown and attached to a Marriott
Hannah Koney Island
Average review total: 4.17/5 stars
Location and food (try to use local or fresh food products)