For some people, cooking food is a relaxing hobby. For others, it’s a necessary evil that you must endure in order to eat at home.
But for chefs like Zach and David Lucchese, the brothers who co-own Bacon Hill Kitchen and Pub on the northeast side of Elkhart, it’s an art — and you know that the minute you look at Bacon Hill’s menu.
The two grew up cooking in the family’s Italian restaurant, Lucchese’s, but Bacon Hill serves southern-style food reimagined for the modern foodie. Each dish is rich and comforting. The flavors are bold. Everything is specially crafted and expertly prepared, including the list of cocktails (oh, and only craft beer is on tap in the bar, but you can get Bud Light in a bottle if you must). Each plate looks almost too beautiful to eat.
So it goes for the restaurant’s Elkhart Dining Days menu. The fan-favorite soul rolls (pulled pork and southern slaw mixed with bleu cheese crumbles and served with buttermilk ranch) are the lone appetizer on special at $5.
Bacon Hill is offering six entrees at $10, $15 and $20, including a jalapeño popper-style bacon cheeseburger and a 1/2 rack of baby back ribs.
Earlier this week, I ordered the roasted pumpkin salad, one of the two $10 specials. Mixed greens serve as the bed for pieces of roasted pumpkin, cubes of roasted chicken, cornbread croutons, raisins, roasted peanuts, small slices of apples and shredded smoked Gouda dressed in an apple cider vinaigrette. There are a lot of different textures in the salad that work really, really well together. The flavors are bright. It screams “fall” and you should probably wear flannel when you order it, just because. It paired excellently with a Michigan mule — an apple-y take on a Moscow mule (and one of several unique mules on the drinks menu).
A friend ordered the country fried steak, a $15 Elkhart Dining Days special served on a large bed of Yukon gold mashed potatoes and topped with a sunny-side up egg. The green beans on the side were sweet, but not sugary. The breading on the steak was crispy and there was plenty of gravy, but it didn’t douse everything else on the plate. It looked like the most comforting breakfast for dinner ever. He said it was a perfect complement to the old fashioned he ordered (which was made with actually muddled sugar and not simple syrup).
Like with the appetizer, you only get one choice for dessert but it’s really all you need. The pumpkin Nutella cheesecake is $10 and is served with a scoop of house-made cinnamon ice cream. The pumpkin cheesecake is moist and fluffy and savory, which is great because the Nutella crust is fairly sweet and the toasted pecan crust is slightly salty. The ice cream was smooth and creamy. This dessert is not rich or decadent; it is divine.
Elkhart has a lot of excellent locally-owned restaurants, but Bacon Hill stands out for its unique takes on classic dishes. You don’t have to be a foodie to eat there, you just have to really enjoy good food. It’s a must-visit during Elkhart Dining Days.