Graduation is in a week, and you forgot to make dinner reservations for you and your parents. Don’t panic! These five spots will be sure to blow you and your folks away (I mean, come on, a sword with meat on it? Build-your-own mac-and-cheese?!).
Added bonus? These restaurants are less obvious choices for celebrating, so you should still be able to easily snag a spot for the night following the big ceremony. Happy eating!
One of Mishawaka’s first farm-to-table restaurants, Corndance Tavern’s menu boasts fresh, local ingredients that never fail to please even the pickiest of palates. A lengthy list of specials changes nightly and reflects food that is in season and currently inspiring the restaurant chef and owner, George Pesek.
Corndance is famous for a menu item called the “Sword of John Adams,” which consists of an actual sword that holds various meats and seafoods and is often served with a potato and vegetable side. Perfect for the big eaters in the group!
My favorite dish is the wildwood flatbread, which is a thin crust topped with a garlicky parmesan sauce, wild mushrooms, chunks of crispy bacon, and mild fontinella cheese. I also love the pear and ricotta raviolis, pockets of pasta filled with sweet pear and tangy sun-dried tomatoes, and covered in a creamy sauce.
Want to take advantage of your parents paying for dinner? Head to Cafe Navarre. Though the restaurant is a bit pricey compared to other options in the area, the food is always on point. The restaurant is housed in an old bank, making for an incredibly unique atmosphere, and the servers are extremely knowledgable about the food being served.
Intimidating menu? Not sure what to order? While the menu changes seasonally, my go-to dishes include the crab cake appetizer (totally big enough for dinner if you add a salad) and the short ribs, which you can literally cut with a spoon.
Want to do something a little outside of the box with your parents? Evil Czech is the place for you. Founded by the owner of Corndance Tavern, Evil Czech is a fun, eclectic place taking the art of cooking-and brewing-very seriously.
The food at Evil Czech is different from much of what is offered in the Mishawaka area. The menu consists of “public snacks” meant to be shared, like parmesan truffle fries covered in fried rosemary and served with a truffle aioli, and larger plates that range from street tacos to build-your-own mac-and-cheese to restaurant specialities like bison goulash.
Thinking about grabbing a bite earlier in the day? Evil Czech is known for its “Lightning Lunch,” a buffet featuring smaller portions of dishes featured on the regular dinner menu. This all-you-can-eat buffet is $11.95 per person and is available from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m, every weekday.
Family-owned Italian restaurants never fail to be the perfect locations for family celebrations. Parisi’s Italian Ristorante dishes out classics like Chicken Parmesan and Linguini and Clams-the right way. The dishes are simultaneously simple, most only featuring a handful of ingredients, and full of depth.
One feature on the menu is make-your-own-pasta, which features endless combinations of a variety of pastas, sauces, and toppings. The whole wheat penne with pesto and grilled chicken is fantastic. For something different, try the Bistecca Insalata Pomodoro, ribeye steak smothered in roasted tomatoes, basil, onions, and extra virgin olive oil.
Rocky River Tap and Table is the new kid on the block-and it is really frickin’ good. Similar to Corndance Tavern, Rocky River Tap and Table features local, farm fresh ingredients in all of the dishes on the menu.
Somewhat cheaper and way more casual than Corndance, Rocky River Tap and Table is perfect for the kids who just want to go out and celebrate the end of their four years at ND. The atmosphere of the restaurant is young and fun, and the food is on point.
There are a couple of ways to approach the menu at Rocky River Tap and Table. Diners can order a variety of small plates to pass around in share, which include shaved prime rib tacos and wild mushroom and brie risotto fritters (food-gasm).
Diners can also choose to order full size entrees, such as grilled salmon covered in kumquat preserves or the to-die-for grown-up grilled cheese sandwich (three kinds of fancy cheese, bacon, roasted tomato, and arugula-whaaaaat).
Hanging out at ND during Senior Week? Check out these other cool spots: