Elkhart Dining Days restaurants have great menus in store for Oct. 17-25

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By: Marshall V. King
mking@flavor574.com

(Flavor 574 photo/Jennifer Shephard)

The menus for Elkhart Dining Days 2014 are making my tummy rumble.

More than 20 Elkhart restaurants and food businesses are part of the event that starts Friday, Oct. 17 and continues through the following Saturday, Oct. 25.

The chefs and cooks are planning some glorious food and great deals.

Michele Scherpenberg of South Bend Foodies/Epicureans Unite started the event two years ago. She’s handing it off this year to Flavor 574/The Elkhart Truth.

It’s been a lot of work for us to plan this event, but we’re excited to be part of it. The stars of the event will be the restaurants and those who work hard to make and serve their food.

Scherpenberg and the restaurants involved in the past set it up so that specials are offered at a set price and a portion of the proceeds go to charity.

This year, there are specials at $10, $20 and $30 and 10 percent of all sales goes to Food Bank of Elkhart County, a program of Church Community Services that provides food to nearly 50 other pantries and agencies.

The beauty of this year’s event is the range of breakfast, lunch and dinner options. You can see the full menus at elkhartdiningdays.com, but here’s a look.

b on the River is offering $10 breakfast and lunch packages. Baker’s Nook Cafe will have $10 breakfast and lunch specials, plus $20 bakery deals that would feed a group of coworkers. Adam’s Cake Shop will have pumpkin cupcakes and Halloween cookies.

At lunch, McCarthy’s on the Riverwalk is offering a Cajun perch sandwich for $10 (as well as a $30 four-course dinner special).

Pete’s Simonton Lake has a variety of offerings that are golden — literally fried golden. Bluegill or perch baskets with sweet potato fries or buffalo chips are offered, as well as a four-piece chicken dinner with a choice of two sides. Pete’s also has $20 and $30 steak specials.

I really want to try the walleye dinner with two sides at Cappy’s Northside Tavern, which Merle and Linda Anderson operate along with Pete’s. Linda is planning different specials at Cappy’s for each night it’s open during Elkhart Dining Days.

Pumpernickel’s Pretzel Bakery is offering two sandwiches for $10. Callahan’s and Stacks Pancake House, which are known for their big breakfasts, are both offering meal specials at lunch and dinner. Callahan’s $10 special includes an entree, two sides plus dessert. Enzo Pizza in Concord Mall has a $10 pasta dinner for one or a $10 one-topping pizza.

Rulli’s on the east side of Elkhart has $10 appetizers and $20 entrees. I’d love to try the coffee-crusted beef tenderloin medallions seared on a sea salt block with corn fritters and raspberry-infused butter.

If you haven’t had the guacamole at Mod-Mex, this is a great time to try it. You can pick which flavor you want in an appetizer to go with an entree for $20.

Mandarin Kitchen has combo meals for $10, $20 and $30 and the top two would definitely feed more than one person. Miles Lab has salads for $10, fish specials for $20 and twin lobster tails for $30.

New Paradigm Brewing Co. is offering a pork rillette for $10 and a $30 steak dinner for two, but the genius may be a $20 sampler of four burgers, each paired with a different draft beer.

Lucchese’s is doing a three-course meal for $30 that includes options like the sausage fondue Chef Richie Lutes recently came up with which is really good.

But the best part of Elkhart Dining Days might be the dinners for two that are offered this year. Fat Tomato is offering one for $30 that includes choices of appetizer, salad and entree. Michael’s has one for $20 that includes the classic cheese and crackers with a choice of two entrees from a list of four, including the excellent eggplant parmigiana with a side of spaghetti and salad.

523 Tap & Grill has two entrees with two sides and a choice of soup or salad for $30. The entrees include chorizo pork chop, Korean-style barbecue, char-grilled tuna or North African Gombo.

Iechyd Da Brewing Co.’s $30 meal for two includes a seven-beer sampler or two pints of beer, two entrees and a dessert to share. The curry the brewpub served at Taste of the Garden is one of the entrees and the sticky toffee pudding is one of the desserts available. You can also get one of the entrees for $10.

A lot of the restaurants have drink specials from William Hill Estate Winery, New Amsterdam vodka or Shellback Caribbean Rum, thanks to the work of Jay Fields and Ami Butler Tack at Indiana Wholesale Wine & Liquor Co.

Sports Time Family Pub & Grill, Linton’s Cafe and Mini Delights Bake Shoppe are still working on their specials and at least one other restaurant might yet join the event.

I hope the restaurants involved are crazy busy during these eight days. I hope it raises money for Food Bank of Elkhart County. And I hope to see plenty of people out enjoying the food and drink. I know I will be.

I’m hungry. Let’s eat.

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