Saturday, April 30, 2011

#180: May Day in South Bend

In many other countries, Labour Day is celebrated on May 1st.  It's also considered International Workers Day, and some just consider a public day of partying.  (See Italy, where a all-day, free concert festival draws 300,000 in Rome.)  Although not recognized formally in the U.S., there are still celebrations held.

In South Bend, there is a Workers Memorial Service and May Day celebration at Howard Park, co-sponsored by United Way and the AFL-CIO.  At 1:30, the memorial service begins to commemorate 8 district laborers who lost their lives due to workplace hazards.  The keynote speaker is Nancy Guyott, the former IN Commissioner of Labor and current President of the IN State AFL-CIO.

Beginning at 12:30, there is a safety fair, including a "fire house" to train kids how to react to a fire and other interactive exhibits.  For the adult audience, what might draw you out includes live music by the Washington HS band and David James (also a laborer!), face painting, balloon artistry (yes, I'm a college graduate, and yes, I still enjoy both of those two activities) and free hot dogs and soda to the first 400 people. Students from ND and IUSB have partnered to re-enact the Haymarket affair, the 1891 strike in Chicago that culminated in a police riot at rally and the deaths of several protesters.

When: 12:30-4:00 pm
Where: Howard Park, near the river at the Workers Memorial
Website: Click here for a map and more information.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

#179: Live the Bend Kickoff Happy Hour

It's almost the end of the workday. It's almost the end of the work week. Why not head to happy hour? But you see, I'm not recommending just any happy hour, but the inaugural event hosted by the new South Bend community and social organization, Live the Bend.

Tonight they are hosting a happy hour from 5:30pm-8:30pm at Corby's Pub for anyone interested in learning more about living in South Bend. That includes people who want to share their stories of living "on the riverfront" and people who are still looking for reasons to love the area. The organization states on their website that they are "dedicated to formulating renewed sense of pride within the residents of our county/community" and this is their first effort to do so.

Browsing through the website they have several fun and attractive apparel items for sale as well as the beginnings of a list of the St. Joe/South Bend social attractions. I'm excited about what this group stands for, and I'm looking forward to seeing what they can do in the future to further their mission. But in the meantime, head over to Corby's, grab a drink, and tell everyone why you love living in this particular area of the country.

For more information on the group and the happy hour, head to their website here.

Location: Corby's Pub, 441 East LaSalle Avenue
Time: 5:30pm-8:30pm
Cost: $20 (which gets you 1 drink ticket, drink specials and appetizers, and a Live the Bend t-shirt!)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

#178: Original Art Rain Barrel Display

We've highlighted ways to go green in South Bend. We've also highlighted the many artistic galleries and exhibitions that South Bend has to offer. But never have the two come together quite like this. IUSB's Center for a Sustainable Future has sponsored a project where local art meets local environmentalism. Twelve rain barrels, used to harvest rainwater and store it for later use in the pursuit of sustainable conservation and eco-friendly self-sufficiency, have been painted and decorated by twelve local South Bend artists. The artists range from school-children to professional artisans, and each one is colorful, clever, and absolutely unique.

The barrels have been collecting rainwater (no short of it here!) around South Bend and were just recently moved to a display at the South Bend Museum of Art where they will remain until they are auctioned off on Friday, May 6th. I'd heard of the project before I saw the finished barrels, and, in the pursuit of honesty, my initial skepticism about the project (What exactly were rain barrels? Why are we painting on them?), was utterly unfounded. I was impressed with the creativity of the artists and even more so with the possibility, that the rain barrels demonstrate, for an art that showcases and encourages local activism.

Check out a slideshow of the rain barrels here.

Where: South Bend Museum of Art
Hours: 12:00pm-5:00pm
Friendly Reminder: Go now to view the barrels, but remember to return for the auction on May 6th at 7:00pm!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

#177: Sunny's Korean Garden Patio

We have received several recommendations to check out Sunny's for its excellent Korean food, friendly service, and wide array of vegetarian options.  Did Sunny's live up to its reputation?  Yes, ultimately, but don't be scared away by your first impression of this little place on the other side of the tracks.

