Rachel's Bread offers community meal

Once a year, Rachel Shenk feeds her customers with a free meal.
Posted on Dec. 17, 2012 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Dec. 17, 2012 at 5:34 a.m.

What's Marshall King up to this week? Find out in today's Dining A La King.

Rachel Shenk doesn't feed the 5,000 like Jesus did in the gospels.

She makes bread at Rachel's Bread, 211 W. Washington St., Goshen. And once a year, she gives away a meal to the customers who buy her products.

But this isn't bread and a cup of water. It's a feast. Customer Kent Dutchersmith said he would have paid $20 or $30.

But it was free. There wasn't even a tip jar. Shenk refuses to put one out.

“In our world today, there are very few events that occur in a community that don't require giving something for them,” she said. “In our society, we should have more giving of ourselves without anything in return. I really believe that's an important thing.”

There were dozens of platters and plates of salads, entrees, desserts, soups, spreads and 20 loaves of bread. About a dozen cheeses included an 89-pound wheel of comte that employee Nick Bouwman carried around the outside of the building before the meal. It's a tradition before this annual event.

Hundreds of customers came and ate and spent time together at what is always a community event in the best sense.

There were soups inside of bread loaves and pumpkins, chicken salad inside endive leaves, spinach and cheese inside meatloaf. The theme this time was “food inside food.”

The comte didn't all get eaten. It's for sale, among other things, Wednesday through Saturday at the shop that Shenk operates with her employees and husband, Jim.

You can see more photos and a video on my blog.

Ÿ What sort of restaurant do you want to see on Main Street in Goshen?

Il Forno's last day is Friday at 127 S. Main St., Goshen. Owner Mario Garber has been catering manager at Grace College since August 2011 and his father and other family members have been helping him run the restaurant. He announced that he was closing the restaurant after seven years of business.

“We are proud of the product and atmosphere we created in downtown Goshen. We will miss our customers and being a part of school and community events more than we will miss being restaurant owners,” Garber wrote in an email from him and his wife, Carrie. He said they are open to opening in a different location in the future.

Dave Pottinger, who owns the building, thought he had another restaurant lined up for the space, but it's fallen through. He's shown the space to some other people. Garber owns some of the equipment and has it for sale.

“I sure would like to get a good restaurant,” Pottinger said. “I would like to bring somebody good to Goshen.”

So again, what sort of restaurant would you like to see in Goshen? Ethnic food? Another pizza place?

Ÿ Zach Lucchese finished his tenure as chef at Lucchese's Italian Restaurant last week, a bit earlier than he first announced. He's seeking other job opportunities and is likely starting a new job very soon.

Ÿ Recently in a blog post, I reported that Venturi may start offering beer brewed at the Goshen restaurant, 123 E. Lincoln, but that it would probably be a while. Co-owner Troy Pippenger said Friday it may happen sooner than later, at least in an experimental phase. Beer may be available in the coming days or weeks, he said.

Ÿ In other years, I posted some information on where to find local food gifts. The list hasn't changed much as I think about this year. I still think that the chocolate covered cashew nut crunch from Rise & Roll Bakery, Middlebury, tops my list, though turtles from Olympia Candy Kitchen or The Nut Shoppe would also work well. What's on your list?

Ÿ Fiddler's Hearth is having a number of holiday events, but Stout Night, with most of the 26 taps being taken over by darker beers, is at 5 p.m. Thursday. Fiddler's is at 127 N. Main St., South Bend. You can read more on Eric Strader's Beer Nuts blog on eTruth.com.

Ÿ Pizza Depot in Millersburg has a new dining room, according to owner Jennie Hile. It's open for lunch Tuesday through Saturday and dinner seven days a week, she said. A “re-grand opening” is being planned for January. The restaurant is on Facebook at PizzaDepotLLC and Twitter @pizzadepotllc.

Ÿ The Long John Silver's along Benham Avenue near Woodland Crossing is closed and the sign says to visit the locations on Nappanee Street.

Marshall V. King is news/multimedia editor and food columnist for The Elkhart Truth/eTruth.com. You can reach him at mking@etruth.com, 574-296-5805, on Twitter @hungrymarshall or via Facebook. His blog is at www.blogs.etruth.com/diningalaking/.

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