Restaurants are getting ready again.
After surviving the holiday rushes and taking deep breaths during the slow January days, Valentine’s Day brings needed business.
It’s a chance to fill the seats and then the plates and then the cash registers.
Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest dining events of the year, somewhere behind Mother’s Day and well ahead of holidays like St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo or others where we take on ethnic identities.
It comes every year on Feb. 14, and the weekend of Valentine’s Day means full restaurants. That’ll be true again this year, but since it falls on a Sunday, it’s prompting some places to open on a Sunday night.
The Carriage House, the fine dining place on the west side of South Bend, is doing just that. “A lot of clients like to celebrate Valentine’s Day on Valentine’s Day,” said owner Joshua Bishop. “We knew we would not want to miss out on that opportunity.”
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There aren’t many sit-down restaurants usually open on a Sunday night. It’s tough to keep a restaurant open six or seven days a week, and many opt out on Sunday and/or Monday. This past week, a number of restaurant owners still hadn’t decided how to approach the day or what to do. Some, such as Chubby Trout in Elkhart, have announced there will be Valentine’s Day specials Tuesday through Saturday, but not Sunday.
I expect more will announce plans in the coming days, but here are five spots where you could enjoy dining on Sunday:
- Antonio’s Italian Ristorante, 1105 Goshen Ave., Elkhart, 574-295-8424: Antonio’s is usually open Sunday nights and does a nice job serving its affordable menu, which includes a range of pizzas, pastas, appetizers and salads.
- Lucchese’s, 605 C.R. 17, Elkhart, 574-522-4137: I still miss the downtown location, but the one on C.R. 17 is large enough to handle big nights such as Valentine’s Day, and co-owner Michele Lucchese said the restaurant will be open on Valentine’s Day night. It’s a lovely spot for a date night and the food should be good.
- Crooked Ewe Brewery & Ale House, 1047 Lincolnway East, South Bend, 574-217-0881. The brewpub is 21-and-over until a family dining space opens, but on Sundays you can get brunch or the usual lunch and dinner fare starting at noon and continuing into the evening. You can get brunch at a growing number of spots locally on Sundays and many brewpubs are open, but what Chef Alain Helfrich and his team are doing with the food at Crooked Ewe is fascinating and flavorful.
- Carriage House, 24460 Adams Road, South Bend, 574-272-9220: New owners reopened the restaurant in 2015 and announced last week that they’d start Sunday brunch. On Valentine’s Day, there won’t be brunch, but dinner will be served from 5 p.m. Specials for the day include beef wellington, lobster thermador and mahi mahi, said owner Joshua Bishop.
- Home: Yep. That’s right. Valentine’s Day is a great day to cook at home. That’s not to say you shouldn’t celebrate the day with the person you love (if you’re in a relationship) or go out to mark the day. It’s just that if you don’t regularly cook, making a meal for the person you love is an effort worth considering. If you do regularly cook, you may consider making something special. You could do a lovely breakfast at home and go out for dinner. Look for some ideas in the coming days on Flavor574.com, including a recipe for a flourless chocolate cake that would make any chocolate lover swoon.
Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate relationships and the joys and struggles that are part of them. Being in a committed relationship is hard. Valentine’s Day is thrilling for some, dreaded for others. Whatever it is for you, I hope you eat well.
I’m hungry. Let’s eat.