1973 : Beggar’s Banquet Opens in East Lansing

February 8, 2023 all-day

On this day, Beggar’s Banquet opened in East Lansing, Michigan.

Founded by Robert Adler, a MSU graduate student, and three friends, Charlie Rose, Christopher Blunt, and Martin Richard, the restaurant’s name was taken from a Rolling Stones album.

Although the restaurant was noted for its higher end items like chicken kiev, liver pate, and roasted New York strip steak with Frence bordelaise sauce, the original menu also listed quirky items such as the Richard M. Nixon Memorial pickled bologna sandwich for 90 cents and a fiery bowl of chili called sympathy for the devil (another Rolling Stones song reference) priced at 95 cents and served with a draft beer for just a dime.

Governor Engler and Governor Blanchard used to eat there on occasion; and Governor Engler even had to wait at the bar until a seat opened up on the day he won his initial election.

One of the original partners, Charlie Rose, a big hockey fan, got Beggars to sponsor a pee wee hockey team.¬† Rose also helped organize and play in what became the legendary “Pigs vs. Freaks” football game, which raised money for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital¬† in Memphis, Tennessee.¬† One game had over 40,00o attendees in Spartan Stadium watching police members (pigs) battle against hippees (freaks) and was the inspiration for the movie Off Sides by MSU graduate Jack Epps Jr. of Top Gun fame.

Source : Bill Castanier, “Beggar’s Banquet Hosts 50th Anniversary Celebration”, The Pulse, Feb. 8-14, 2023.