Sunny's is in the heart of a Mishawaka working class neighborhood, right near local bars like That Place.  The cracked sign for the restaurant is actually across the street from its location (but does mark the gravel parking lot).  No server appeared when we entered, so we sat ourselves at one of the tables and bided our time until the waitress had a spare moment to stop by.  The menu will keep you busy -- most dishes are not available elsewhere in the area -- and the surrounding decorations also provide topics for conversation, which will likely revolve around comparing signs and objects to those you've seen in your aunt's home.

While at first glance, the menu does not seem to offer many vegetarian options, but our server was more than happy to substitute tofu for any meat in the dishes.  Indeed, the owners are very sensitive to food preparation, as signs proclaiming "NO MSG" evidence.

I was very satisfied with my tofu-ized Bool Go Kee, and its affordable prices (a carafe of house wine for less than $10, yes please!) make it accessible to all budgets.  Although we came late, we did not feel rushed out the restaurant.  It was a great experience, and I now have joined the ranks of those who readily recommend the venture over to this spot.

Where: 512 South Spring Street, Mishawaka
When: Closed Mondays.  Usually open until 10 pm, but call ahead to confirm.
Phone: (574) 255-5274
Tip: Go on a nice evening, and you can dine al fresco on the patio.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

#176: Dyngus Day Preview

I've been staring at my computer for the past 10 minutes wondering what to write for this post. Not for lack of information mind you, but more for lack of clear instruction. We are "365 Things to Do in South Bend", but what exactly should I recommend that you do? For, as many of you reading this probably already know, Dyngus Day in South Bend is a particularly unique and important city tradition. So unique, in fact, that it almost defies explanation. I will, however, try my best. For those of you out there with more information and experience  (really all of you out there) please forgive any errors and send corrections/updated information/interesting facts our way!

Dyngus Day is the name given to the Monday after Easter. Easter Monday is celebrated most widely in Eastern Europe throughout Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. In those countries, it is alternately a courting ritual, a religious holiday, or a just a day for kids to pour water on each others heads. While our holiday here in South Bend originates from these traditions, the Northern Indiana version has turned political. Dyngus Day has been described as the "official beginning to the political primary season" and notable Indiana politicians as well as Robert F. Kennedy (in 1968) have turned up for the big day. And a big day it is. South Bend has even declared itself the Dyngus Day Capital of the World. Festivities are held all around town and feature appetites, both political and gastronomical. There's a rumor some start cooking the sauerkraut at 5:00am in the morning.

The celebrations continue all day at various restaurants, bars, and political meeting clubs so regardless of your political affiliation head out to one of those. Or you know what? Celebrate at home. Cook up some sausage and sauerkraut, put on some polka music, open up a friendly debate about local politics, and, well, that sounds like something to do on Dyngus Day in South Bend to me.

Friday, April 22, 2011

#175: Unity Gardens Organic Workshop(s)

We're in the last half hour of Earth Day 2011, but that doesn't mean your commitment to the environment and staying green has to end at the stroke of midnight. In fact, why don't you take tomorrow and learn about about one of the most fulfilling ways to participate in the sustainability movement? Learn how to grow your very own organic garden.

We've previously highlighted the good work being done by Unity Gardens, and it continues tomorrow as they offer a full-day slate of classes related to the skills and ideology surrounding organic gardens. You can learn about the fundamentals such as Proper Soil Preparation. You can learn about the products of your garden in classes on Edible Flowers, Herb Teas from the Garden, and Cooking from the Garden. You can also take the time to learn why exactly you should plant an organic garden in classes on Organic Gardening and Sustainability. I really can't overstate the wealth of information that Unity Gardens is offering the community. Even better, all of this wonderful information is free. For a small fee you can order a lunch or you're welcome to brown-bag it. All classes last one hour and visit their website here for a schedule and more information. Whether you stay for one or stay for the whole day, you're guaranteed to leave with new knowledge and, hopefully, an appreciation for just how complex, how intricate, and how rewarding a skill gardening can be.

