The Bacon Strip is getting a dose of burgers. And Five Star Dive Bar is getting a bigger bar.
Jason Curtis, owner of both restaurants in the plaza at 561 E. Jackson Blvd., Elkhart, is making changes to both this week.
Five Star closed early this week to put in a larger bartop. The L-shaped, copper-coated bar is nearly done and the bar is likely to open today, May 29.
But the bigger news is how The Bacon Strip is changing.
After Five Star became a hit, Curtis took over the former Boardwalk Cafe to open it as a breakfast restaurant. He said business has been good on weekends, particularly late at night and early in the morning as people leave Five Star, but hasn’t been as good during the week. “It just wasn’t what we thought it’d be weekdays,” he said.
Meanwhile, customers from Five Star were ordering carry-out for their kids. “Everybody’s telling us they want to bring their kids here to eat,” he said of Five Star.
Because of Indiana liquor laws and the type of license he has, that’s not doable. But moving a menu is, particularly when you own two places in the same plaza.
So The Bacon Strip is becoming a family version of Five Star with the added breakfast until 2 p.m. weekdays and until about 4 a.m. Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Curtis said it seemed silly to have two menus, though he had to wrestle a bit with the relaunch. But he saw a need for more family dining in the city and figured out how his businesses could do that. “We have a 30- to 40-something crowd and they all have kids,” he said.
The Bacon Strip’s hours are now 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and until 4 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
Adding food he knows sells well to a family restaurant has another benefit, he said. “Plenty of people don’t want to come to a bar for lunch or dinner,” he said.
Neither Five Star nor The Bacon Strip has the Krispy Kreme burger on the menu. The donut buns have been replaced by a burger topped with macaroni and cheese, he said.
And the one sandwich from The Bacon Strip’s lunch menu that survived is the pastrami sandwich because of how well it sold.
The Smokehouse Burger, which is part of Elkhart County Burger Wars voting, is on both menus.