Sam Short has been a science fiction fan since he was a kid.
Now he's created his own universe called The Cosmos.
In late January, Short opened a new pizzeria in Old Town that radiates sci-fi nostalgia. What's more, the restaurant plates up cuisine that propels pizzeria fare beyond the stratosphere.
"Science fiction gives us the most wondrous possibilities for progress," says Short. "And pairing it with wonderful and good food just made a lot of sense."
The 1,000-square foot restaurant at 611 E. Grand River is the previous home to Poppa Leo's and is attached to Zoobies Old Town Tavern
via a short hallway addition. The Cosmos is the second of three ventures undertaken by the Potent Potables Project—a restaurant group Short operates with Aaron Matthews and Alan Hooper. The first was Zoobies. And the third will be The Creole,
slated to open in early April.
"We're rehabbing part of Lansing's history and joining it with another historic part," says Short of connecting The Cosmos to Zoobies. "There's no sense in destroying an old building when you can repurpose it."
The Cosmos seats 48 people and when the weather warms up, will provide access to another 120 or so seats at an outdoor bar and roasting pit. Patrons can dine at old video consoles. Other tables and walls are decorated with sci-fi images of the 30s, 40s and 50s. Reproductions of nostalgic movie posters join phantasmal renditions of Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon painted by Detroit artist Jeremy Harvey, further satiating Lansing's appetite for unique dining and drinking venues.
Head Chef Dan Konopnick is the force behind the menu, applying his Johnson & Wales training to out-of-this-world variations on wood-fired pizza that feature Bosc pears, caramelized apples, onions, pancetta, and gorgonzola, arugula and house-made mozzarella cheeses. Konopnick will also continue to perfect his famous duck fat fries and sweet treats like homemade ice cream and donut bites.?
"I like the 'Trust Me,' pizza," says Short. "It's literally a special that Dan comes up with. You come in, say 'Trust Me' and Dan will bring out a pie that's his special of the day. His pizza is just fantastically good."
About 40 full- and part-time people work at both Zoobies and The Cosmos—nearly double the staff from six months ago.
Source: Sam Short, Co-Owner, The Cosmos
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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