Etta’s Coffee House to bring coffee and pastries to a little corner of downtown Lansing

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LANSING – When Coen McGarity was a boy, his grandmother often sat with him while he talked about whatever he thought.

He remembers Etta McGarity handing him a mug of hot chocolate, sipping her cup of coffee and listening.

“His words of encouragement, I can still hear them,” said McGarity, 40. “She used to say, ‘Being yourself is the golden ticket because there is no one like you.'”

Etta McGarity, who was born and raised in Texas, was 91 when she died in 2011.

When McGarity opens her little cafe on North Cedar Street next month, he’ll hang a framed photo of her on the wall inside.

“It will be proudly presented,” said McGarity. “I did it because she loved me and I think it’s a way to externalize and internalize her legacy on the road.”

Cafes are so often places where people connect, he said, and hopefully Etta’s Coffee House will “build a community” in downtown Lansing.

“I want to know the community,” McGarity said.

Coffee and pastries

The 700 square foot building at 316 N. Cedar St. was empty when McGarity, who lives in Royal Oak, first took a closer look at the space.

The old vacuum shop near Lansing Brewing Co. had been empty for over a decade and needed a lot of work.

The facade of Etta's Coffee House, pictured on Thursday October 21, 2021 in Lansing.

“But I knew,” McGarity said. “I saw Cedar Street, the traffic one way.”

Then he noted the nearby apartments at The Outfield surrounding Jackson Field and across the street.

“And I thought demographically, oh yeah, sure,” said McGarity, who rents the building.

When Etta’s opens, it will serve specialties and infused coffees and raw juices, as well as avocado pastries and toast. McGarity said the menu will include gluten-free options. He hopes to add sandwiches and other items to his offerings in the future.

Customers will be able to order drinks and food to take out, but there will be seating for around 10 people inside, he said.

The setting will be peaceful, McGarity said, and Etta will be an upcoming cafe.

“It will be more modern, a kind of warm feeling where students can come in, sit and study,” he said. “Hope the community likes what I’m going to have to offer.”

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Hoping for an opening in November

The exterior of the building was painted black and it features the Etta’s Coffee House logo in white.

The interior has been updated, McGarity said, and it’s welcoming.

Etta's Coffee House, pictured Thursday October 21, 2021 in Lansing.

“I want this to be a place where people really connect and share stories, where they can sit and have fun and have a conversation,” he said.

McGarity hopes to open Etta’s in November before Thanksgiving. He is awaiting the installation of some equipment and the final inspections, he said.

He already feels that the Lansing community has adopted his coffee.

“The response has been overwhelming every time I come over there,” said McGarity. “And I have some fun stuff planned.”

Contact Rachel Greco at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @GrecoatLSJ.


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