Where: Keller Park Church/Unity Gardens, 1001 W Bryan Street (for helpful directions go here)
When: All day! (from 9am-3pm)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

#174: Join Jeff Blair for a Walk Across Indiana

Lincolnway East/West is a main artery for South Bend and Mishawaka, and many of the sites we have featured are located on this thoroughfare.  However, I never reflected on its role in the town (and outside of it) or thought about its history until I read about Jeff Blair, a man inspired to walk its 170 mile length through Indiana.
The Indiana section of the Lincoln Highway in 1924

Lincolnway, or Lincoln Highway, is part of the United States' first transcontinental highway, dating back to 1913.  It stretched from NYC's Times Square to Lincoln Park in San Francisco.  Blair, a Goshen native, became engrossed in its history and decided to pay tribute to his late father's and Indiana's memory by traversing the Indiana section in two weeks.  Furthermore, his goal is admirably other-centered -- he is raising money (as well as awareness) for the Alzhiemer's Association and the Indiana Lincoln Highway Association.

Blair is keeping a great blog that explains his mission and tracks his progress.  If you're in the South Bend area, he will be passing through today and tomorrow.  South Bend's Mayor Luecke is walking with him through the downtown section this afternoon, and all are welcome to come out to show your support.

If you would like to walk with him, learn more here.  You can also check out his progress here, or donate to his cause here.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

#173: 99 Cent Margaritas at Mazatlan

Yesterday, we highlighted the best place to get breakfast with a South of the Border twist.  While we claim Chico's proclaims to be "the best", it has a competitor in Mishawaka: Mazatlan.  Mazatlan claims to have the best casual dining, best fajitas, best prices, best margaritas and best drink specials.  Regarding the last two, I side with Mazatlan, home of the 99 cent margarita.

Yes, on Thursday nights, soak up some Sonoran sun in liquid form at this family-owned restaurant.   There is both a non-smoking dining room and a bar where you can smoke and watch the game on TV.  In both areas, the chips and salsa arrive rapidly and the service is friendly and personable.  Many members of owner Alberto Leon's family work on staff here, and even on your first visit, it's not hard to imagine yourself becoming a regular whenever you want a sizzlin' fajita...or a cheap margarita.

Where: 508 W. McKinley Ave.
When: Open seven days a week starting at 11:00 am

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

#172: Chico's

We had been given a recommendation to go here several months ago, but I hadn't managed to make it over to this well-known Mexican restaurant until this past weekend.  All I have to say is: Why did I wait so long? I had one of the most thoroughly enjoyable brunches I've had in recent memory, and I'm already planning to return.

You can't miss the mural
To give you a bit of background: I spent this past summer in Austin, Texas. Home of the ubiquitous "Keep Austin Weird" t-shirts, copious amounts of live music, and, so they (and the New York Times) claim, the best breakfast tacos.  Well, Austin, I might love you, but South Bend's got you beat. In all honesty, I had the best breakfast tacos (potato and egg, chorizo and egg) that I've ever had which only assures me of the quality of the rest of the menu (including a wide variety of both breakfast and lunch fare). Beyond the fantastic food is fantastic service. Our waiter welcomed us immediately when we entered and continued to extend her warm and friendly welcome throughout our meal. The prices are cheap ($2 per taco so try them all), and the space is bright and colorful.

Perhaps the tagline on the receipt really says all there is left to say: Chico's is the best.

Location: 2418 Western Ave
Contact: 574-237-9198
Hours: Unfortunately unknown

Sunday, April 17, 2011

#171: Spring Flower Show at the South Bend Conservatory

April showers bring May flowers. In this case, the axiom got it wrong.  There are plenty of April flowers to be had at the Spring Flower Show at the South Bend Conservatory (which started yesterday but continues through today, the 17th).

Labeling it as the South Bend Conservatory is actually a misnomer as I am referring to a collection of greenhouses and conservatories located in Potowatomi Park. They are officially the Ella Morris Conservatory, the Muessel-Ellison Conservatory, and the oldest of lot, the Potowatomi Greenhouses which were built in the 1920’s. Each building features different botantical landscapes, flowers, and more throughout the year. For instance, if you’re interested in tropical plants, head to the Ella Morris, if you’re interested in birds of paradise, head to the Muessel-Ellison. From what I understand, the Flower Show will be held mainly in the Greenhouses (but let me know if I’m wrong).

