A small yet vibrant city situated in the heart of Indiana Amish country, Elkhart combines rural, small town charms and wide open green spaces with a bustling community, a growing cultural scene thanks to its revitalized down town area, and a large number of unique local restaurants From picturesque cafes to quirky, character-filled pubs, we profile the 10 best local restaurants in Elkhart.
For an upscale yet relaxed dining experience, 523 Tap and Grill is the place to be in Elkhart. The interior is beautifully designed, with dark polished wood tables and chairs, a large decorative bar with an array of gleaming bottles, and atmospheric lighting from a number of modern chandeliers. The menu matches this contemporary, luxurious setting. Choose from the sagnaki or the octopus churasco – chargrilled octopus stewed in a red wine, mushroom and chorizo sauce. For an extra touch of luxury, choose a signature martini from 523 Tap and Grill’s extensive cocktail menu.
Located in downtown Elkhart on the banks of its picturesque river, b on the River is the perfect getaway spot for a peaceful breakfast or lingering lunch in beautiful surroundings. The menu offers a range of delicious breakfast and brunch options, from the savory, such as the Egg Bake with sausage and cheese, to the sweet, such as baked oatmeal served with fresh fruit. For later in the day, there is a variety of home made, fresh sandwiches, paninis, soups and salads, as well as a number of seasonal and daily specials and freshly baked goods. The cafe itself is quaint and cozy, and as well as food, sells a variety of local handmade crafts, artwork and home decor.
One of Elkhart’s leading seafood restaurants, Chubby Trout has all the feel of a bustling neighborhood bar, simply with a sushi table running down the middle. The restaurant has a range of traditional and signature sushi rolls which will tempt even the most reluctant seafood novice; highlights include tempura shrimp and fresh mango topped with a tempura crunch, and red tuna, shrimp and avocado served with a spicy dynamite sauce. Chubby Trout also serves more classic seafood dishes, including its eponymous rainbow trout finished with a white wine dill cream sauce, grilled salmon with a honey mustard glaze, and spicy, flavorsome fish tacos.
The Iechyd Da Brewing Company is a family owned and run brewery and pub which opened in Elkhart in 2011. The brewery has swiftly made a name for itself as one of the prime places in the city to find unique and home made craft beers and hearty pub food. The pub brews most of its own beers on location and offers a range to suit everyone’s tastes, from hoppy, refreshing American Pale Ales to dark, robust stouts with flavors of coffee and chocolate. The pub food easily matches the uniqueness and quality of the beers with a variety of pizzas and over-baked sandwiches, charmingly named after Welsh landmarks as a nod to the Lewis family heritage.
Located on the river edge with gorgeous views of the surrounding landscape, McCarthy’s on the Riverwalk offers a beautiful dining experience in a friendly, relaxing pub atmosphere. The restaurant has a large outdoor dining area, with several patios allowing guests to relax over delicious food and drink in the warm sunshine or on a balmy evening. For the colder months, guests can retreat to the cozy interior while still enjoying the views through floor-to-ceiling windows. The menu offers traditional Irish pub fare, from the gloriously comforting Irish mac ‘n’ cheese made with a smoked cheese sauce to the Big Irish burger topped with blue cheese, bacon and a fried egg.
Named after the Miles Laboratories, a medical research center and production company founded in Elkhart in 1884, Miles Lab plays homage to this local institution with its decoration – large black-and-white photos and vintage signs and posters line the walls, providing a glimpse into the town’s history and heritage. The restaurant specializes in classic American cuisine, with cheese fries, buffalo wings, rib eye steaks and decadent burgers all featuring on the menu. Miles Lab also offers a varied drinks menu, with a large number of local and microbrews both on tap and bottled, making this restaurant the perfect place to sample local culture.
The Moringa Tree‘s focus is on showing visitors the benefits of natural food through a delicious menu made up of healthy, organic ingredients. The cafe’s very name speaks to this goal – in many cultures, The Moringa Tree is known as the tree of life, an idea Jenny Rusnell wanted to reflect in her healthy, natural recipes. All of the food is made from scratch, with a large number of vegan, raw-food and gluten-free options. As well as a large number of sandwiches, pizzas and salads, the cafe offers a variety of fresh smoothies and juices blended on location for each order, to ensure maximum freshness and flavor.
Ricky’s Taqueria is an authentic Mexicantaqueria, specializing in traditional street food and wraps such as tacos, burritos and quesadillas, rather than elaborate meals and dinners. All of the food is prepared using the original Mexican cooking techniques, resulting in delicious dishes packed full of flavor and color. Highlights from the menu include the tortas available with eight different fillings, and the tostados de ceviche served with fish cooked in lime juice. The restaurant itself is tiny – although there is some seating available, visitors usually elect to get take out or sit at the picnic tables outside.
The Vine is located in the ‘Security Building’, a picturesque historic building in downtown Elkhart, strikingly built from red bricks and with a charming copper roof. The exterior of the restaurant hints at the character and elegance within. Crisp white tablecloths, atmospheric lighting and a large eye-catching bar make for a special and sophisticated evening out. The menu features a variety of dishes and different cuisines, from classic favorites to original recipes – try the signature spiced crab dip served with a sharp cheddar sauce and garlic bread, or one of the many gourmet salads, made with the freshest of ingredients.
Volcano Pizza was first established in Elkhart in 1957, and has since become an Elkhart institution, opening up two more locations in the city over the next few decades. Unsurprisingly, the restaurant specializes in pizzas, made with hand-tossed, freshly baked dough, generous amounts of tomato sauce and mozzarella, and a large variety of mix and match toppings, and cut into rich, melting squares. As well as pizzas, however, the restaurant offers a number of Italian sandwiches made with meatballs, sausages or beef, as well as their freshly baked, famous bread sticks served with a mouthwatering tomato sauce.