Food – now you knew we were going to go there, didn’t you? No matter where we go, we always have dining adventures. Are you ready to learn about the dining we did while our coach was being serviced at Entegra?
OK great! If you ever plan to be in the area of Shipshewana, Middlebury or Elkhart, hope this helps you choose a restaurant that you might enjoy! Here’s a synopsis of the places we visited, some we had been to before, others were a new experience.
Blue Gate Restaurant (2014 & 2018)
During our last visit to the area in June, 2014, we thoroughly enjoyed our meal at the Blue Gate Restaurant. I thought their signature fried chicken was one of the best I’ve ever had. Tired from our drive from Spartan, rather than going out to eat, we decided to do take out. Ordering and take out pick up is done at the bakery at the Blue Gate. We ordered a 9 piece bucket of chicken with a side of carrots and mashed potatoes. Carrots and potatoes were good but we were very disappointed in the chicken. First because it only contained thighs, wings and drumsticks (no breasts) and secondly because it was overcooked causing it to be dry and tough. Guess we won’t do that again!
In 2018 we had lunch at the Blue Gate. I had the 4 piece fried chicken ($13.99) which was excellent while Rob had the Meatloaf Shepherd’s Pie ($11.99) which was meat loaf topped with mashed potatoes smothered with a blend of cheeses. That was good as well although he wasn’t crazy about the cheese.
Ben’s Soft Pretzels (2017)
Originally founded by Ben and his wife, 3rd generation local Amish bakers, there are now 71 locations nationwide. Although they have several sandwich pretzels, we just opted for a plain one. Not big soft pretzel fans but these were excellent!
Four Seasons Diner Family Restaurant (2017 & 2018)
Tucked down a side street near the Blue Gate Restaurant in Shipshewanna was this small, very cute restaurant, serving good, reasonably priced food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their extensive menu can be found on their Facebook page. When we were there, there were a number of Amish people eating here, always a good sign to see local people populating a restaurant. And yes, there is egg weirdness here – order two eggs and get three!
Pumpkinvine Cafe (2017)
Located on Morton Street in Shipshewanna, this is a very cute restaurant. No table service here – order at the counter and pick it up when your number is called. We both had the Pumpkinvine Special Sandwich ($7.49) which is steak, sautéed onions & peppers, mushrooms, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese on a French roll with a choice of steak sauce or mayo, served with chips (or potato or pasta salad for $1 extra). Delish!
A new restaurant for us during our 2016 visit. Located not too far from Entegra, it quickly became a favorite for a delicious lunch twice, once with Betsy and Nancy, once by ourselves and once for breakfast. Order at the counter, and when it is ready, your food is brought to your table. Both times for lunch I had Mandarin Orange Salad (oh, my more healthiness!) which had romaine, mandarin orange, red onions, almonds, croutons, poppy seed dressing ($6.39). Super fresh ingredients and so delicious!
On our first visit, Rob had a Grilled Cheese ($4.79) and on the second visit a Taco Salad ($7.39). Both excellent. For breakfast, we both wanted to try their quiche but they had sold out so instead we had an Egg & Cheese Breakfast Sandwich ($3.95). If you are ever are visiting the area, this is a great place for either breakfast or lunch!
We enjoyed lunch here twice during our visit in 2017. In 2018 we had lunch here twice. Stopped here for breakfast one morning and enjoyed a delicious mushroom, spinach and parmesan slice of quiche and a pumpkin cheese muffin. Yummy! Always the same fresh, high quality food!
Das Dutchman Essenhaus
Another favorite that we’ve been to many times in the past. We had breakfast here several times during this stay, each time having the small portion of the Amish scrambler (eggs, home fries, bacon, sausage or ham scrambled together) with toast ($5.99). Always good! Love having the Apple Butter and the Peanut Butter on the table.
Shortly after we arrived in the area, our friend, Tom (another Entegra owner) invited Nancy and Betsy and us to join him for the dinner buffet at Das Essenhaus. Being a Saturday night it was very crowded but we didn’t have to wait long, maybe about 15 minutes. For $13.50, the buffet includes: roast beef, turkey, fried chicken (delicious), 10+ sides, salad and dessert bar. Oh, my! What a lot of food!
41 Degrees North (2016, 2017 & 2018)
Located on Main Street in the center of Middlebury, this restaurant just opened in April of 2015. Lots of history associated with the building that houses this restaurant. Built in 1888 as a jewelry store, it changed hands several times over the years. After chipping away the horsehair plaster they found an original mural “Elliott & Foster, Dealers of Agricultural Implements” with a twine binding harvester which was first made in 1880.
Anyway, on our first visit here for lunch we both had the Big 4-1 Burger, a “never ever” (all natural, never frozen, no hormones added, grass fed) steak burger patty, bacon, swiss, fried jalapenos, lettuce, tomato, onions, avocado and house made chipotle mayo. What a huge burger and totally delish! Probably one of the better burgers we’ve had. It came with a one side (salad, soup, french fries, coleslaw, veggies or mashed potatoes). We both had a cup of their soup du jour (Potato Rivels). That was absolutely delicious as well.
