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Elkhart Jazz Festival food includes fewer restaurants, but vendors aplenty

There will be plenty to eat at this year’s Elkhart Jazz Festival, there just won’t be as many pop-up restaurants as the last several years.

Some of the downtown spots that hosted pop-ups now have businesses in them. “The availability of space isn’t what it once was, which is a good thing,” said David Smith, co-chairman of this year’s festival.

The lone pop-up, or temporary location for an existing restaurant, will be Cafe Navarre. The South Bend restaurant owned by Kurt Janowsky, co-chairman of the festival, will have a tent in front of The Lerner Theater.

The tent will be open Friday evening, for lunch and dinner Saturday and for lunch Sunday. The menu will include salad, sandwiches, entrees and a full dessert bar, Janowsky said.

If you’re coming to the festival for the first time, check out this guide for newcomers.

The festival will have nine food booths in the food court on or around the Civic Plaza. They are:

  • The Berry Patch (strawberry shortcake)
  • Bodacious Concessions (Tex-Mex)
  • Colglazier Concessions (sirloin tips and lemonade; elephant ears and funnel cake)
  • Joe’s Gyros (Greek)
  • The Pretzel Wagon
  • Jake’s Diner (sausage, Philly cheesesteak sandwiches)
  • Tom’s Tasty Taters (walleye, potato chips)
  • Wakarusa Dime Store (jumbo jelly beans)

A few restaurants are also planning specials for the biggest weekend of the year downtown.

  • 523 Tap & Grill, 523 S. Main St., Elkhart, will have a street party with full bar and gyros outside and a full menu inside, according to manager Nikki Kinkaide. Live music will be onstage outside at 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. both nights. The restaurant will be open 11 a.m. to about 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and the tent will stay open until about 1 a.m.
  • The Vine, 214 S. Main St., will have its full menu inside and outside and extend its hours. The restaurant will be open 10 a.m. to about midnight Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. until the festival ends on Sunday. The bar will stay open later Friday and Saturday, said manager Brandon Kowalski.
  • The Daily Grind, 113 E. Lexington Ave., will be open 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and having a Sunday brunch from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, according to owner Tanya Bleiler.
  • Mini Delights Bake Shoppe, 217 S. Main St., Elkhart, will be selling four mini cupcakes for $5.50 from a table along Main Street Friday and Saturday evenings, according to owner Ashley Stone.
  • New Paradigm Brewing Co., 600 S. Main St., will open at 2 p.m. Friday and Saturday. It’ll have a $6 bratwurst special and live music at 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, according to co-owner Brandon Stanley.
  • Pumpernickel’s Pretzel Bakery, 500 S. Main St., will be open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, according to owner David Ullery.
  • McCarthy’s on the Riverwalk, 333 NIBCO Parkway, is having a jazz brunch from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday and Sunday. The cost is $18 per person, $12 for children 12 and under.

Other great spots within walking distance of the festivities:

Marshall V. King is managing editor and food columnist for The Elkhart Truth. You can reach him at 574-296-5805,, on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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