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Scene (near) South Bend: Spend a day in Goshen

and | Friday, October 5, 2018

Diane Park | The Observer

Look, football is great and all, but those rare fall weekends without an exhausting, multi-hour sporting event are, in the opinion of these writers, some of the season’s greatest luxuries. Northern Indiana thrives in the fall and so do we. Temperatures creep down, breezes are crisper, leaves turn to crimsons, ambers and goldens — it’s the perfect time to go for a drive and explore.

For your fall destination, Scene humbly suggests the charming city of Goshen. Goshen, a small town of about 30,000 about 45 minutes East of campus, is a bright gem in the north-central Indiana landscape: quirky, cool coffee shops and record stores, nationally-recognized pizza and more. Here, Scene has compiled some of our favorite places to visit in Goshen’s vibrant downtown community.


Coffee and chess at Electric Brew

By Nora McGreevy, Scene Editor

Beans roasted in-house? Check. An array of baked goods? Yep. Cozy chairs, large windows, local art on the walls and — just for fun — a bike hanging from the ceiling? The Electric Brew, Goshen’s premier coffee shop, has all of these things and more. The last time I visited, I sat curled up into a chair as I played a (poorly-conceived) game of chess and sipped a coffee, perfectly content with whiling away the hours. The atmosphere, warm and snug, invites conversations and prolonged stays. Grab a coffee before or after your dinner at Venturi, just two blocks away.


Certified Neapolitan pizza at Venturi

By Charlie Kenney, Scene Writer

Northern Indiana isn’t a region with a certain type of pizza that defines it. Around here, pizza is either good or it isn’t, regardless of how it’s prepared — deep dish, New York style, Detroit style, etc. This struggle to find real, quality pizza, however, isn’t due to exceptional pizza not existing near Notre Dame. It’s due to naivety and a lack of effort to find some.

Venturi has been voted by readers of Esquire as one of the “15 most life-changing pizzas in the nation,” is certified as an authentic Neapolitan pizza carrier by the government of Italy and is, without a doubt, some of the best ‘za that I have ever had the pleasure to consume.

Pizza at Venturi isn’t typical of Indiana. As its name and Italian certification imply: It’s Italian and you can tell. Each individual pie is prepared in the traditional Neapolitan style, cooked in a wood-fire oven and prepared with the freshest, Italian-imported ingredients available.

As dedicated to the principles of Italy as Venturi is, however, you have options when you order. You can get one of their three traditional Neapolitan pies: Margherita Doc, Margherita Extra Doc or Marinara Doc — all of which are prepared with their authentic marinara sauce, globs of fresh mozzarella and basil leaves. If you’re picky and simply like Italian pizza with American toppings, however, they work with you. Their wide-ranging menu includes basic pepperoni, a variety of white pizzas, a complicated concoction named the Capricciosa, which includes olives, mushrooms, prosciutto and artichoke hearts on a bed of mozzarella.  

And although pizza is Venturi’s specialty, their menu also includes a wide range of appetizers, sandwiches, desserts and signature cocktails. During my time at the pizzeria I had the ability to try one appetizer, their divine fougasse — Italian pull-apart breadsticks smothered in olive oil and oregano with a side of citrusy San Marzano tomato paste.

If pizza is more than just tomato paste and cheese on a piece of bread to you, then Venturi is worth the drive. Online rankings and certifications from Italy may not mean much to you, but I can assure you that when you taste a pie from Venturi, they will.


Live music and sorting through records at Ignition Garage

By Nora McGreevy, Scene Editor

If you walk through one door in the Electric Brew’s wall, you’ll end up in another — and equally welcoming — space. Ignition Music Garage, a quirky refurbished industrial space with an encyclopedic collection of records lining the floor in carts, strikes the perfect balance between homey and exciting. It’s a place to spend hours in, flipping through records with reckless abandon. It’s also a well-established venue for intimate concerts. The venue attracts alternative acts from all over the country — as evidenced by their ever-growing list of concerts as well as the signed concert posters littering the bathroom walls. In the future, the venue hopes to also host an exciting roster of local groups, as the owners aim to cement Ignition Music Garage as the go-to place in the region for live music shows.

Honorable mentions

Visit Maple Indian cuisine for delicious north Indian food; sip locally-brewed beer and dine on farm-to-table food at Goshen Brewing Company, overlooking the river; bike along the Pumpkinvine bike trail in the Indiana countryside; enjoy top-notch tacos at Los Primos; take a stroll through OxBow County Park; shop at Maple City market for a co-op full of local options and explore the Old Bag Factory, a revitalized factory with restaurants and shops featuring a plethora of local artisans.


This weekend, hop on U.S. Route 20 and see for yourself. Find driving directions from campus to downtown Goshen here. P.S.: The drive is beautiful this time of year.

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About Nora McGreevy

Scene Editor.

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About Charlie Kenney

Charlie writes about things with words.

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