It's become clear in recent years that the restaurants in Mishawaka, Indiana, shouldn't be overlooked. Some of the boldest flavors and unique menus in the area appear in South Bend's charming neighborhood.
After combing online reviews and social media comments, below are 10 restaurants that we consider essential to Mishawaka — plus more options and tips along the way. After all, why stop at 10?
Let's start with dessert, shall we? Caracas Bistro is probably best known for mind-blowing milkshakes that are so big they defy logic (and your ability to eat the whole thing). Lost in the milkshake hype is a Venezuelan-inspired menu that keeps regulars coming back for more.
Not your average steakhouse. Corndance Tavern does offer char-grilled and dry-aged steaks, as you'd expect. What you might not anticipate is something called the Sword of John Adams, a small sword with a variety of grilled meats and vegetables.
Doc Pierce's Restaurant
Doc Pierce's is the kind of place that hasn't changed a whole lot since it opened in the mid-1970s. And that's why it is a downtown Mishawaka icon. The menu features a little bit of everything.
Evil Czech Brewery & Public House
Hacienda - 100 Center
Some might turn up their noses at Hacienda being included here. They are misguided. This location, which opened in 1978, gave birth to the idea of dipping your chips in ranch and salsa, something former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg took to the masses during his presidential campaign. It's a truly local phenomenon.
Jesús Latin Grill & Tequila Bar
Perhaps the boldest flavors in the region (or the state?!) can be found in this restaurant, located inside an old Carnegie Library. Jesús Latin Grill positions itself as a "true Latin experience," and we're here to say it lives up to the billing. It's one of the most unique and delicious dining experiences our area has to offer.
Macadoo's Family Restaurant
Once crowned the best breakfast place in The Bend, Macadoo's is the quintessential family breakfast spot. Regulars think it has the best biscuits and gravy in town, and we're not inclined to argue.
Oliva's Bar & Restaurant
Let's start by saying it's really, really difficult to pick out just one Italian restaurant in Mishawaka's sea of contenders. But we tend to think Oliva's sets itself apart with an unpretentious, salt-of-the-earth approach that makes it wonderfully authentic. You can find all the Italian favorites here.
Other contenders like Papa Vino's, Fanello's, Cosimo & Susie's, and Pasquale Rulli's are worth mentioning here as well.
Smash & Trash
Taking a bit of a flier here on this up-and-coming restaurant. Smash & Trash is a smash burger and taco concept that has partnered up with Sun King, the Indianapolis-based brewery, at Ironworks Plaza in downtown Mishawaka. The early reviews are strong, plus visiting gets you to just about the trendiest spot in the area, with the Ironworks Ice Rink preparing to open and Ball Band Biergarten within walking distance.
Vinyl Tap & Table
Things we love about Vinyl Tap & Table: Music-focused vibe, creative menu, extensive beer list. It's easy to see why locals line up to eat here on a regular basis. If you're looking for a great meal in a laid-back atmosphere, this is the spot.