Smoked brisket. Banh mi. Data plans. What do these things have in common? Capital City BBQ.
The Lansing-based restaurant doesn’t just double as a barbecue joint and an authentic Vietnamese eatery, but triples as a Boost Mobile store. Co-owners-turned-couple Regan Louchart and Linh Lee spent years developing recipes while building a full kitchen in the 1,300-square-foot Boost Mobile store, previously owned by Lee.
Arriving at the restaurant for the first time, I gazed at the quaint corner-spot a bit unsure—but was delighted the moment I walked in. The smell of barbecue overpowered my senses and lifted me toward the counter to order. I must have spent 10 minutes chatting with the employee about the best dishes on both their barbecue and Vietnamese menus. After ordering a little of everything, I finally sat down to take in the space.
The interior was charming and comfortable, complete with only a few tables to seat customers. One wall was dominated by a Boost Mobile counter, the other by the kitchen. A signed, poster-size photo of Guy Fieri hung framed on the wall—that’s right, Guy Fieri visited Capital City BBQ in 2017 for his Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (and loved it).
While waiting for my food, I had the chance to chat with the owners and get to know their business. Let me just say, these may be the kindest people I’ve ever met. They are obviously passionate about serving delicious food and making their customers happy, and their passion made me passionate about eating their food. Being at Capital City BBQ felt like sitting at a familiar hometown diner, where a lighthearted spirit fills the room and everyone chats and smiles with one another.
I was then served my meal: the “Steer Clear” beef brisket sandwich, the “Sweet Chick” smoked pulled chicken sandwich, french fries, baked mac & cheese, goi cuon (Vietnamese spring rolls) and pho (Vietnamese soup). While I wasn’t able to finish eating everything (for obvious reasons), I certainly wanted to. The barbecued meat was immensely flavorful and satisfying, and the paired sides complemented every. single. bite. The goi cuon and pho were refreshing, delicious and vividly authentic.
After attempting to finish my meal and boxing everything up to enjoy later at home, Lee—being the sweetest woman in the world—brought me a steaming plate of peach cobbler with scoops of vanilla ice cream on top. Somehow making room in my full stomach, I tasted the cobbler and couldn’t help but enjoy its sheer perfection. Lee went out of her way to make sure everything looked and tasted perfect, and I’d say she was quite successful.
Whether you’re looking for authentic Vietnamese dishes or juicy barbecue (or both), Capital City BBQ has something on their menu that will satisfy everyone. Be sure to stop in next time you’re in Lansing, located at 1026 W. Saginaw St. (inside Sunshine Cellular). They’re open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and closed on Sunday.
Cassidy Johncox is a senior studying professional writing with a focus in editing and publishing. When she isn’t working, you can find her reading, writing or playing video games (…mostly video games).