Here’s a good rule of thumb to follow when dining at a restaurant: if there is an item on the menu served literally on fire, order it.
So when a friend and I saw saganaki on the Elkhart Dining Days menu for Callahan’s, we followed that rule.
Saganaki is a blend of Greek cheeses fried in a pan and served hot and gooey with Pita bread. In America, servers often splash it with an oil and light it on fire while proclaiming “Opa!” before dousing it with lemon juice and serving it to an impressed table.
During Elkhart Dining Days at Callahan’s, you can enjoy a three-course meal for $15 daily from 3 to 10 p.m. You get your choice of saganaki, spinach puffs or cheese puffs for the appetizer; choice of soup or Greek salad with Greek pork chops or Greek chicken with Greek potatoes for an entree; and rice pudding for dessert. You can also try a glass of red or white Greek wine for an additional $5.
When I met my friend at Callahan’s, she told me she’d never eaten here before. “I hope you like leftovers,” I told her. “You’re about to get way more food than you realized.”
And Callahan’s certainly didn’t disappoint.
We each ordered off the EDD menu and split the saganaki and spinach puffs for appetizers. The saganaki was gooey and warm, and was delicious both with the Pita bread and on top of the spinach puffs (a spinach mixture wrapped in a flaky dough and baked until golden brown). The spinach puffs were good, but not phenomenal. The appetizer portions are small compared to other restaurants, but this is a good thing: you’ll have room to enjoy the plentiful portions to come.
Our table was constantly full of food from then on, as our glasses of wine and Greek salads came as we were in the middle of our appetizers.
The Greek salad is a bed of Romaine lettuce topped with thinly sliced red onion, cherry tomatoes, Kalamata olives, large chunks of feta cheese, peppercinis and plenty of Greek seasoning, with a side of olive oil mixed with herbs and spices on the side for dressing. It’s a very large, healthy salad with a lot of flavor.
As we were enjoying our salads, our entrees arrived. We both ordered the Greek chicken with potatoes.
The dish is a chicken breast, chicken thigh, chicken wing and chicken leg — all served bone-in — covered in Greek seasonings and grilled to perfection. The meat was served on a bed of lemony rice and with a side of tomatoes, thinly sliced red onions, feta cheese and Kalamata olives. The chicken was extremely juicy and flavorful and I really enjoyed the rice too.
The potatoes were sliced wedges covered in a chicken-based gravy, seasoned and baked. They were good, but I honestly didn’t eat more than two bites because I had so much other food to enjoy (don’t worry, they safely made it home with me).
My friend and I both ended up eating half of our entrees. Our server knowingly brought boxes to us before we even asked, and graciously gave us about 10 minutes to digest our dinners before bringing us our desserts: rice pudding.
I was grateful when she brought back small cups of the sweet pudding, topped with whipped cream and sprinkled with cinnamon. It was a nice, light and sweet way to end the meal.
Our server said Callahan’s gets really busy during Elkhart Dining Days, and that’s with good reason. This three-course meal is an impressive amount of really delicious comfort food.
Plus, eating at Callahan’s is an experience. No matter when you go, the restaurant will have a very diverse crowd at its tables, and at least half of them are semi-regulars. While we were enjoying our dinner, a couple of guys came in to sit at the bar across from the kitchen near us. These guys were obviously regulars and knew the cooks, because one threw something to a cook and they started ribbing each other with friendly jabs.
Callahan’s might offer the best deal if you’re looking to get the most for your money during Elkhart Dining Days. If you love comfort food and/or people watching, I highly recommend it.