George Anagnos admits he tends to start projects when times are not in his favor.
In 2009, Anagnos opened 523 Tap and Grill in Elkhart during what is now known as the Great Recession. But since then, the Elkhart Bistro has become a local favorite, offering a Mediterranean-inspired menu with salads, steaks, burgers, entrees and an extensive wine list.
And with the company’s success, Anagnos looked to other projects.
Anagnos and his partner Sean Collins will open a new restaurant Vinyl faucet and table early next year in a scenic 1,500 square foot space on Main Street in downtown Mishawaka.
Both passionate about music, Anagnos even playing in a local cover band, Anagnos and Collins wanted to create something the area needed, while representing the property.
“When we decided to do it, we started by finding a location, and once we found the location, we asked ourselves: what do we think we can do here? Collins said. “And I just thought about having a hip little hamburger music bar.”
The restaurant at 117 S. Main St. will have a variety of fries and wing appetizers, as well as lighter fare, such as salads, also on the menu.
But the plan is for burgers and signature sandwiches to steal the show.
Options will range from obscure – like ‘Peanut Butter Kimchi’ made with peanut butter, provolone, pork belly and kimchi – to classics like ‘Born in the USA’ with cheddar, bacon, ranch and garlic mushrooms. Each signature sandwich can consist of a grilled or fried beef or chicken patty. A self-made burger is also available on the menu.
On tap, six different craft beers, plus a bar that the owners say will be “well balanced” and serve up craft cocktails. Collins said there was no particular emphasis on a particular mind, noting that the bar manager will be able to show some of his own creativity.
“We just want to be different and not your typical burger restaurant,” Anagnos said.
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The space, which companies like The Beanery, South Bend Chocolate Cafe and Healthies once called home, has undergone a transformation since the owners took over last February. A large bar has been set up and turquoise and black cabins will be set up along the southern part of the space.
Around 60 guests can be seated inside the family space, but when they walk in they will immediately see a large mural painted by local artist Lauren Steinhofer with photos of music industry icons like Dolly Parton , Freddie Mercury, Buckethead, Mac Miller and others.
We “try to represent all genres, all genres and all music,” said Anagnos. “We didn’t want your typical Beatles or Elton John, which is done everywhere. So we try to be different and a little bit off the beaten path.… What’s cool is that everyone comes in here and that they’re looking at him (trying to figure out who’s who). They’re captured by that. “
Going deeper into the theme of music, the owners plan to spin and even sell vinyl records, partnering with Jeremy Bonfiglio of South Bend Record Show.
“It’s not like we want to make a music store,” Anagnos said. “But Sean and I have been talking about wanting to represent ourselves, so that’s what we really like.”
The owners had originally planned to open the business this holiday season, but Collins’ recent illness and other construction delays have pushed back plans to open. Now they hope to open in early January, a generally slow time for restaurants in general, without even considering the impact COVID-related issues have had on restaurants over the past year.
But Anagnos has already had difficult times.
“523 (Tap and Grill) started in March 2009, which was very tough during the recession and it was very difficult and challenging,” he said. “It’s kind of ironic that I’m facing the same deal here, coming out of COVID, so I know what it’s like to start from scratch. … When you’re working on a project and finally get to the end of it, that’s where the real satisfaction comes in, and even more so once you’ve got the crowd gathered here and built to make everyone happy. We want it to be a happy place, where people can just relax, have a good time, and leave knowing you had a great time. This is what we love to accomplish.
Vinyl Tap and Table is scheduled to open in early January. The owners plan to open it for lunch and dinner service, until late at night.
Contact Mary Shown at 574-235-6244 and [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter: @maryshownSBT and @marketbasketSBT.