Envie Expected to Bring Business, Jobs & Great Food to Downtown Lansing

It’s no secret that until recent years, Lansing’s local food scene has been sorely lacking. Farm to table, freshly produced and locally sourced foods are the biggest trends in the restaurant industry and Lansing is finally catching up. The greater Lansing region has been hungry for something more than just chain restaurants for a while, and – as indicated by the rise in local foodie joints popping up across town – local entrepreneurs have answered the call, creating restaurants like Capital Prime, Capital Vine, Black Cat Bistro, The Cosmos, Meat, The Creole, Saddleback BBQ, Red Haven and more.

This rise in locally-owned restaurants in Lansing isn’t just good for people’s stomachs, it’s also good for the local economy; creating jobs, generating foot traffic in city corridors and giving creative professionals an outlet to be successful.

Downtown Lansing is looking forward to welcoming yet another addition to the foodie bandwagon – Envie, a unique take on French cuisine, owned by James Cheskaty and Lance Davis.

Envie, French for “to desire food,” will be a casual, upscale dining destination serving modern food with a French twist. In terms of interior décor, think clean, white, cozy booths and a full service bar serving wine by the glass, in addition to unique and classic cocktails.

“Envie will be a wonderful addition to the downtown dining scene on Washington Square,” said Mindy Biladeau, executive director at Downtown Lansing Inc. “Offering French-inspired cuisine in a casual, up-scale environment should appeal to both the workplace and residential markets.”

While members in the community are excited about new eats, what many don’t realize is that restaurants like Envie are not just providing good food – they’re stimulating the economy.

In a study performed by the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) in 2015, researchers found and outlined what is called the multiplier effect; essentially, when more money is spent locally, it multiplies. This results in a higher rate of recirculate among local businesses and more local revenue. A noticeable benefit, opposed this influx of local spending being of benefit of national companies or franchises. Because most local businesses know this, most try to source products, which they sell or use, from other local businesses; fostering personal relationships between retailers and a stronger retention of local capital. The result? Buying local equals more local wealth.

The study takes a look at the local economic return for local independent businesses, versus chains. As the graph shows, the local recirculation of revenue in chain retailers is only 13.6 percent, whereas local recirculation of revenue for independent businesses sits at 48 percent; going toward profit and labor, procurement for internal use, procurement for resale and charitable giving.

Aside from the financial aspect of local restaurants and businesses, the social aspect is huge as well; local businesses that aren’t chains give their communities a unique character, and no one can put a price tag on that.

Cheskaty and Davis, who both have a long history working in the restaurant industry, plan to source as much local produce and product as possible. The duo’s extensive background includes establishments like Gilbert & Blake’s, Supu Sugoi, a pop-up restaurant series in Metro Lansing, Disney World, and more.

“We’ve worked together for years,” Davis said. The business partners met when they worked together at Gilbert and Blake’s. However, the vision for Envie came when the two realized the need for a unique dining opportunity in downtown Lansing. Envie will serve as a true dine-in experience, but will also have a grab-and-go service, which caters particularly to the lunch crowd.

The restaurant will bring approximately 20 jobs to downtown Lansing, and Cheskaty and Davis are hopeful that Envie will be an attractive destination for evening visitors to the downtown area as well.

“I want to create a place where I would want to eat,” said Cheskaty. “We’re excited to do it here in Lansing.”

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Megan Martin

Megan Martin

Megan Martin is a Communications Specialist at M3 group and a graduate of Calvin College in Grand Rapids. She is a foodie who loves art, tea, and anything outdoorsy.

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