If you haven’t yet visited Cleats Bar & Grille, you need to add it your “go there soon” list because it’s a winner! Tucked toward the back of the Hope Sports Complex this bar and grille will surprise and delight you!
With a full liquor license, an outdoor patio space that’s spacious and welcoming, incomparable staff and amazing food that looks as good as it tastes, Cleats is a casual dining experience created by owner Julie Mullin. She likes to keep it unique and fun, and has a special talent for providing a place where people love to get together.
Mullin is an innovative leader with a vision who knows how to coach and mentor others as well. Her story is one you’ll want to hear. It begins with the fact that Mullin’s family is athletic, and her children were very active in soccer. She and her daughter visited Europe in 2011 on a soccer trip when she noticed that the soccer fields there usually had a bar and grill on site. This meant parents could keep an eye of their young athletes while enjoying a meal with a drink themselves. It sparked the dream that became Cleats.
Owner of Michigan Chill soccer club, Mullin grew the club inspiring a need for a larger soccer facility. And, as a Lansing native she found the Hope Sports Complex that was being closed in 2013 because of its condition. Mullin learned all she could, consulted with experts and was able to gain a public/private proposal to lease the complex from the City of Lansing.
The Hope Sports Complex encompasses one hundred twenty acres with multi-sports fields, bleachers, event space, tents, beach volleyball courts, corn hole, plenty of space for kids to run around, and more.
The Nationals Soccer Club, one of the biggest soccer clubs in Michigan, calls the complex home. Mullin says as many as 5,000 to 6,000 people visit on tournament weekends. There are also events held here from Bridal, Baby Showers, Business Meetings, Sports, Celebrations of Life, Family & High School Reunions and Receptions.
Mullin never gave up her dream of offering a place where parents could enjoy drinks and food while their kids played so Cleats Bar & Grille became a reality. Asked about the name, Mullin thought about the fact that most of the athletes use cleats, and the word includes the word “Eats”.
When you first see Cleats Bar & Grille, you notice the beautiful patio and landscaping. Be sure to check the website for the schedule of live entertainment there. https://www.cleatsbarandgrille.com/events/ As you walk closer, you’ll see the main building is actually an industrial steel building with an expansive garage door opening. It’s decorated so people feel at ease but can see something interesting in every direction. Mullin says the building was completed by volunteers in just two weeks. When Cleats first opened the patrons were composed of about 95% sports families. Now, 70% of the patrons are from the general public.
Covid did have an impact on the evolution of Cleats. Mullin pivoted to offer curbside service in 2020, and added online ordering people love. Having an outdoor patio with occupancy of almost 600 people helps unite many families plus businesses for outdoor meetings after Covid.
There’s a generous food and drinks menu at Cleats because Mullin wanted people to enjoy a sandwich café but with cocktails. There is a 50 beer selection with 4 beers on tap. Cleats is known for the Blackened Chicken Street Tacos (a winner in the LugNuts Forks & Corks contest), great hamburgers with hand-cut French fries that take 24 hours to prepare just right, the house signature drink - Red or White Sangria, loaded Bloody Marys, small batch Mojitos and Margaritas, and a commitment to diners to make most everything from scratch!
Summer hours are Monday – Friday 4 p.m. – 9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Sunday 12 noon – 9 p.m. Lunch is available Monday – Friday 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Click on https://www.cleatsbarandgrille.com