East Lansing's Peanut Barrel sold to new owners

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

The Long Island iced tea will continue to flow at popular East Lansing hangout the Peanut Barrel bar and restaurant. 

The owners of more than 40 years, Joe and Jennifer Bell, have sold the business, however, to Mike Krueger and John Mosholder, the Lansing State Journal first reported.

Breanna Barksdale, 23, of East Lansing brings food out to customers at The Peanut Barrel in East Lansing, Mich on Sept. 2, 2020.

"Love and thanks to all you Nutheads," reads a statement from the Bell family posted last weekend on social media stating the couple would retire on Friday. 

"What a ride it’s been. We wish all the best and much success to Mike Krueger as he takes over the reins," reads the post. "And ... we’ll all meet up soon for another Happy Hour."

Krueger, a longtime Peanut Barrell customer, and his business partner Mosholder co-own nearby Crunchy's craft beer bar.

"The Peanut Barrel has been, frankly, my wife and I's favorite restaurant for years and years and years. We've been going there since we were 21 years old," Krueger said. "I've always been letting them (the Bells) know over the last couple of years, if you guys are ever interested in retiring please talk to me, because I would love to have the honor of taking over." 

Krueger told The News that he doesn't plan to change anything about the beloved business. 

"I think the transition should go fairly well," he said. "The culture that they have there, the way they've always treated their staff, the patrons, the regulars — you know, it's just a really, really good vibe."

The Peanut Barrel co-owner Joe Bell, 71, poses for a portrait at The Peanut Barrel in East Lansing, Mich on Sept. 2, 2020.

The Peanut Barrel bills itself as a “neighborhood bar” and serves a menu of burgers, sandwiches, salads and has about a dozen beers on tap. It may be best known for its attractive patio and famous Long Island Ice Tea drinks, which are just $5 on Sundays. Popular with Michigan State Students, the Barrell also has daily specials, happy hour and live music. 

Krueger said that while the Peanut Barrel and Crunchy's are completely different establishments, they both believe in putting customers and employees first. 

"I'm going to do my best to keep everybody happy and make the Bell's proud," he said.

According to its website, it first opened in 1973 as Jacks or Better Restaurant and was renamed the Peanut Barrel a year later. The Bells purchased it from originally owners Carol and Gordon Smith in 1979, and Krueger will take over as owner starting Friday, he told The News.

The Peanut Barrel is open daily for lunch and dinner at 521 E. Grand River, East Lansing. Call (517) 351-0608 or visit peanutbarrel.com.

Hannah Mackay contributed.


Twitter: @melodybaetens

The interior of The Peanut Barrel is pictured in East Lansing, Mich on Sept. 2, 2020.