The show will feature all sorts of spring flowers, and I don’t know about you, but the sight of some daffodils would certainly do me some good. It’s also important to note that the show will not just feature flowers for viewing, but for buying as well with all funds going to support the ongoing maintenance of these great South Bend institutions.

Where: 2105 Mishawaka Ave
When: 12:00pm-4:00pm, today
Price: $3 for adults, $2 for children

For more information about the event, check out the South Bend Trib article here.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

#170: 24-Hour Poetry Marathon

To see the Summer Sky
Is Poetry, though never in a Book it lie -
True Poems flee -

Emily Dickinson

Seeing a forecast of rain and colder temperatures, I am all the more grateful for how beautiful these past few days have been.  Furthermore, I know summer skies will return and during this rainy weekend, I can continue to experience poetry off the pages at Artpost Gallery.

Artpost Gallery is celebrating National Poetry Month by hosting a 24-hour marathon of poetry reading.  All poets are invited to [read/sing/perform] their work in 15-minute segments from Friday 5:00 pm to Saturday 5:00 pm.  There will be appetizers and lunch provided by Fiddler's Hearth as well as giveaway publications from The Foundation for Light Verse.  Artpost is encouraging guests to "Come early, leave late; or come late, leave early!" 

A few spots still remain open if you are interested in participating; check the schedule here before e-mailing  Come experience the poetry in the oral tradition, what I believe is its true form, and remember the words of Walt Whitman, "To have great poets there must be great audiences too."

When: April 15, 5:00 pm - April 16, 5:00 pm
Where: 216 W. Madison St.

Tip: While you're there, also check out the current exhibit, "Gary", a collection of photographs of the [in]famous Indiana city as seen from the eye of Erin Jackson.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

#169: Check out the renovations at the Cove

One of our first posts was on the Silverhawks and all that Covaleski Cove has to offer, and I'd like to reiterate what a great experience baseball in South Bend is.  The stadium, walking distance from downtown, is celebrating its 25th year with $7.1 million facelift.  A new entrance will ease the transition between the stadium and downtown, making it all the easier to stroll down for happy hour at the Cove.   Fans are rewarded with improved picnic area and instant replay scoreboard, and for the players, an artificial turf has replaced the old field.

The first official home game of the season was last night -- a disappointing loss against the Lansing Lugnuts after leading until the 9th inning -- and the Silverhawks play at 6:30 each night through Saturday (and a 2:00 pm game on Sunday).  While you may be a little late in celebrating Opening Day, from now 'til September, grab takeout from Cambodian Thai or El Paraiso and enjoy America's Favorite Past Time, new and improved in South Bend.

Where: 501 West South Street
When: check here for the schedule.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

#168: Griffon Bookstore

Editor's note: A big welcome (and thank you) to our second guest blogger!

There are many varieties of idleness, and they differ in worth. Everyone knows this: one’s time is better spent reading—or really even just staring out a window—than tramping thoughtlessly around Facebook, for example, or watching cable news. I hold play especially dear among the forms of time-wasting, and I count the opportunity to spend at least some of my idle hours at play among the prerequisites for a healthy life, alongside things like adequate food and sleep. But of play, too, there are many varieties, and these also differ in worth. Just as one can spend one’s idle time in better and worse ways, or can eat or sleep well or badly, so too can one play well or badly. One plays badly, for example, when one seeks to do so productively, with an eye on the point of it all, just as one eats badly who does so only for sustenance. Your friend who is invariably frustrated by the end of a game of Monopoly, your little brother who enters cheat codes for all of his video games, and anyone who never takes a scenic route all play badly, just as one could be said to eat badly whose diet were limited to fast food. But if we often feel a duty to help our friends and loved ones eat better (or listen better, or watch better) by suggesting, sometimes forcefully, that they try some new cuisine (or music, or film), should we not feel a similar duty to help them improve the quality of their play?

Many in South Bend will tell you that, if you wish to eat well, you should visit the LaSalle Grill; and I say that, if you wish to play well, you should visit its next-door neighbor, the Griffon. If you can get the Monopoly-hater in here, he will have to give games a second chance, and not only board games, but war games, role-playing games, dice games, and card games. For those with more obscure tastes, there are paper dolls, temporary tattoos, guides to the construction of intricate model reproductions of historic battles, and probably a half-dozen other things I’ve forgotten. The place has been in business for thirty-five years, and has run open game rooms, for free, for thirty-three—making it, according to its website, the operator of “one of the oldest continuously running dedicated game rooms in the country.”

