George Pesek is closing his Culver locations to focus on the ones in Mishawaka

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By: Marshall V. King
mking@flavor574.com

Marshall V. King/Flavor574

It’s not that Corndance Cafe in Culver wasn’t making money.

It’s not that it didn’t have fans.

Same for Evil Czech Brewery down the street.

But George and Tammy Pesek are closing the cafe that started their northern Indiana food businesses and will shutter the public part of the brewery next week. They made the announcement late last week.

“It’s simple,” George said. “As much as you want the baby to stay alive, it doesn’t make financial sense.”

The Peseks took over a longtime bar in 1999 in downtown Culver, a small resort town along Lake Maxinkuckee. The fine dining gained a following. Five years ago, they opened Corndance Tavern along Mishawaka’s Grape Road. Last year, they opened Evil Czech Brewery along Main Street in Mishawaka.

It turns out the success of the younger restaurants is leading to the closing of the older one. Business in Mishawaka is booming at the brewery and tavern.

“Nuts,” he said of the pace. “Bittersweet to have huge success up north prompt me to close down south.”

Pesek said he’s spending 20 to 30 hours per week in Culver because it’s harder to find the chefs and managers he needs to maintain the quality he wants. Not spending time there would hurt quality and the brand, he said.

“Quality is our thing and I don’t want to sacrifice,” he said.

Sixty percent of the 35 employees will take jobs in Mishawaka. The rest are getting severance, he said.

There’s already interest in the cafe location. The community will rebound and move forward, but saying goodbye is tough. “Sixteen years in business. We made some friends,” he said.

The restaurant will close Sept. 26 and the bar part of the brewery Sept. 27.

The Peseks don’t plan to sell the brewery, at least not right away. Sour beers and barrel-aged beers are being made there, and that will continue at least until a larger production facility can get built in Mishawaka, Pesek said.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story referred to Corndance Cafe in Mishawaka. It’s Corndance Tavern. We apologize for the error.

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