The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Restaurant Week in South Bend

Maddie Daly | Monday, January 28, 2013

Already tired of the dining hall’s limited stir-fry bar, “authentic” Indian food and wannabe-BWW wings? Need a break from that all-too-frequent serving of mystery meat in your Taco Bell Crunch Wrap Supreme? Thanks to downtown South Bend, you can have a taste of the area’s best restaurants at a discounted price during Restaurant Week.

Restaurant Week started Jan. 21 and will until Sunday. Participants can visit any of the 11 participating restaurants for either a multiple course meal or dinner for two for just $30, an average 60 percent discount at these fine dining spots.

Borrowing ideas from larger cities’ Restaurant Weeks, such as Indianapolis, downtown South Bend uses its Restaurant Week as a chance to fill empty tables during typically slow weeks in the middle of the coldest days of winter and the lazy summer vacation season.

Mark McDonnell, president and proprietor of LaSalle Grill and president of the Downtown Dining Alliance, said this week is meant “to offer people a great deal or to come in for a trial run of restaurants they might not usually be able to afford,” especially college students, who can barely manage to save enough Flex Points for a whole semester, much less have enough cash for a fancy dinner out.

In addition to newcomers, McDonnell also said the week would be a chance for “foodies who go out on a regular basis to experience all the restaurants South Bend has to offer.” These people probably end up spending more than usual but enjoy the experience and still get more for their money, McDonnell said. In fact, LaSalle Grill actually has a new entrée made specifically for restaurant week, adding another perk for regulars and first timers alike. McDonnell said the restaurant just rolled out his new favorite item, steak top sirloin made with steak sauce, for Restaurant Week.

Despite last week’s miserable weather conditions and the resulting urge to stay at home and eat Top Ramen and Easy Mac all day, the people of South Bend have taken advantage of this money-saving opportunity by showing record attendance, McDonnell said.

“It’s been better than we’ve ever seen it,” McDonnell said, in reference to this year’s turnout.

For students hoping to catch a discounted meal in the last few days of the event, McDonnell advised calling as soon as possible to make a reservation.

“The weekend is pretty crowded, but there are still openings for the next few days,” McDonnell said. “[Monday night] typically has 50 tables total, but because of restaurant week there are 150 – that’s three times as many people as usual.”

Whether its a girls’ night out at The Vine, an anniversary coming up with that special someone at LaSalle Grill or snagging that chocolate fix from the South Bend Chocolate Café, this week is the perfect chance to do so at a college student-friendly price.

In case that’s not enough motivation to attend, participation can also provide food for those in need across the state. The Jordan Automotive Group and the Food Bank of Northern Indiana are sponsoring a Food for Kids Pack-a-Backpack program that uses the money from extra servings of food to supply food backpacks for elementary school children during weekends and holiday breaks.

For a full list of all 11 restaurants, visit eatdrinkdtsb.com