Not the Same Old Same Old

If you’re anything like me you have a set group of places that you always patronize when you return to South Bend for Notre Dame football games. In the past few years South Bend has done a great deal of work on improving the community surrounding Notre Dame’s campus. I’d like to share with you some new (and some not so new) establishments in South Bend that you might want to check out during your next trip to campus! Sometimes getting off the beaten path is a very good thing!!

1. South Bend Brew Werks: Located at 216 South Michigan Street, South Bend Brew Werks is Downtown South Bend’s only brew pub!  After a tasting event, they are starting off with 5 beers: a Black IPA, Amber, Wheat, Oatmeal Stout and Smoked Porter!  Prepare your taste buds to pair those with some tasty gourmet grilled cheeses, mac & cheeses and flatbread pizzas made from locally sourced ingredients! Looking for the brew store? Check out Michiana Brewer’s Supply.

Master of the Brew Joel Miller, trained by the Siebel institute and winner of multiple home brewing awards, puts his heart and soul into each beer.  They are not made…they are crafted with the artisan touch and depth of flavor you expect from a micro brew.

With an emphasis on creativity, most of their beers will rotate throughout the year, changing with the seasons and their food menu.  Stalwarts will grace the taps year round, ensuring that you will always find at least one beer you love.  Special edition beers will appear from time to time, perhaps as a fundraising vehicle for their partners or as a way to celebrate momentous occasions.

2. South Bend Chocolate CafeA unique blend of candy store, café and bakery with a coffee, tea, wine and beer lounge. The cafe serves chocolates, coffee, desserts and an array of salads, soups and sandwiches. Group Dining: Private meeting and dining space is available that can seat groups up to 40.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert options can all be served.  Parking is available on the street and in the parking garage across the street from the South Bend Chocolate Cafe.  

South Bend Chocolate Cafe 500

3. The Vine: The Vine brings a casual yet upscale dining experience to downtown South Bend. In recent years they have also expanded to downtown Elkhart. Each restaurant offers a unique experience: the contemporary, urban feel of South Bend and the classic elegance of Elkhart. Prepare to be welcomed by their friendly staff, eager to bring you a new and exciting special or a familiar dish.

From the signature Crab Dip, to the perennial favorite Bowtie Pasta, to the Filet Mignon; each dish is prepared just for you. You may accompany your meal with a wine from their extensive, hand-picked list made up of classics and new, unique selections, or a specialty cocktail from the bar. Whether grabbing a bite on the run or celebrating a special occasion, they hope to see you soon.


4. The Mark Dine & Tap: The Mark Dine & Tap offers an incredible dining experience, conveniently located in the Eddy Street Commons, adjacent to The University of Notre Dame. The Mark features a vibrant, big city appeal, coupled with a unique, made from scratch menu that offers a truly gourmet meal in a very comfortable setting. The bar at The Mark is also, one of kind and something unmatched in the South Bend market. Their goal is that all of their drinks match the quality and uniqueness of the food coming out of their kitchen. They take great pride in the fact that they only serve quality, craft and imported  beers. You won’t find any of the mass-produced domestic beers that flood most bars in America. Their house made cocktails feature an unbelievable selection of single malt scotches, craft  whiskeys and small batch gins. They infuse several vodkas and tequilas to further enhance the quality of their martinis, bloody mary’s and much more. They also use fresh squeezed juices in many of their cocktails. Finally, the wine list at The Mark Dine & Tap is unmatched in the area and something you would only expect to see in at a big city restaurant. They proudly feature an extensive selection of wines from all over the world. (You can also order Rick Mirer’s Mirror wine at Mark!!)

The Mark Dine and Tap

5. East Bank Emporium: The Emporium Restaurant is an independent, locally owned and operated restaurant since 1980. In the early 1900’s, there was a Tavern located in the Emporium building – the magnificent, ornate, back bar from that Tavern is still in use at the Emporium Restaurant.

For the 15 years before the restoration of the building for the Restaurant and shops, the building was an abandoned warehouse. The restoration began in 1979 and artifacts were collected from the area. The Grand staircase, Deacon’s Bench, and Oak Doors with leaded, beveled glass windows are from old churches.

