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Elkhart Dining Days results in record setting donation to Church Community Services

The fourth annual Elkhart Dining Days set records.

Twenty independently owned Elkhart restaurants sold a combined 4,075 specials, resulting in $7,200 in donations to Church Community Services.

“It obviously helps us help people who are in need,” said Rod Roberson, executive director of Church Community Services.

From Oct. 30 to Nov. 7., restaurants had specials ranging from $5 to $30 and donated 10 percent of the sales of those specials to CCS. The total donated includes a donation from Truth Publishing Co. and additional donations from restaurants and patrons above the percentage sold.

Some sold 40 specials. Bacon Hill Kitchen & Pub and Pete’s Simonton Lake Tavern both had huge weeks with more than 700 specials sold. More than half the restaurants sold more than 100 specials.

“People look forward to what specials we’re going to roll out,” said Summer Lewis, owner of Iechyd Da Brewing Co., which has been a participant since the event began four years ago. “We got great feedback, especially on the muffuletta pizza.

Ribs sold well at Miles Lab. The prime rib special was popular at Stack’s Pancake House. At Artisan, the restaurant sold 518 specials, an average of 74 a night the seven days the restaurant was open during Dining Days. “I thought it went very well,” Kurt Janowsky said of the event.

Roberson said he’s thrilled with how busy restaurants were and the support from them, particularly given the thin profit margins they often have. He was grateful for how customers contributed via the event. “We appreciate it when they extend a way for us to reach their patrons,” he said of the participating restaurants.

Abbi Lochmandy of Lochmandy Motors, the title sponsor for the event with Flavor 574, said the event helps the community from top to bottom. It helps business owners, employees and the non-profit agency and that’s what thrills her the most.

Pete VanBaalen, publisher of The Elkhart Truth, said, “Elkhart Dining Days is special for our organization. It is a chance for us to really bring two of our passions together; great food and building a stronger community. I’m thrilled to see the event growing each year, thanks to our readers and sponsors.“

Lewis said that they loved being part of the community event. “It’s all about community involvement for us,” she said.

Dates are being set for the second annual Goshen Dining Days in the spring and for the fifth annual Elkhart Dining Days next fall. “We’re really looking forward to being involved next year,” Roberson said of the Elkhart event.

Marshall V. King is food columnist for Flavor 574 and community editor for The Elkhart Truth. You can reach him at 574-296-5805,, and on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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