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Elkhart Dining Days 2014: 523 Tap and Grill's $30 dinner for two

On a bustling Friday night in downtown Elkhart, 523 Tap and Grill was teeming with hungry patrons. A friend and I arrived just after 7 p.m. to take advantage of the Elkhart Dining Days special (a $30 meal for two.)

I had already checked out the 523 Dining Days menu online, and was eager to place my order. Fortunately for me, my companion suggested an appetizer.

While not a part of the Elkhart Dining Days special, I highly recommend that you, too, scan the appetizers. We chose the Grilled Brie, described on the menu as “soft, fire-grilled brie served with rosemary ciabatta bread, cherry-bacon chutney and garnished with crushed almonds,” for $11.

It was wonderful.

I needed a drink to accompany the appetizer, and (lucky me) 523 has an extensive martini menu. Some favorites include the classic Pomegranate, Lemon Head and (for those with a sweet tooth) the Caramel Apple. All range in price from $7-$8, or you can visit on “Thirsty Thursdays,” when all signature martinis are just $5.

Sipping a martini in the dimly lit restaurant while the vocal stylings of Frank Sinatra played softly in the background, I was briefly transported to the 50s. I resisted the urge to practice my terrible James Bond impression on those around me.

For my Dining Days meal, I ordered the Char Grilled Tuna and my friend ordered the Chorizo Pork Chop, which he said was pretty good. Each came with a side and choice of soup or salad.

Both entrees for just $30 was a steal, and during Elkhart Dining Days, 10 percent of the meal price benefits the Food Bank of Elkhart County – can’t beat that.

523 is a diamond in the rough of the Elkhart city bar scene. Offering a more upscale experience than its neighbors on South Main Street, you can expect great service and an atmosphere that’s sophisticated without being stuffy.

523 Tap and Grill is at 523 S. Main St. and is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed Sundays.

Feeling generous? Visit to donate to Church Community Services. Just mention the Food Bank or Dining Days in the comments when you submit your donation.

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