Few surprises, a true virtue, when you're hungry, trying to please youngsters, or are hungry and don't want to experiment.
Bob Evans, Perkins, Steak 'n Shake, Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar, Red Lobster, The Olive Garden, Cracker Barrel All within a half mile of the main Elkhart Toll Road exit (#92). Of course, you'll find all the standard issue fast-food restaurants here too: McDonald's, Burger King, Subway, Blimpies, Long John Silver's, Taco Bell, Wendy's, Arby's, Hardees, Pizza Hut, Domino's; we've got'em all. More interesting is a small local chain called Mancino's, in the Summit Plaza at CR 13 and Old US 20, and in the new Martin's Plaza on West Bristol Street. Also worth a special mention is George's, on East Bristol Street.
The Bulldog, at SR 120 and CR 13 is a favorite hangout. Inexpensive food and drinks, a lively atmosphere, and perennial favorites make this a good spot almost any time you're hungry, but don't want to spend a fortune.
The Firehouse, off Bristol Street and Homeland Road is owned and operated by an ex-fireman, and the decor reflects that fact. Often crowded with regulars, the food ranges from burritos to filet mignon.
Casey's, on Main Street, is a local institution, having occupied the same spot as long as anyone can remember. The building shows its age, but there's an undeniable charm to the classic bar up front. In the dining area you'll often run into local politicians and business leaders. Many come in for the Fridays-only clam chowder, or the hands-down-best steak sandwich in town. Prime rib cuts are big and the Italian items have their fans, too.
Hacienda, in Easy Shopping Place, is a small regional chain of Mexican restaurants. Expect a wait here almost any night of the week - people of all ages love the place - the food is tasty and inexpensive. The lounge is VERY popular with 20-somethings, attracted, no doubt by the free chips and salsa, the great frozen margaritas, and of course, the other 20-somethings.
Columbo's, on South Main, is just about everyone's favorite Italian restaurant, and is considered by many to have Elkhart's best pizza. Family owned and operated, the food is fresh and home-style. There's a take-out pizza counter, too - but bring help for the load. Columbo's pizzas barely fit in 16" pizza boxes, and put national chain pizza to shame!
Between the Buns Sports Bar, on North Cassopolis Street, is a long-time area favorite with a reasonably priced menu. Dress up or go casual; you'll have company either way. Noted for its "great taste" menu sports line-up.
The Great Wall, on SR 19, near Rte. 112. Every city has its supply of Chinese restaurants; this is one of Elkhart's best. The servings are generous, widely varied, and delicious. Good, quick, inexpensive lunches, too.
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