From the Emporium windows, those dining can see Century Center, Island Park, Waterfalls, the Mark di Suvero sculpture “Keepers of the Fire” and the famous East Race Waterway.

The Emporium building also houses Wearabouts Women’s clothing, The Mole Hole, and the Male Room for a complete and unique shopping and dining experience. The second floor is occupied by the Richard Harrison Bailey Advertising Agency.

Hours of operation are Monday Thru Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

East Bank Emporium

6. The Exchange Whiskey Bar: Come to downtown South Bend and experience the best spirits anywhere in the country. Their knowledgeable staff is there to please.

The Exchange Whiskey Bar and The Vault Banquet room are both located on the ground floor of 112 West Jefferson Blvd. in South Bend. Street parking is available right out front and along Michigan Street which is the closest intersection to the East. The Leighton parking garage entrance is also directly across the street. Parking in any of these areas is unmonitored and free on evenings after 5pm and on weekends.

The Exchange Whiskey Bar carries close to 150 whiskeys and the list is continually growing. They craft old style prohibition era cocktails and have a wide selection of alcohol including sipping rums and a variety of high-end Cognacs and Brandies. They also carry a dozen local craft beers in the bottle and a small selection of wine. Their specialty cocktails are mostly whiskey based and are the best-selling items in the bar. They have limited food available, mostly for snacking. Some of the items available are, Shrimp Cocktail, Cheese Board, Smoked Fish and a Charcuterie.

Regular Hours:
Tue – Wed: 4:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Thu: 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Fri: 4:00 pm – 12:00 am
Sat: 4:00 pm – 11:00 pm

The Exchange Whiskey Bar

7. Chicory Cafe: Come experience the all-important coffee break enjoyed by the un-frenzied people of New Orleans. They purchase their Fair Trade coffee and espresso beans directly from a micro-roaster in New Orleans, giving them the same quality and flavor enjoyed there.

Chicory Cafe invites you to a relaxed atmosphere with jazz, blues, and a little zydeco and space to discuss the world events surrounding you or indulge in reading newspapers or books at your leisure. Enjoy specialty food items fundamental in New Orleans, but new to the Midwest, such as beignets, muffulettas, jambalaya, and po’ boy sandwiches.

The next time you’re in, say “Hi” to the owners of Chicory Cafe, Phil & Julie Schreiber or Jeff Morauski. Having recently come from another local restaurant, they hope to expand and add to the Chicory Cafe’s already wonderful menu.

Chicory Cafe

8. Woochi Japanese Fusion and Bar: An integration of sushi, kitchen and full bar. They offer a wide range of Japanese dishes, along with mind-blowing sushi and Japanese cuisine creations. You also can find numbers of classic Chinese & Asian dishes on their menu. Vegetarian friendly & gluten-free friendly are one of their advantages. Whether it’s Sashimi or Tempura and Beef Teriyaki, it’s always delicious. They also provide an exquisite selection of teas: green, black, flower or flavored, there is no question they will satisfy your taste buds in style! They also serve wines, beers, sakes and cocktails.

It is their everyday mission to deliver quality, freshness, and health to our customers, as well as unique dining pleasure. Together they create a high-energy, family-friendly and health-oriented Japanese Restaurant experience.


9. Ciao’s Lounge: Ciao’s Lounge is offering a unique and modern atmosphere in South Bend and they strive to make your evening the one you will never forget. Their bartender is mixing the perfect cocktail for you and their Maestra di Cucina, Adele De Rosa Ciao, will surprise your palate with her renowned gourmet entrees, stuzzichini and desserts.

Experience the real food world. They are dedicated to fresh ingredients and contemporary cuisine . . . settle in for the night, you will be glad you did !

ciaos lounge copy

Where do you go when you head off the beaten path in South Bend?

Cheers & GO IRISH!!

Powered by
  • KyNDfan

    Not off the beaten path or even unique. I love to get a steak after games at the Texas Roadhouse on 31w as you’re driving south leaving town. Usually not much of a wait. Good food. Ok beer selection.

  • kp

    Le Peep downtown for brunch on Sundays after the game! And

  • Peter C. Greer

    How can you not have Fiddler’s Hearth on this list? An authentic Irish Pub with a good mix of local and import beers, and a great place to watch both home and away games. Live music every Friday night too!