On a Saturday night, we went back for dinner with Nancy, Betsy, Andrei and Sandy. Owen, our Service Coordinator, at Entegra had raved about the steak tips served with onions and mushrooms on a bed of mashed potatoes. Don’t know if it was because it was a Saturday night and they were really busy, but we were very disappointed. Our waitress didn’t ask us how we wanted them cooked and they were overdone, dry, tough, quite chewy and didn’t taste that great. Oh well!
On our return visit in 2016, we ate here once again for lunch where I had a Southwest Salad (grilled chicken, spring mix, corn and black bean pico de gallo, colby jack cheese, house made flour tortilla chips and chipotle ranch dressing, $11) and Rob had a Patty Melt (7 oz “never-ever” steak burger patty and grilled onions on a brioche roll, $11 served with garlic mashed). Another yummy meal!
During our return visit in 2017, we ate here twice, once for lunch and once for dinner, ordering burgers both times. Both were excellent. Be aware this place is always crowded especially at dinner time so get there early!
In 2018 we went for dinner there with friends where we both had the Big 4-1 Burger again. Delicious!
West on Warren
This is a relatively new restaurant in Middlebury. Delicious Creamy Wild Mushroom Soup ($4) and a Sweet & Savory Burger ($14 for a half-pound Halpern’s Black Angus steakburger, bacon, cheddar, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato, onion jam and fried egg on a Hawaiian Bun) were our choices for an early dinner. Nice atmosphere, excellent service and delicious food especially the soup!
Village Inn Restaurant
Located in the center of Middlebury across the street from 41 Degrees North, we stopped here for lunch one day. I had the Cowboy Burger (mushroom, swiss with onion rings & BBQ sauce ($6.90) while Rob had a Quarter Pound Cheeseburger ($6.45), served with one side. We both had the tater tots. It was good but nothing special.
Esther’s Hilltop Restaurant (2017)
Update 9/20/2018: The Hilltop Restaurant burned to the ground the other day. The owner is not sure if she is going to rebuild or not.
Stopped here for breakfast. Decent food with reasonable prices – 2 eggs with bacon for $5.25. Not much atmosphere so hard to justify the dinner prices which range from $15.95 to $34.95!
Tijuana Taqueria Mexican Restaurant
Stopped here for lunch one day. Menu is on the wall, order at the counter, then they bring the food over to your table. We both had the Burrito Gratinado – a flour tortilla filled with a choice of meat (beef, pork or chicken) and served with rice and beans ($9.95). Food (sorry no pics) was good but not sure that I would go out of my way to go here.
South Side Soda Shop and Diner
Featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives”, this classic place revived a lot of memories of what diners and soda shops used to be like. Very 50-ish interior. At the recommendation of our waitress, I had the Philly Cheese Steak, shaved beef, swiss american cheese, onion, green peppers, grilled and served on a 9 inch hoagie roll, served with spiral fries ($6.85). Rob had the Philly Chili, award winning chili served over egg noodles, topped with onions, sour cream and cheese served in a soda glass ($6.95). That was good as well although he felt there wasn’t enough chili and it was difficult to eat in the soda glass. Definitely would go back here. Closed on Sundays and Mondays.
Venturi Pizza (2017)
Not your average pizza joint by any means. Certified Neopolitan pizzas (made with tomatoes and mozzarella cheese) are served here. The restaurant has been voted by Esquire’s readers to be one of the top 15 most life changing pizzas in the nation, named one of Yelp’s Top 50 restaurants in the state of Indiana and is a recipient of TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence. Besides pizza, they serve Neapolitan sandwiches and craft cocktails. Pizzas are relatively small so we each had one – mine was a prosciutto e funghi with fior di latte (mozzarella), crimini mushrooms and prosciutto di parma for $15.99. Rob had Margherita Doc with fior di latte and fresh basil for $12.99. Both were excellent! The restaurant is fairly small and very popular so expect to wait for a table.
During our 2016 visit to the area, friends Betsy and Nancy coerced us (it didn’t take much) to try Heinnies in Elkhart. Located in the middle of an industrial area, it looked more like a local bar from the outside but it seemed like a very popular place with the locals. According to the book they have from Hamburger America, Heinnies made the list as one of 150 juiciest hamburger spots in the country. Guess what we had there? Why, the Heinnie Cheeseburger ($5.99) of course with a side order of fries ($2.49)! It was quite tasty but was it the best we’ve ever had? Can’t say that it was.
Flippin’ Cow Burger Joint
Located just a few miles from the Candlewood Suites and I-90 exit 92, touted as Elkhart’s only waterfront restaurant, the Flippin’ Cow Burger Joint is located on Simonton Lake. Eat inside or outside overlooking the water. On the night we went here, it was too cold to sit outside so we sat at a picnic table on their enclosed deck.
Place was crowded, probably because of their steak special they were offering but they had an extensive menu (which BTW were actual old record album covers) and we were more in the mood for a burger – that was after all, their specialty. Being the onion ring fanatic that I am, we just had to start with an order of those even though they were a little pricey at $5.99. Very good. For the main entree, I had the Hunka Hunka Burger Love – two steak patties, peanut butter, jalapeno jelly, melted pepper jack cheese and smoked bacon on a toasted pretzel bun with handmade potato chips ($8.99). Odd combination but all independent favorites of mine so why not!
