A Taste Of The Restaurants In Eastwood's Expansion

Friday, March 16, 2012

On a sunny, unseasonably warm March afternoon, one of the favorite destinations in the Lansing area - Eastwood Towne Center - was bustling with people easing into springtime.

But just north of the mall is an area that, while still under construction, is bustling with potential for the future: the Eastwood expansion, a section with plans for residences, retail, green space, and restaurants.

There is still much work to be done, but there are two bright stars that are ready to get the ball rolling: Tony Sacco's Coal Oven Pizza and Bar 30, both set to open this year.

We met with Dan Zopf, operating partner of Tony Sacco's/Bar 30, and got a walk-through of the spaces that will soon be transformed into some of the hottest spots in the Lansing area. Zopf was born and raised in the Lansing area, and as a former GM at Mitchell's, has strong ties to Eastwood and the restaurant scene.

Tony Sacco's will offer coal oven pizza, as well as a variety of salads and sandwiches. Zopf explained that the Eastwood complex has been missing a pizza place, and Tony Sacco's will be unlike anything else in the area.

The restaurant will hold up to 170, including patio space for 20 outside. Zopf also said that heaters will be installed overhead, allowing for enough space and warmth to have diners eating al fresco for a majority of the year.

There are Tony Sacco's locations throughout the U.S. and in Michigan - Ann Arbor will also be opening a location in 2012.

Just next door is the site for Bar 30, the first of what could be many locations, Zopf and his partners hope. Bar 30 will be an upscale martini bar, bringing a sense of fun and nightlife to the Eastwood expansion area.

Between Tony Sacco's and Bar 30, around 200 employees will be hired, many of whom have been employees at other Eastwood businesses.

When we asked about the menu, Zopf explained that Bar 30 will offer everything "from french fries to filet", and will fit 250 people including outdoor seating.

Expect Bar 30 to be a go-to spot for everything from having a business lunch to catching a Michigan State game on one of its many big-screen TVs to being an upscale night out with a date or friends. Bar 30"�s large stage will feature local bands and musicians, and the DJ booth promises nights of dancing and rocking out to 70s, 80s, and 90s music.

As Zopf said, "come and bring your kids to Tony Sacco's for some pizza, have the babysitter come pick them up, go see a movie at NCG, and come back to Bar 30 for drinks and music." One perk of the Eastwood expansion that can't be found in the local downtown areas is the free parking. Patrons of Bar 30 and Tony Sacco's will be able to park in the lot out front without the need to validate parking or have extra quarters.

The completion of the retail space and parking structure just northeast of the restaurants will offer additional space for vehicles to park for free.

So now that the wintertime is becoming a distant memory, and daydreaming about open-air nights out is becoming a regular routine, the prospects at the Eastwood expansion are sounding as refreshing as lemonade on a sunny day.

When it comes to revitalizing the Lansing area with new hot spot destinations, Tony Sacco's and Bar 30 at the Eastwood expansion are getting the ball rolling in style.

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