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Scene in South Bend: The Chicory Cafe

| Thursday, April 7, 2016

chicory webSusan Zhu | The Observer

Upon entering the Chicory Café, the charming “French Quarter style coffee house” reveals itself to be so much more. The spacious yet cozy, playfully decorated downtown South Bend spot lends itself to any occasion. Open from 6 a.m. to midnight, the Chicory Café transforms throughout the day.

Featured in a 2014 Observer article on the best study spots in South Bend, the Chicory Café is homework-friendly during most hours. It has plenty of space to pull out your laptop and even offers discounted coffee refills. The spinach artichoke dip served with fresh French bread is the perfect study accompaniment.

A modest breakfast selection featuring bagels and egg po’boys complements a plethora of coffee and latte options. Typical café items like sandwiches and soups exceed expectations in flavor — the red pepper Gouda soup was especially tasty.

A Caprese Sandwich on French bread from Chicory CaféKelly McGarry | The Observer
A caprese sandwich on French bread from Chicory Café.

With a walk-up counter, the style of dining and the presentation of food is very casual, but the flavors themselves are anything but flippant.

Authentic Cajun house specialties like jambalaya, gumbo and muffuletta provide for a hearty meal in addition to a unique selection of house mac & cheeses. A generous portion of light and fluffy beignets are a to-die-for snack or dessert. All of the menu items are executed well, so it’s hard to go wrong with any order.

An order of beignets from Chicory CafeKelly McGarry | The Observer
An order of beignets from Chicory Cafe.

Daytime at the Chicory Café offers a calm atmosphere. Patrons relax on the sofa or enjoy laid-back activities like the café’s Thursday Scrabble club. With checkerboard tables and a shelf full of board games, the restaurant provides plenty of additional informal entertainment opportunities.

By night, the café is frequently energized by live music, like these upcoming acts on their weekend music calendar. In addition to special acts, local musicians can take part in a songwriter showcase.

The space gets more interactive with weekly events including live trivia on Wednesdays and open-mic comedy the first Thursday of every month as well as special events like wine tastings and salsa nights. During these events, patrons can take advantage of the bar, which offers wine, craft beers and other spirits.

A welcoming attitude permeates all aspect of the venue. Music events have no cover and all ages are welcome. This is one of the few off-campus places where you could feasibly hangout all day, doing homework, playing games, listening to music and, of course, eating great food. It works equally well as a destination for a group outing or simply for some alone-time. Even if you’re just stopping in, the Chicory Café has something for everyone.

The front counter and menu at Chicory CaféKelly McGarry | The Observer
The front counter and menu at Chicory Café.
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