Rob had the Stella Moo – a double steak burger topped with smoked brisket, jalapeno bacon, onion straws, pepper jack cheese and an alehouse BBQ sauce on a toasted wheat brioche bun ($9.49) with tater tots. Really good burgers, among the best! We would definitely return here if in the area in the future.
In 2018 we ordered a Double Cheeseburger ($8.28) and I had a Bonnie Burger ($9.99), which was a Double Steak Burger topped with sauteed garlic mushrooms and Bonnie’s favorite Bacon Cheddar Dip on a toasted Brioche Bun. Although they were good, burgers don’t always taste quite as good when you do take out.
Located just a short distance from the Candlewood Suites in Elkhart and open 24 hours, we stopped here and had our usual breakfasts (surprise, surprise), bacon and eggs for me ($5.99), corned beef hash for Rob ($7.49).
This was our first experience with the eggs-tra eggs that Rob wrote about. Decent breakfast, good service and reasonable prices. Went here several times for breakfast in 2017 and again in 2018, same good food and great service! By the way, at the register, be sure to ask for the 15% senior discount!
Just up the road from the Candlewood Suites. One night neither one of us wanted to go out anywhere so we ordered an extra large (16″) pepperoni pizza ($18.35). It wasn’t the worst pizza we’ve ever had nor was it the best, just okay.
Great Wall Chinese Restaurant
We had take out here the last time we stayed at Candlewood Suites. Although we didn’t write about it, we remembered it being good so the day before our departure, we ordered take-out. Very convenient as you can order on-line. We had two small Hot & Sour Soups (each $2.50). For our main entree we ordered something a little different – Basil Chicken, labeled as an authentic Chinese dish with sliced chicken, fresh Asian basil, jalapenos and mushrooms, sauteed Chinese style ($10.95) and the House Special Fried Rice which had shrimp, pork, chicken and vegetables ($9.50). Everything was delicious and we had leftovers for lunch the next day. We have added this to our list of favorites!
We did takeout here again while staying at the Candlewood Suites in September of 2018. Love the food here! We once again had two small Hot & Sour Soups (each $2.50), General Tso’s Chicken ($10.95) and the House Special Fried Rice ($9.50). Oh, boy, just as good as it usually is!
Just as the name suggests, this restaurant is decorated to look like it is from the 60’s, complete with Andy Griffith and Barney Fife memorabilia everywhere. We went here for breakfast one morning and liked it so much we went back a second time. For $6.95, I had my usual bacon and eggs and Rob had sausage patties and eggs. Both served with hash browns and toast. And no 2=4 egg weirdness!
Average breakfast here. I had 2 eggs with sausage patties which were very overcooked ($5.75) and Rob had his usual corned beef hash ($6.25) with poached which were mostly cooked properly. This was another freakish 2=4 eggs-tra eggs experience.
Miles Lab Burger Bar & Restaurant (2017)
Based on several recommendations we decided to try this restaurant for lunch. Very cute on the inside with a very interesting history. I had the Bacon 3 Way($9.49) which was their Kahuna Burger pressed onto bacon crumbles and seared, topped with bacon strips and melted American cheese and balsamic bacon jam. Served on our buttered and grilled Kaiser Roll. You’d think with all that bacon, it would be good.Boy was I disappointed, the bacon wasn’t cooked enough and it was probably the most tasteless burger I have ever had.
Bacon Hill Kitchen & Pub
If you want something a little bit different, then this is the place to go. Located in a shopping plaza, this eclectic place is small so best to arrive early. Our waitress recommended that we split the Smoked BBQ – pulled pork, brisket, smoked sausage, bbq, baked beans, pickles, sweet corn casserole & sweet corn muffin ($25 + $2 extra for splitting the meal), explaining to us that they would split the order in the kitchen. When our order arrived we were amazed by the amount of food! Holy moly, could one person actually eat all of this food by themselves? Really good!
For dessert, the four of us (we were there with friends) split a huge piece of their homemade Gooey Peach Buttercake which was smothered in a blueberry sauce. Yum! Definitely worth a visit!
Athens Gyros & Diner – Permanently Closed
We decided to stop here on our way to the Newmar Factory Tour. Cute place located in the small town of Nappanee. Rob had his usual corned beef hash ($5.50) and I had two eggs with two bacon strips and two sausage patties ($6.25). 2=3 egg weirdness here! Clean, good food and good service – would definitely stop here again.
Cielito Lindo Mexican
Betsy and Nancy were on the same factory tour at Newmar as us. Since looking at RV’s being built induces hunger (not so much for us but they hadn’t had any breakfast), we headed back to Nappanee to have lunch, stopping at this Mexican restaurant. Very nicely decorated, excellent authentic food, good service and reasonable prices. Tortilla chips and salsa provided free of charge before we ordered.
We didn’t go here again but Betsy and Nancy did. No rave reviews this time – they weren’t happy with the food at all.
So that does it for our dining experiences during our stay at Entegra. Stay tuned for what comes next!