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BusINess » Restaurant

Posts Tagged ‘Restaurant’

Meyer’s Castle offers fine dining in ‘a piece of American history’

The upstairs dining room of Meyer's Castle in Dyer. (Photograph by Yvette Marie Dostatni.)

The upstairs dining room of Meyer's Castle in Dyer. (Photograph by Yvette Marie Dostatni.)

Motorists making their way down U.S. 30 in Dyer along the bustling stretch of shopping and dining establishments likely don’t realize what a huge piece of history they are driving past. Hidden by heavy foliage behind iron gates up a winding drive at the top of a hill sits an architectural gem that many Hoosiers may not know about—Meyer’s Castle. A simple turn south and all that hustle and bustle evaporates, transporting you to another place and time.

Completed in the early 1930s and designed by architect L. Cosby Bernard, the home was the dream of Joseph Ernest Meyer, founder of the Indiana Botanical Gardens in Hammond. An example of Jacobethan Revival Architecture, it was inspired by a castle Meyer had seen in Scotland, constructed with Indiana limestone and detailed by European craftsmen. The millionaire botanist enhanced the grounds with extensive gardens, and lived in the home until his death in 1950. In 1984, the home was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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Restaurant owners’ reaction mixed to proposed smoking ban

Mellow Brew Cheesecake owner Timothy Hendrickson doesn't allow smoking in his Dyer business, but he doesn't think the state should dictate the decision. He thinks it should be up to the business owners. (Photograph by John J. Watkins/The Times.)

Mellow Brew Cheesecake owner Timothy Hendrickson doesn't allow smoking in his Dyer business, but he doesn't think the state should dictate the decision. He thinks it should be up to the business owners. (Photograph by John J. Watkins/The Times.)

Indiana restaurants aren’t among the exemptions to the proposed statewide smoking ban, but many proprietors are making the decision to go smoke-free for themselves.

For many of them, their concern is it remains their decision—not the government’s.

Timothy Hendrickson doesn’t allow smoking at his Mellow Brew Cheesecake House in Dyer, but he prefers nobody make that decision except for him.
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Cobbler, pie shop opens in Chicago Heights

Bonnie Thompson, owner of Classic Cobbler in Chicago Heights, prepares to make dinner-size cobbler pies at her new business. (Photograph by Mary Compton/The Times.)

Bonnie Thompson, owner of Classic Cobbler in Chicago Heights, prepares to make dinner-size cobbler pies at her new business. (Photograph by Mary Compton/The Times.)

When Bloom High School graduate Bonnie Thompson saw the strip mall come up next to the popular Egg & I restaurant on Dixie Highway, she decided it was time to follow her dream.

Thompson’s new bakery, Classic Cobbler, recently opened in that strip mall at 200 Dixie Highway.

She worked for years as a mental health counselor, but was accustomed to people asking that she bake for their parties. Thompson decided to market her family recipes by opening a shop that specializes in a variety of fruit cobblers, pies and specialty cakes.
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Hot dogs to remember

Alex Kutanovski holds three of the many different style of hot dogs his Crown Point business, Maxwell Street Hotdogs, has to offer. (Photograph by Dan Shelton/The Times.)

Alex Kutanovski holds three of the many different style of hot dogs his Crown Point business, Maxwell Street Hotdogs, has to offer.
(Photograph by Dan Shelton/The Times.)

Maxwell Street Hotdogs serves the Vienna beef sausages in almost more ways and with more trimmings than you can count.

“There are 10 different types of hot dogs that all have different toppings, and with all you can get them Chicago-style,” said Alex Kutanovski, who owns and operates the restaurant.

The small diner-style eatery with a drive-through window opened Nov. 1 in the rear third of a family-owned office building on Main Street. Beside hot dogs, offerings include 16 types of sandwiches such as Polish sausages, prime rib sandwiches, Italian beef, hamburgers and patty melts, plus fries, chili, chili cheese fries and more.

The diner’s name is reminiscent of the former Maxwell Street area of Chicago, Kutanovski said.

“Maxwell Street and Vienna beef is kind of a generic name a lot of Polish Sausage,” he said. “I went to Indiana Secretary of State website and saw Maxwell Street was available in Indiana, and knowing people associate Maxwell Street with quality hot dogs and Polish, we chose it.”

An attorney by day, Kutanovski operates Maxwell Street Hotdogs on evenings and weekends and the Chicago Fire Juniors Northwest Indiana soccer club, where he’s part owner, in his spare time.

“They take up a lot of time, but I typically take care of them after work,” he said. “With the soccer club it’s a labor of love that keeps you going. It‘s keeping high school and college kids employed and 200 kids off the street and active. I’ve learned I enjoy my day job, but when I get out of there I think hot dogs and soccer.”
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Tequila Si Cantina expands into Lowell

Chef Casey Anderson prepares steak fajitas at the recently opened Tequila Si Cantina restaurant in Lowell. (Photograph by Tim Hunt/The Times.)

Chef Casey Anderson prepares steak fajitas at the recently opened Tequila Si Cantina restaurant in Lowell. (Photograph by Tim Hunt/The Times.)

Ron and Michele Burget recently opened the second in what they plan will be a long line of Tequila Si Cantina franchises.

Ron, who has more than 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry, opened the Lowell location Dec. 3 and is planning to open a third Mexican-themed eatery in Dyer during the spring or early summer. He envisions a fourth and fifth in Winfield and Valparaiso.
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New deal site offers steep restaurant discounts

Foodies have a new way to snag reservations at posh urban eateries—and enjoy them at a steep discount.

