Electric Brew in Elkhart will be open later, have music on Saturdays

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By: Marshall V. King
mking@elkharttruth.com

Marshall V. King/Flavor 574

The Electric Brew is expanding its hours as it settles into Elkhart.

The coffee shop at 113 E. Lexington Ave. opened in May a few days after The Daily Grind ended its run of nearly two decades in that spot. The original Electric Brew opened in Goshen in the mid-1990s, shortly before The Daily Grind opened in Elkhart.

Starting Aug. 3, the hours will extend in the evening and on weekends. The new hours will be 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday. The shop currently closes at 6 p.m. on weekdays and 2 p.m. on Saturday.

“The biggest thing will be that Saturday,” said owner Chris Bontrager. In August and September, he’s planning to have singer-songwriters perform on Saturday nights.

The Elkhart location is doing well after the transition, Bontrager said. “It’s been good. We’re starting to see an increase,” he said.

More customers are staying in the dining room rather than getting items to go, he said. Sandwiches are selling better at lunch, and breakfast business includes a lot of sandwich and burrito sales.

In Goshen, the staff prepares one sandwich, soup and salad option each day for lunches. In Elkhart, the menu has had two soups a day and five or six sandwiches, but Bontrager and the staff have been rotating items to see what sells best. The secret is that even if items aren’t on the menu board, they likely can be made to order, he said.

Dark coffee continues to be popular in Elkhart, though Bontrager is urging customers to try lighter blends. He said that dark roasts can often mask subpar coffee, but he’s trying to expand the range of what people sample from the roasting Brew employees in Goshen do.

Also, in Goshen, espresso drinks are twice as popular as brewed coffee, but it’s the other way around so far in Elkhart.

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