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Crimaldi's moves on with same owner after change of hands fell through

The effort to turn Crimaldi’s into Turzo’s only lasted a few months.

Mike Crimaldi is again operating the bar and restaurant at 117-9 W. Jackson Blvd., Elkhart.

“They just couldn’t make it,” Crimaldi said of Mike Lucchese’s effort to operate the longtime establishment. It stayed in Crimaldi’s name.

Lucchese, a cousin of the family who operates Lucchese’s Italian Restaurant, had taken over Crimaldi’s operations in September. “They were going to decide in a year if they were going to buy it,” Crimaldi said.

Crimaldi’s was on the market for a while, but Crimaldi said he’s not putting it up for sale at this point. He’s planning to build dinner business.

The place won’t be open for lunch, but when it reopened a few weeks ago the hours are 4 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday.

He’s pushing a 1½-inch marinated pork chop, as well as steaks, pasta and seafood. The Mystery Burger with ham and Italian seasoning is still on the menu, too.

Reservations aren’t needed, Crimaldi said, noting that he’s hoping to woo the crowds going to the Lerner Theatre for shows.

The buildings at 117 and 119 E. Jackson have a rich history. Business started there in 1883, according to history provided to Crimaldi by Elkhart historian Paul Thomas. In 1899 it became a grocery, bakery and saloon. Over the years, 117 was mostly a grocery or tavern, including Bozzo’s. The western address at 119 was a tire store but often housed various shoe repairman.

Crimaldi bought Bozzo’s bar in 1980 with his mother, Shirley, and has operated it since.

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