Hungry? Head to downtown South Bend

Published 6:09 pm Thursday, January 30, 2014

SOUTH BEND—If there is a particular restaurant in South Bend that you’ve been dying to try, this may just be your lucky two weeks.

The Downtown Dining Alliance of South Bend is holding its sixth Downtown Restaurant Week from Jan. 27 through Feb. 9.

The event provides diners with the opportunity to enjoy a dining experience at any of 14 different establishments at a discounted price, and approximately 10% of each check will de donated to the South Bend Memorial Children’s Hospital.

“They can come down and eat a lot of good food at very reasonable prices,” said Mark McDonnell, owner of two participating restaurants and president of the Downtown Dining Alliance. “Downtown South Bend is really the epicenter for locally-owned, independent restaurants in this area.”

Many of the restaurants, including Baker’s Bar & Grille, the East Bank Emporium, the LaSalle Grill and Fiddler’s Hearth Public House, will be offering three-course dinners at a special price of $33 per person. Tippecanoe Place Restaurant will be offering four-course dinners for that price.

Other restaurants are offering special deals of their own. For example, visitors to the South Bend Chocolate Café can enjoy two lunches or dinners for $16.50 or two “Top it Off” dessert specials for $16.50.

“This year, we’ve added three restaurants, including LaSalle Kitchen & Tavern, where we are having a special of two dinners for $33,” McDonnell said. “We’ve also added Woochi Japanese Fusion & Bar. And, Ciao’s Lounge has rejoined us after taking a year off. It’s a very good Italian restaurant on Michigan St.”

A complete list of the various specials can be found at, which also includes a map of participating eateries, including the Sunny Italy Café and The Vine.

“At the higher ticket-price restaurants, like Café Navarre and the LaSalle Grille, people really like to take advantage of the great deals,” McDonnell said. “At $33, they are getting a three-course meal for about half of the regular price during Restaurant Week.”

McDonnell suggests that folks take in a performance and make a special evening of their dining experience in downtown South Bend.

“There’s a lot going on in the city over those two weeks. ‘Leading Ladies’ is playing at the South Bend Civic Theater. The Morris Performing Arts Center will have performances of “Bring It On: The Musical,” on Feb 7, 8 and 9,” McDonnell said. “Feb. 7 is also being billed as ‘Downtown Date Night,’ and there will be fireworks on the St. Joseph River that night.”

McDonnell also mentioned that performances of the South Bend Symphony Orchestra and the Michiana Boat and Sports Show are weekend events that diners might incorporate into their plans.

“Wednesday nights are also good because the State Theater is showing a movie every Wednesday,” McDonnell said. “February is ‘Love Story Month,’ so ‘Casablanca’ will be showing on Feb. 5. It’s a 7 p.m. show time, so people would want to come down and eat dinner earlier.”

However, restaurant patrons do not have to wait until dinnertime to take advantage of special Restaurant Week pricing.

“A couple of restaurants are offering specials for breakfast and lunch. Those would be the Chicory Café and LePeep,” McDonnell said.

Taking advantage of Restaurant Week also provides diners with an opportunity to make a difference in the South Bend community because it supports Memorial Children’s Hospital. As the region’s only designated children’s hospital, Memorial treats children who are referred from more than 20 hospitals throughout southwest Michigan and northern Indiana.

“The charity that we are supporting is Memorial Children’s Hospital. They have a capital campaign to build a new children’s hospital in downtown South Bend, which we are really in favor of,” McDonnell said. “South Bend deserves its own children’s hospital. Otherwise, people have to go all the way down to Indianapolis to Riley Hospital for Children, and that’s a long way to have to go.”