Elkhart gaining restaurants for jazz festival
Posted: 06/18/2012 at 1:15 am
By: Marshall V. King
Click here to view in a gallery.
Julian Palmer (left) and Michael Cook help serve hungry patrons at Pickle Barrel Sirloin Tips on the Civic Plaza Friday, June 25, 2010. Pickle Barrel was just one of the numerous vendors where jazz fans could find a tasty treat or drink. (Truth Photo By Ryan M.L. Young)
Jazz and Blues Festival goers crowd the Civic Plaza area as Truth In Jazz performs Saturday, June 26, 2010. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard)
Julie Wallar (facing camera) and Tammie Pedler talk over supper at the Vine Restaurant 6/15/2012 in Elkhart. (Truth Photo by J. Tyler Klassen)
Nathan Bradley (standing) takes an order from Dan Tauer (left) and Pamela LeBaron at the Vine Restaurant 6/15/2012. (Truth Photo by J. Tyler Klassen)
The Civic Plaza offers a variety of food vendors for fans of the Elkhart Jazz and Blues Festival. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard)
Dan Tauer (left) and Pamela LeBaron talk over drinks at the Vine Restaurant in Elkhart 6/15/2012. (Truth Photo by J. Tyler Klassen)
ELKHART — Add two new restaurants to the mix for this weekend's Elkhart Jazz Festival, including an old favorite.
In addition to the street food vendors and usual restaurants, Lucchese's and ModMex will have downtown “pop-up” locations this weekend.
“We have demand that exceeds the supply for eating and drinking establishments during (this) week,” said Dan Boecher, board member of Downtown Elkhart Inc., which operates the festival.
It's the busiest weekend of the year for many downtown restaurants. The Vine, 523 Tap & Grill and others will be packed and are bringing in extra staff for the weekend.
“I'm predicting it should be pretty crazy,” said George Anagnos, co-owner of 523 Tap & Grill. “Should be a lot of people this year.”
523 is planning its own music stage Friday and Saturday, as well as a full bar outside and inside the restaurant. It won't offer food outside this year. “It's just too much of a hassle,” Anagnos said.
Its staff will serve lunch and dinner Friday and Saturday. All employees and a few volunteers will be able to keep up with the crowd, he said.
It's been five years since Lucchese's left downtown Elkhart for a new location on C.R. 17. For many years, it offered food and drink inside and outside at its East Jackson Boulevard restaurant during downtown's biggest weekend of the year.
Zach Lucchese, who was a kid during some of those years and is now executive chef, said they toyed with coming back downtown last year when the family still owned the restaurant property, but would have had to rent everything from the tent to sinks.
This year, Lucchese called Dennis Miller, who owned the former Flytrap's building at 505 S. Main St., and asked if the building was available. Miller agreed to allow Lucchese's to set up shop for a weekend.
“Everything was actually in really good condition,” Lucchese said, noting the biggest challenge was getting proper permits.
Miller agreed and so this weekend, Lucchese's will have two locations — the usual one at 655 C.R. 17 and the other along Main Street.
The downtown location won't have a land-line phone and so won't accept reservations, Lucchese said. In addition, it'll have communal seating, meaning you won't get your own table, but may make a new friend as you fill a table with someone else.
Downtown will serve dinner Thursday, Friday and Saturday and lunch Friday and Saturday. The menu will have five or so appetizers, salads and soups, and entrees or sandwiches, depending on the meal. Beers from Bell's, Three Floyd's and possibly Greenbush will be offered and most of the spirits will be from Journeyman Distillery in Three Oaks, Mich.
“It's pretty exciting,” Lucchese said.
ModMex, which opened in the past year at 1700 Toledo Road, will close for the weekend at its usual location to open in the former Buetter's Sewing Center, 205 S. Main St.
Boecher owns that building and worked to get ModMex downtown for this event.
The restaurant's modern versions of Mexican foods will be served from a steam table, along with beer and wine, according to Erica Macri of the restaurant.
“It's a good opportunity for exposure,” she said, adding that they also want to support the community by participating in an event like this.
ModMex's downtown location will be open at 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. or later all three days, Macri said.
Downtown Elkhart will have plenty of food this weekend for those attending the jazz festival.
Street vendors will include:
Bodacious Concessions 1: fajitas and Mexican entrees
Bodacious Concessions 2: strawberry Shortcake, drinks
Colglazier Enterprises: sirloin tips, elephant ears and funnel cakes
Dogs For Dollars, hot dogs
Jake's Diner: sausage sandwiches, fries, fried food
JJ's Barbecue: barbecue
Joe's Gyros: Greek food, salads, broasted potatoes.
Pretzel Wagon: Pretzels and drinks
Tom's Tasty Taters: Walleye fish, curly fries, drinks
Downtown restaurants have a range of food. Many will be open Friday and Saturday of this year's festival.
523 Tap & Grill, 523 S. Main St.
Sleek, sophisticated atmosphere. Bistro fare with a Mediterranean flair. Calamari, pastas, filets, salads. Lunch & Dinner. Full bar. Daily cocktail specials. Lounge area.
Antojitos Mexicanos, 102 Middlebury St.
Tacos, burritos and other Mexican offerings
b on the River Bakery and Café, 333 NIBCO Parkway
Cafe with pastries and gelato. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Bowly's Crystal Bar, 109 Freight St.
A beloved Elkhart drinking spot for over 60 years. Short order grill.
Crimaldi's Restaurant & Lounge, 117 W. Jackson Blvd.
Longtime bar and restaurant offers burgers, steaks and salads.
Daily Grind, 113 E. Lexington Ave.
Coffee shop with fresh fruit smoothies, baked goods, salads, sandwiches, wraps.
Harrison Landing, 600 S. Main St.
Nightclub with a great bar menu, weekend live entertainment.
Iechyd Da Brewing Company, 317 N. Main St.
Pronounced, “Yacky Dah” After several years of home brewing, Chip and Summer Lewis decided to take the plunge and open a brewery on Main Street. The brewpub offers handcrafted ales, lagers, pizzas, sandwiches and soda.
Luchesse's Italian Restaurant - POP-UP restaurant at 505 S. Main St. Original location open at 655 C.R. 17.
A long-time Italian restaurant that returns downtown for the weekend to offer specials and Midwest beers and spirits.
Main Street Cafe, 231 N. Main St.
American breakfast and lunch items in a cafe setting.
McCarthy's on the Riverwalk, 333 NIBCO Pkwy, Suite A
McCarthy's offers a refined menu of traditional pub foods alongside contemporary American dishes.
Michael's Italian, 528 Harrison St.
Serving steak, prime rib and home-style Italian food since 1959.
Mini Delights Bake Shoppe, 214 S. Main St.
Bake shop specializing in cakes and cupcakes.
ModMex, POP-UP at 205 S. Main St. Usual location at 1700 Toledo Road will be closed.
Downtown location will have modern Mexican food and a variety of beer.
Old Style Deli, 200 S. Main St.
Established 1983 by Janice Hayden. Soups, sandwiches, and desserts
Stirred, 115 E. Lexington Ave.
Martini bar with full menu, including sushi.
Sweet Creams Soda Shop, 700 S. Main St.
An old time soda shop in a 110-year-old building, featuring ice cream and hot dogs.
Suzie's Bakery & Coffee Cafe, 109 W. Lexington Ave.
Coffee and baked goods in a spot that's been a restaurant for decades.
The Vine, 214 S. Main St.
Wine and food, along with a full bar. Menu includes pastas, pizza, salad and other entrees. Indoor and outdoor dining areas.