Etta’s Coffee House brings coffee and pastries to a small place in downtown Lansing

LANSING – When Coen McGarity was a boy, his grandmother would often sit with him while he talked about anything on his mind.

He remembers that Etta McGarity handed him a mug of hot chocolate, sipped her cup of coffee, and listened.

“I can still hear your words of encouragement,” said McGarity, 40. “She always said, ‘To be yourself is the golden ticket because there is no one like you.'”

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

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

“It is proudly presented,” said McGarity. “I did it because she loved me and I think this is a way to externalize and internalize her legacy.”

Coffee shops are so often places where people connect, and hopefully Ettas Coffee House in downtown Lansing will “community build”.

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

Coffee and pastries

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

The former vacuum shop near Lansing Brewing Co. has been empty for more than a decade and has required a lot of work.

The facade of Ettas Coffee House, photographed on Thursday, October 21, 2021, in Lansing.

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

Then he noticed the apartments near The Outfield that surrounded Jackson Field and across the street.

“And I was demographically thinking, oh damn yeah, definitely,” said McGarity, who rents the building.

When Etta’s opens, specialty and brewed coffee beverages and raw juices are served along with pastries and avocado toast. McGarity said the menu will include some gluten-free options. He hopes to add sandwiches and other items to his range in the future.

Customers will be able to order takeaway drinks and food, but there will be room for about 10 people, he said.

The establishment will be peaceful, said McGarity, and Etta’s will be a coffee house that you come as you are.

“It’s getting more modern, a warm feeling where the students can come in, sit down and study,” he said. “I hope the community will enjoy what I have to offer.”

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Hope to open in November

The exterior of the building is painted black and has the Etta’s Coffee House logo in white.

The interior has been updated, said McGarity, and it feels inviting.

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

“I want it to be a place where people can really connect and share stories, where they can sit and enjoy each other and talk,” he said.

McGarity hopes to open Etta’s sometime in November before Thanksgiving. He is waiting for some equipment to be installed and for the final inspection, he said.

He already feels that the Lansing community has accepted his coffee house.

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

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

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