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Local restaurant just what the ‘Doctor’ ordered

Brian Doxtader and Erin McGinn | Thursday, November 2, 2006

Everyone is familiar with the chain franchises located on both Grape and Main Rds. in Mishawaka. But for the average Notre Dame student, that’s where the dining adventure ends, leaving out many savory gems found in the Michiana area. One of these treasures can be found simply by continuing south on Main Street into downtown Mishawaka. Doc Pierce’s restaurant, located on 120 N. Main Street, Mishawaka, offers casual but classy dining at reasonable prices.

The food is pretty standard fare. The usual assortment of chicken, salads, steaks and burgers are available, but with clever medical-based names like “the intern” (beef in mushroom sauce) and “chicken M.D.” (chicken in teriyaki sauce). Meals come in two forms – “over the counter” (baskets) and “full prescriptions” (entrees). The baskets include only fries, and prices range from about $6 to $9. Entrees include salad, bread, and choice of baked potato, French fries, coleslaw, rice or vegetables, priced between $10 and $20.

The food is quite good, although it’s really not much different than what’s found at most eateries of this kind. At the very least, however, Doc Pierce’s is a step above chain restaurants, and since the prices are comparable, it is an attractive choice for hungry families and students alike.

The service was excellent – prompt, attentive and knowledgeable. While the restaurant was mostly empty on a Monday night, it often gets crowded on the weekends and sometimes requires reservations. While a bit farther than restaurants on Grape Road – about a 20-minute drive from campus – Doc Pierce’s is well worth the extra effort and a particularly good choice on football weekends.

The atmosphere is one of the main draws. With an antique bar and all wood décor, the restaurant has a very classy and inviting feel. The dominating features, however, are the more than 60 Tiffany-style lamps and backlit stained glass windows that hang in every available free space. And if one of the lamps or windows happens to strike a diner’s fancy, they are all available for purchase.

Doc Pierce’s is a good place for a wide range of people and occasions, from family dinners to first dates. There is an assortment of booths and tables, although the booths offer more privacy. Speakers pipe classic rock and country, giving the restaurant a laid-back and welcoming feel. With seating areas on both the first and second floor, as well as a full-service bar, it serves a wide-range of patrons.

Doc Pierce’s is a good destination for those seeking a relaxed restaurant that isn’t too far from campus, but offers something different than standard chain restaurant fare. The eatery offers good food at acceptable prices – especially for college students without a lot of disposable income.