A six-month-old Web service called VillageVines is elbowing its way into the growing crowd of discount sites that offer everything from haircuts to yoga sessions for as much as half off.

VillageVines, modeled on a competing service called OpenTable, offers a 30 percent discount on restaurant tabs—alcohol included—at up-scale destinations around the country. Subscribers to the service pay $10 to make a reservation, and the discount is discretely applied to the check.
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Hammond restaurant inspired memorable Peking duck scene in ‘A Christmas Story’

The duck decapitation—which sets the turkey-deprived Parker clan into fits of giggles—is a highlight of “A Christmas Story.” Left to right: John Wong as the Chop Suey Palace owner, Darren McGavin as The Old Man, Melinda Dillon as Mother, Ian Petrella as Randy Parker and Peter Billingsley as Ralphie Parker (the young Jean Shepherd). The Cam-Lan, Hammond's first upscale Chinese restaurant, is widely believed to have inspired the memorable “Chinese turkey” scene. (Photograph from <em>A Christmas Story</em>, 1983.)

The duck decapitation—which sets the turkey-deprived Parker clan into fits of giggles—is a highlight of “A Christmas Story.” Left to right: John Wong as the Chop Suey Palace owner, Darren McGavin as The Old Man, Melinda Dillon as Mother, Ian Petrella as Randy Parker and Peter Billingsley as Ralphie Parker (the young Jean Shepherd). The Cam-Lan, Hammond's first upscale Chinese restaurant, is widely believed to have inspired the memorable “Chinese turkey” scene. (Photograph from A Christmas Story, 1983.)

Thwack! • One stroke of a cleaver, and Jean Shepherd immortalized Peking duck as “Chinese turkey” in A Christmas Story.

To recreate the Parkers’ Yule meal in the 1983 film, read on. But let’s first pay tribute to the Hammond family and restaurant that inspired the memorable Chop Suey Palace scene.

When TBS kicks off its 24-hour film marathon at 7 p.m. tonight, watch the restaurant action closely. The proprietor (actor John Wong) exudes goodwill to his guests, their turkey savaged by the Bumpus hounds.
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Duo brings Five Guys restaurants to northern Indiana

Besides the new Five Guys Burgers and Fries in Schererville, the Donald Doan/Chris Wolf partnership has two others sites: in University Mall in Mishawaka and across from Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend. (Photograph by The Times.)

Besides the new Five Guys Burgers and Fries in Schererville, the Donald Doan/Chris Wolf partnership has two others sites: in University Mall in Mishawaka and across from Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend. (Photograph by The Times.)

A simple menu of American favorites, a casual dining atmosphere in a busy but easily accessible location, free peanuts and toppings, and a friendly staff—it’s a winning business model that appealed to two young men from Chicago who were roommates at the University of Notre Dame.

Now the duo of Donald Doan and Chris Wolf is experiencing that success in Five Guys, a burger and fries restaurant franchise started in 1986 by a father and his four sons in Arlington, Va.

“Five Guys is the fastest growing franchise in the U.S. with over 700 stores open all over the country,” Doan said.
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New M’ville restaurant hopes for knockout with MMA crowd

Knock Outs Sports Bar & Grill co-owners Braulio Corral, left, and chef Luis Martinez sit in the dining area of their Merrillville mixed martial arts-themed eatery. “We wanted to bring a unique dining experience to all of our students, friends and the fans of Corral's Combat Classic and fans of mixed martial arts in general,” Corral said. (Photograph by The Times.)

Knock Outs Sports Bar & Grill co-owners Braulio Corral, left, and chef Luis Martinez sit in the dining area of their Merrillville mixed martial arts-themed eatery. “We wanted to bring a unique dining experience to all of our students, friends and the fans of Corral's Combat Classic and fans of mixed martial arts in general,” Corral said. (Photograph by The Times.)

Braulio Corral is no stranger to risky business ventures.

Corral left the comfort of a decade-long managerial position at U.S. Steel to open his own martial arts school. After successfully opening two Corral’s Martial Arts academies in Valparaiso and Schererville and promoting professional mixed martial arts events at the Hammond Civic Center and Wicker Park, Corral has made his first foray into fine dining.

With the help of chef Luis Martinez and investor George Librandi, Corral opened Knock Outs Sports Bar & Grill at 260 East 84th Drive in Merrillville.
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Wi-Fi gives restaurants, coffee shops a jolt in business

Marko Teovski and Endzi Stojanovska, both of Crown Point, browse the Internet using Wi-Fi at the Panera Bread in Merrillville. Like the national chain, many locally-owned coffee shops and restaurants are luring customers with free wireless service. (Photograph by The Times.)

Marko Teovski and Endzi Stojanovska, both of Crown Point, browse the Internet using Wi-Fi at the Panera Bread in Merrillville. Like the national chain, many locally-owned coffee shops and restaurants are luring customers with free wireless service. (Photograph by The Times.)

Each day after work, Dave Csuk stops at the Blackbird Cafe, checks his email, slides an iPod from a fabric case and listens to music for a few hours before heading home.

“If office is hell and home is heaven, this is purgatory,” he said. “It’s a perfect in-between.”

Mary Koselke bought the cafe in February 2009 and changed the name. Wireless Internet is central to her success, she said.

The small coffee shop in downtown Valparaiso, tucked neatly among other small businesses, is not unique in its use of wireless Internet to attract and retain customers. A Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant across the street uses Wi-Fi to attract a different crowd.
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