But it is the selection of board and card games—of which there are hundreds, including the classics, more recent favorites like the Settlers of Catan and Carcassonne series, and many more obscure titles based upon everything from the court at Versailles to the design and management of public transit systems—that will most interest the casual gamer or wary initiate. There are five- and ten-dollar games that can be played in twenty minutes, and there are hundred-dollar games that require a devoted weekend to learn and play. But even if you’re determined to avoid play, which you shouldn’t be, the used book collection is worth browsing—and it may be a good time to do so, since, according to the store’s website, a professor’s library will be coming in sometime this month.

To begin your connoisseurship of play, see the Griffon’s website,, where you’ll find its address, hours, contact info, and detailed descriptions of the stock.

Monday, April 11, 2011

#167: The Riverside Trail

I leave for a week, and what happens in South Bend but spring!  Today's delightful weather may not be quite warm enough for a picnic, but it's perfect for a nice jog or bike ride.  Spring also heralds the beginning of racing season here, so whether you're participating in this weekend's Run Panther Run 5k or training for the Sunburst marathon, this path will get you moving.

I set out on this path this afternoon, and I'll let my cell phone camera (so please excuse the poor quality) say the thousand words I would otherwise say about my favorite place for a long run....
The southern end of the trail starts at Angela, near the old railway tracks.
While the path hugs Riverside, it is far enough from the road to make you feel like you're following the river.
Convenient 1/2 mile markers help you track your progress
For the adventurous, a short dirt trail veers off at the hill near Keller Park
In 2009, this trail was extended by the city, and now extends 3.2 miles with beautiful fencing, benches, and even the occasional water fountain (crucial.)
Where: The trail follows Riverside from Angela Ave. (near St. Joseph High/Notre Dame) to Darden Road (near the big footbridge), past the water treatment plant and Cleveland, and even continues on Darden for about a mile.

Check out a more detailed description here

Check out the press release by the mayor's office about the recent extension here.

#166: Bruno's Pizza

South Bend, it's good to be back. I mentioned yesterday that I was out-of-state for the weekend, and I was surprised and thrilled to be welcomed back with nearly 80-degree weather. Several months ago, we mentioned that there were a lot of great family-owned pizzeria's in the South Bend-area, and today we're going to highlight one of those and one of the the most well-known pizza restaurants (and families) in the Michiana area. You knew I was talking about Bruno's, right?

Bruno's has been serving a traditional Italian pizza since they opened in 1975 in Mishawaka, and when I say traditional, I mean it. Bruno and Rosa came from Calabria, Italy to Northern Indiana and brought their pizza recipe with them. For more info about their history (and picture documentation), visit their website for a timeline here. The business has since expanded, and today Bruno's has 11 locations in South Bend, Mishawaka, and the surrounding area. A new location in Downtown South Bend just recently opened up. From college students to South Bend natives, everyone agrees that Bruno's serves a great slice of pizza. Pick a location, and let us know how it is!

For location information, a menu, and hours, visit their website here.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

#165: All Things Handmade and Vintage Bazaar

So I owe you all an apology. We've been a little off our blogging game in the past week due to the out-of-state travel of several 365 bloggers. But that's no excuse. A big thank you to our guest blogger yesterday, and just so you know, we welcome any and all guest blog submissions if there's a particular spot in South Bend you would like to write about. Just send it over to!

I'm actually out-of-state as we speak (remote-blogging, if you will), but I'll be back in town by tomorrow afternoon, and, it's a good thing too, since I'll make it back for the All Things Handmade and Vintage Bazaar at the South Bend Elks Lodge 235. We have well-documented love of re-purposed antiques and vintage items, and this bazaar sounds like a mecca for both. There will be 40 different vendors with items ranging from home-made crafts such as quilts to the aforementioned refurbished antiques. We've also previously featured how much we love just browsing a good yardsale and this promises to take that concept and multiply it several times over.

Stop by the Elks Lodge on a hunt for a specific antique item or just to relax and browse. For more information on the background of the event, click over here to the South Bend Trib article on the Bazaar.

