LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – A Lansing restaurant is celebrating a massive milestone this weekend, 100 years in business.

Harry’s Place, which first opened its doors for customers in 1922, is hosting a day-long celebration of the anniversary on Saturday. From 11 a.m.-11 p.m., there will be a public party with live music, drinks and food specials.

Located right around the corner from Sexton High School, Harry’s Place has been a staple neighborhood watering hole on Lansing’s west side for an entire century.

For decades, it was the de facto lunch stop for workers at the neighboring Fisher Body Plant. Hungry factory workers filled Harry’s Place on their lunch breaks and during the evenings after their shifts.  

Original owner and source of the restaurant’s namesake, Harry Andros, was able to start the business thanks to a loan from auto industry pioneer William Durant.

Durant was one of the original co-founders of General Motors and owned Durant Motors, which produced cars to compete with Ford’s Model T.

Ownership of Harry’s Place never left Andros’ family.

Andros passed it down to his son Art Arvanites, who then passed it to his daughter, Harea Bates and her husband, Hugh Bates. As the restaurant is indelibly linked to the local auto industry, Hugh Bates is himself a GM retiree.

After the Fisher Body Plant shut down in 2005, the family was questioning whether to keep Harry’s Place running. Ultimately, the Bates family decided the restaurant’s history was simply too deep to give up on.  

Harea Bates held fast and worked hard to transition the atmosphere of Harry’s Place into a more family-friendly environment, hoping to cater to customers beyond just local factory workers on break or on their way home.

“When my mother took over, she tried to make into a family bar, where you could bring your kids in for dinner and have a beer or two while you’re at it. Now we’re a neighborhood bar, instead of just a factory bar,” said Matthew Bates, son of Harea Bates and a manager at Harry’s Place.

The restaurant has been a big part of Matthew Bates’ life as far back as he can possibly remember.

“I’ve been here since I was a baby,” Matthew Bates said.

He attributes the longevity of Harry’s Place to qualities like the consistency of its drink menu and the friendliness of its staff.

The food, which regularly receives compliments for tasting great at a considerably fair price, hasn’t hurt the restaurant’s lifespan either.

“We have some of the friendliest staff there is. We try to make sure everybody that comes in leaves here happy. Everybody can come in here and get a good meal for a good price,” Matthew Bates said.