The most common question I get asked is, “Any new places opening?”
After 16 years of writing restaurant news, it’s an obvious question and one for which I usually have a good answer.
Thomas-Stieglitz Tasting Room in Goshen opened over the weekend. So did India House in Dunlap. Vegetable Buddies will open soon in South Bend. The new Chubby Trout is being put together in Elkhart and will likely open this summer. But we aren’t waiting for Goshen Brewing Co., Crooked Ewe or Artisan like we were.
Right now, the big news isn’t the openings, but all the food events. They’re blooming faster than May flowers. They’re the news right now.
Those events include luncheons, re-openings, competitions and parties. Here’s the list we’re aware of just between now and Memorial Day. If you know of others, let me know at email@example.com or some other way and we’ll add to the list.
I’m hungry. Let’s eat.
- National Pretzel Day: Ben’s Soft Pretzels and Auntie Anne’s are both marking the day and there may be others. You can celebrate with soft dough on Tuesday.
- St. Thomas Salad Luncheon: St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, 1331 N. Main St., Elkhart, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The 46th annual salad luncheon has just about every American salad imaginable, including the famous hot chicken salad. Tickets are $7 at the door.
- Taste of Michiana: Century Center, 120 S. St. Joseph St., South Bend, from 5 to 8 p.m. The annual fundraiser for Life Treatment Centers will feature more than 40 restaurants, breweries and wineries. Tickets are $25.
- Cinco de Mayo: Several restaurants will be offering deals on tacos, burritos, margaritas and beer. Hacienda will also have live music at many of their locations, including the Whistle Pigs, who will perform from 7 to 11 p.m. in Elkhart, and The Incredible Johnsons, who will perform from 6 to 10 p.m. in Goshen.
- GG Patton Liberation Day: Evil Czech Brewery, 3703 N. Main St., Mishawaka, from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. The brewery will open the beer garden for a second season and debut a double-decker food bus. There will be specialty brews and live entertainment. Tickets are available at the brewery.
- Mayfest in Shipshewana, May 6 and 7. The town festival opens the famous flea market and has a variety of entertainment. The restaurants and food vendors there will have plenty to eat.
- Mayfest, Kamm Island at the Historic 100 Center in Mishawaka, from 2 to 7 p.m. More than 150 craft beers from more than 40 breweries will be available. It’s an outdoor event with live entertainment. Tickets are $40 to get in at 2 p.m., $50 to get in at 3 p.m. and designated drivers get in for $10. The price for beer drinker tickets rises $10 after April 30. Information: mayfest.us.
- Uncork and Unwind: Four Winds Casino, 11111 Wilson Road, From 5 to 9 p.m. New Buffalo (Mich.) Wines from more than a dozen Michigan wineries will be available, as well as food pairings and hotel packages. Tickets are $20 and available through ticketmaster.com, or by calling 800-745-3000. Pairings will be available for $15 each.
- Mother’s Day: A number of restaurants will have brunches and places will be packed on one of the biggest days all year for eating out. The Lerner’s Crystal Ballroom will have brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at $25 for adults, $15 for children age 4 to 12 and free for 3 and under. Call 293-4459 to get tickets.
- Wine Walk: From 5 to 9 p.m. in downtown South Bend. The first warm-weather event of the year for Downtown South Bend will be this wine walk. For $40, you get three tastings at your choice of the 13 restaurants participating downtown and a tasting glass from which to experience them with food. Other walks this summer are June 8, Aug. 10 and Sept. 14, with Beer Walks on July 13 and Oct. 12.
- First anniversary party at Goshen Brewing Co.: GBCo, 315 W. Washington St., Goshen. The long-awaited brewery in Goshen has been open a year and will celebrate with a hog roast, yard games and music from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on that Saturday. Admission is free, though food and beverage will cost you.
- Bottlecaps and Corks, At Wellfield Botanic Gardens in Elkhart from 4 to 7 p.m. Amateur winemakers and brewers can bring their creations for judging and serving at the fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Elkhart County. Tickets are $35 in advance and designated driver tickets are also available. Information: 218-6212 and the Big Brothers Big Sisters site.
- Lemonade Day: Lemonade Day empowers children to learn about business and gain an entrepreneurial spirit, and gives the rest of us a chance to enjoy a refreshing drink. The event takes place all across Elkhart County from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.