Location: South Bend Elks Lodge 235, 3535 McKinley
Hours: 10:00am-4:00pm

Friday, April 8, 2011

#164: The Wooden Shoe

A special guest post from someone who's seen it all at 'the Shoe': 
The Wooden Shoe fits snugly on the corner of Smith and W. Sixth Streets in old Mishawaka, just south of the train tracks. The name comes from the Dutch immigrants who settled in this neighborhood in the early 1900s when jobs were aplenty at the nearby and now-extinct Ball Band factory along the St. Joe River. While Ball Band and the other industries that used to thrive in the Princess City are gone, a fair number of family-owned and operated corner bars, like Maury's Pat's Pub and the Midway Tavern, still offer residents and visitors a memorable and truly unique night out.

The Shoe is a rough and gruff experience and it starts the moment you walk in the door. Regulars sit on the stools along the bar and give you a long look when you first arrive, but they're mostly friendly to visitors. The bar houses a solid jukebox with a lot of classic rock, country and current jams and on Tuesdays the house special is a $1 frosty mug of Budweiser. As a rule, the bar does not serve liquor or mixed drinks.

A pool table with a Miller Lite NASCAR light glows in the middle of the room, and an old-school shuffleboard table rests along the back wall, with a collection of tables and chairs in between. In the summer, patrons park bikes--not bike lane bikes--along the sidewalk outside the entrance.

Perhaps the best time to go to the Shoe is on weekends when they host country karaoke nights. While the tunes will almost certainly stray from country, the bar really comes alive and a few regulars will start belting out their favorite songs. In one night, I saw a guy in the middle of a tussle between his two girlfriends, a drawn-out and clumsy bar fight that eventually went outside and a group of college kids dressed up for a "white trash" bar crawl.

On top of all this, the Shoe does have a kitchen and makes a pretty good burger, especially if it's late and you've been singing along to Garth Brooks for a while.  All in all, the Shoe is an authentic and well-worn bar, apart from the well-trodden haunts of Michiana, where a group of friends can catch up and have a great time. 

Where: 822 W. Sixth Street, Mishawaka, IN
When: Whenever the lights are on

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

#163: One Book, One Michiana

Sometimes people ask us what is the #1 thing to do in South Bend. We can't really give them a good answer; each of us here at 365 South Bend has our own answer and sometimes it changes daily. There are really too many things to choose from and it wouldn't be fair to say that just one thing is the best. Yet, sometimes, when I want an easy answer, I just say, "Well, the first thing we featured on our list is the St. Joe County Public Library..." And that's true, the very first blog post we ever wrote highlighted just how great our county library is.

Every time I visit it continues to impress me, and their latest month-long, community-wide program is just one example of how active and integral the library has become to the life of the community. One Book, One Michiana is exactly what it sounds like. The SJCPL has picked one book for the entire community to read and throughout the month of April is hosting an incredibly large quantity of events to highlight their pick and extend community discussion.

This year's pick is Rocket Boys by Homer Hickham. Some of you may be familiar with the story not as a book but as a movie. The 1999 movie October Sky (featuring Jake Gyllenhaal) was an adaption of this book. The book and the movie feature one boy's story of growing up in a West Virginia mining town in the 1950's at the beginning of the possibilities of space travel. The book is an inspiring read for kids and adults alike, and there's no reason not to pick up a copy and join in turning pages with your family, your neighbors, and yes, even the Notre Dame football team.

Visit the website for an impressive array of resources and the full (overwhelming) schedule of events. I've picked out a couple of my favorites and listed them below. One Book, One Michiana continues through May 7, so get going now!

The Sky's the Limit: Star-Gazing and Theater Program
April 6, 8:00pm, Jordan Hall of Science, Notre Dame

Art and Written Word Contest
Ongoing, info and contest entry here

Film and Q&A: Sputnik Mania
April 16th, 2:00pm, IUSB Wiekamp Hall

The Night Sky and Amateur Photography
April 26, 6:00pm, Centre Township Branch

One Book, One Michiana Final Celebration and screening of October Sky
May 7, SJCPL

....and many, many more!

