Recently, we found out about and mourned the loss of another restaurant in the greater-Lansing area, Outback Steakhouse in Okemos.

While we were sad for the employees and to see yet another business have to close its doors after the events and financial hardships of the past few years, it did spark conversations of "what could be next?"

We took to social media to get some input from fellow Lansing-area folks and they gave some insight as to why chains may not be successful anymore as well as what they would want to see come to Okemos.

See Related: This Chain Restaurant Has Left Okemos, What Do We Want in its Place?

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To Have Chain Restaurants in Okemos or To Not

Over the course of the pandemic, there has been a big push to "support local" when it comes to small businesses as well as local restaurants.

Of course, sometimes it is more convenient and familiar to order from a chain and they do have employees to support too.

One user in the Facebook group "Lansing Area - Past, Present, & Future (The Original)" had one of the best responses on the "to chain or not to chain" debate:

"It’s too bad that people are out of work but the chain restaurants just dont provide the quality of food that locally owned establishments do. I travel quite often and never go to chains. Before the trip I research my route and destination and patronize the good old local places the local people go to. Too many trips stopping at the dingy exit ramp places and getting substandard food. Not going to mention any but you know what they are. Most are failing while the local places are thriving. Look at Old Town and REO Town. Great diverse food."

The point here is that local restaurants are a whole heck of a lot more personal and unique than the chains you can get "just anywhere else."

However, the people want what the people want and the suggestions for what restaurants should be opened up in Okemos were a pretty mixed-bag!

Restaurants Lansing-Area Residents Want in Okemos

When the Okemos Outback Steakhouse location at 4880 Marsh Rd. suddenly closed its doors, we started talking about what we would like to see go in to replace it. Suggestions ranged from fast-food to other steakhouse-style options to non-food businesses entirely. See what Lansing-area residents want in Okemos.

What About ChiChi's in Okemos?

One of the most common suggestions that was not featured in the photo gallery above was Chi-Chi's. Part of the reason for that was because it was nearly impossible to find photos of one open and functioning.

While we miss it too and a lot of the suggestions can be chalked up to "wishful thinking" (still holding out hope for Waffle House) we did still put in some research on beloved Chi-Chi's and its track record.

Turns out, the Okemos Outback Steakhouse location actually used to be a Chi-Chi's.

Ironically enough, according to Mashed, Chi-Chi's filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy back in 2003 and their remaining 76 restaurants were bought by Outback Steakhouse in 2004.

Some of those stayed Chi-Chi's while Mashed reports other locations were turned into Outbacks and that's where we, presumably, found ourselves when we last had our Aussie friends in Okemos until about two weeks into 2022.

While we have lots of places we would like to see come to Okemos, the question still remains, is Okemos "over it" when it comes to chains?

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