Roc’s Sports Cafe offers flavorful wings, good prices and a great atmosphere

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By: Michael Tomko
miketomko@outlook.com

Michael Tomko

Recently I ran out of bread at work to make a sandwich for lunch, so I decided to hop in my car and drive to downtown Mishawaka to find a place to eat. On one of the corners of the main intersection of downtown, there was an old building with a sign sticking out over the corner that said “Roc’s.”

Turns out that Roc’s is a giant sports bar. It used to be further north in a plaza, by the Grape Road commercial district, but moved to downtown a few years ago. I have never seen so much sports memorabilia in a restaurant. The ceiling is two stories high, and the walls were covered in posters, jerseys and signs. There is a ledge above where there sits a most impressive collection of bottles and bobbleheads.

The building itself is called the Yorktown Center and was built in 1902. Although not as old as the Central Block Building that houses New Paradigm in Elkhart, it still has been around this area for many, many years. The restaurant has a little history all about the historical tenants of the old building on the menu, which you can read before you place your order.

Speaking of the menu, I noticed they had some wings on there.

I ordered the Red Hot Wings. The description of them says, “Wings that will make you sweat.” Of course that usually goes without saying, as I no longer have hair to disguise my perspiration when consuming wings with any kind of heat.

The hottest were labeled “Harry Caray Wings.” I was confused at first as to why you would name an extremely hot wing after Harry, but I guess the reason is after you eat them, you shout out, “Holy Cow!” I would have ordered them, but as an avid Sox fan, it’s almost impossible for me to eat anything associated with the Cubs. (Before you start writing me e-mails, yes, I know Harry was a Sox announcer before moving up to the north side, but I wasn’t around back then. All I remember growing up was that goofy guy in glasses dancing on WGN and singing about his Budweiser in Cubs commercials.)

So, the Red Hot Wings came out, and they smelled great. The heat was only about a 2 out of 4 on the heat scale, but they had a good, peppery taste to them. Unlike traditional buffalo wing sauces based on something like Frank’s, which has a vinegary bite, these were a little duller. It was more like a Tabasco flavor. It was different, but I still really enjoyed it. It also went well with the breading on the wings. It was a thicker, grainier breading; like something you would get on traditional fried chicken.

I did a review on Scotty’s Brewhouse a few weeks back, and the breading and preparation on these wings were very similar. The one thing that definitely is not like Scotty’s was the price. At Roc’s you get 12 wings for $9.95. A CPW (cost per wing) of 83 cents is a really good price for good wings in the area. I didn’t see any wing price specials, but if they run them, you would get an even better deal.

Roc’s was a great find on this little blog that I am doing here. If it weren’t a 21-and-over place, I would love to take my kids there to see all the sports stuff on the walls. On the other hand, if I’m looking for a more adult place to hang out with family or friends to drink some beer and watch the game and happen to be in the Mishawaka area, Roc’s would be No. 1 on my list.

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