Monday, April 4, 2011

#162: Girasol

I can honestly say that I've never had any form of El Salvadoran food until I stopped in to this small but wonderful restaurant on Eddy Street. I've heard the place described as "unassuming" and that is certainly accurate. The eatery is housed in a small building with an even smaller sign out front. Inside, you order at the counter, and, with the limited seating space available, be prepared to take your meal to go.

Yet what a meal it is. Pupusas, a traditional food from El Salvador that have literally been around for centuries, are the main attraction. You can get your pupusa filled with either pork and cheese, bean and cheese, or just plain queso. They also offer tamales, but if you're visiting for the first time I would stick to the pupusas. They're served with a traditional cabbage relish and tomato-based sauce and are meant to be eaten by hand. The owner, and as it appears, sole chef is friendly and you can watch her make your pupusas by hand as soon as you order them.

While you wait for your food, admire the hand-painted artwork on the walls and sip on horchata. We've previously highlighted the drink, but the creamy and sweet rice-based beverage is just as fantastic here. Get one, I promise you won't regret it. Girasol (which means sunflower, by the way) offers several attractive specials and meal combos. College students, you're in luck, three pupusas and horchata are only $6. There are many great places to eat in South Bend, but Girasol truly gives the community a unique (and cultural!) dining option.

Location: 525 North Eddy Street.
Hours: 11-7, Tues-Fri   11:30-6, Sat   12-5, Sun
Tip: Cash only!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

#161: CommUniversity Day

If you're driving around town today, you may spot groups of college-aged students out and about, perhaps a strange sight for non-football gameday, non- Friday night.  Explanation: today is the 3rd annual CommUniversity Day, a Notre Dame student organized day of service.
While these students are volunteering at projects that range from painting fire hydrants to door-to-door food pantry collections, another part of this event aims to increase the interaction between town-gown.  Community residents are encouraged to come onto Notre Dame's campus to see what this internationally-renowned, Catholic university (and St. Joe County's biggest employer) is all about.  Tours leave from the Robinson Community Learning Center (RCLC) between 1:00 and 3:30 pm, and from 1:00 - 4:00 pm, there is a kids festival and Easter Egg hunt on Irish Green, the space right across from Eddy Street Commons.

The day finishes with a picnic at RCLC, to which all are invited.  Come get burgers and cook-out fare from 4:00 - 6:00 pm at 921 N. Eddy Street (right near the five points intersection).

Check all the different projects here and read the ND press release here.

Friday, April 1, 2011

#160: Keep South Bend Beautiful's Discussion and Social Gathering

First things first, it’s First Friday’s! This time brought to you on the first day of the month! Join the DTSB crew and celebrate the beginning of the month of April in a variety of South Bend-centric ways. Some things I’m looking forward to seeing are the photography exhibitions at the South Bend Museum of Art and ArtPost, the Friends of the Library monthly book-sale, and the beginning of the KeyBank Concert Series at CJ’s Pub, this time featuring Venetia Sekema.

As it is the first day of the month (April Fool’s pranks notwithstanding), today is also the first day of National Keep America Beautiful month, National Volunteer Month, and National Landscape Architecture Month. In honor of all of these firsts, Keep South Bend Beautiful, a local organization dedicated to “uniting people to build community, improve health, and transform public spaces through aesthetic and environmental improvement” is hosting an event entitled “White City Principles in Northern Indiana Cities” that features two speakers and discussion about the “City Beautiful Movement” and the history of community-based architecture in the Midwest. More information on this fascinating topic can be found here.

In addition to the sure-to-be-informative discussion, Keep South Bend Beautiful is hosting a social gathering at Fiddler’s Hearth where anyone can drop in to meet some of South Bend’s own local landscape architects. Both events and KSBB themselves are innovative and exciting additions to the local “green” scene and the burgeoning collection of active South Bend enthusiasts.

For more information on Keep South Bend Beautiful and all of their upcoming events, check out their Facebook page here and their website here.

Kickoff Presentation on the “City Beautiful Movement”
Where: Boy Scouts of America: LaSalle Council Scout Center, 1340 South Bend Avenue
When: 6:00pm-8:00pm

Social Gathering
Where: Fiddler’s Hearth
When: 8:00pm-10:00pm