ELKHART — Pop-ups are coming back to the Elkhart Jazz Festival.
Last year’s event had four. This year’s will have two, in addition to a bunch of downtown restaurants being ready for business and food vendors setting up downtown.
Lucchese’s and ModMex took over vacant buildings downtown last year and served food while Cafe Navarre and Adam’s Bistro had tents or food stands that helped feed the crowds. Navarre and Adam’s will be back, but not the other two.
The festival has an event Thursday night, June 20, but officially starts Friday, June 21, and continues through Sunday, June 23.
Kurt Janowsky, both co-chair of the festival and owner of Cafe Navarre, said the festival organizers didn’t do anything to chase down pop-ups either year. But he and his Navarre staff will have a bigger tent and simple menu in front of the Lerner Theatre, 410 S. Main St.
“We’re going to do a different menu than we did last year,” he said. It’ll include sandwiches, salads and the mushroom soup that sells well at the South Bend restaurant.
Adam and Maggie Williams said they will have the Adam’s Bistro booth, with seating, next to the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce as they were last year. They’ll offer smoked chicken, ribs and brisket, as well as Magnolia sausage. In addition they’ll have a pancake/bacon/egg on a stick for breakfast and strawberry shortcake. Ten percent of the proceeds will go to Premier Arts, Maggie said.
Last year, Chef Zach Lucchese orchestrated that restaurant’s pop-up, but he’s left the restaurant and is having a beer event at Swan Lake Resort, where he now works.
ModMex doesn’t have a spot to use downtown, according to Dan Boecher, who was instrumental in getting the restaurant downtown last year.
Janowsky said he’s sad to see fewer pop-ups but praised the places to eat downtown that are here year-round. The Vine, McCarthy’s on the Riverwalk, Crimaldi’s, Pumpernickel’s, Iechyd Da Brewing Co., Stirred/The Daily Grind, Old Style Deli, Harrison Landing and 523 Tap & Grill are likely to be busy in the coming week and next weekend. “They’re always downtown. We sure want to support them,” he said.
Janowsky, who operates the catering at the Lerner and at Matterhorn Conference Center, loves downtown Elkhart and jazz festival weekend. “I think it’s going to be nuts downtown. I love that,” he said.
The list of food vendors on the Civic Plaza for the festival, according to festival organizers, includes:
The Pretzel Wagon
Tom’s Tasty Taters
Tom Hodson Company
The Country Griller