On October 18, 1982 Paul Grattarola purchased the restaurant (known at the time as Geno’s Restaurant) and renamed it “Crunchy’s” (Paul’s nickname from his College days).
Under Paul’s ownership the cities of East Lansing and Lansing were introduced to the “Best Burger in Town” – a ½lb Crunchy burger. The ½ lb Crunchy burger has kept this tradition for 32 years and is still the “Best Burger in Town”. As Crunchy’s was transformed from a traditional Italian restaurant into a more casual restaurant, Paul introduced yet another well known item to Crunchy’s – the bucket of beer. This bucket of beer, a full 270 ounces, continues to be a topic of conversation around many tables.
On October 14, of 1994 the reins of Crunchy’s exchanged hands to Dave & Vivian Milligan. The new owners took the successful restaurant it was and added their own touch. The first step, to some regular’s chagrin, was to switch up the beer selection from just Stroh’s; Dave introduced variety in beer. In early 1995 karaoke entered into the mix and to this day is still a “happening” event on Thursday, Friday and Saturdays. For many years, on occasional Wednesdays you could also experience Donn Dowland and his “politically incorrect music and humor”.
In summer/fall of 1998 Dave and Vivian expanded the size of the restaurant and added a patio to the mix. Unfortunately, because the construction was not finished, they missed the opening home football game in the fall of 1998. To go along with the increased size of the restaurant it was decided to once again mix up the beer selection. With a total of 12 taps, Crunchy’s began their entrance into the microbrew beer arena — ahead of the crowd. With the growing popularity of microbrews and the support of many Michigan microbrewers (and others), Crunchy’s now has 27 beers on tap. Crunchy’s has not only established itself as having the “best burger in town”, but also has gained recognition from many beer connoisseurs as having the “best taps in town”.
During Crunchy’s 35-year reign, it has always been a gathering place for sports fans, friends, neighbors, students and locals – of all ages. On occasion you might have seen the basketball, football and hockey coaches pass through the doors – and even the Stanley Cup and NCAA Hockey trophy.