The locally owned restaurant company e-mailed customers the announcement on Tuesday afternoon, stating that the building would reopen in four to six weeks as a different concept.
A new Buns concept.
The restaurant will be renamed The Curve, given the familiar bend in the road near Vistula Road and the names of former businesses there. The building has contained The Curve Inn, 33 on the Curve, and Artusi’s Curve Inn over the years.
And the familiar aroma of the signature burgers and fries will be replaced with cinnamon rolls, scrambled eggs and coffee.
Consider it a Breakfast Buns, of sorts.
In addition to completely changing the menu, Between the Buns owners will relocate their central kitchen from downtown South Bend to this location at 3407 Lincoln Way E. Everything from the homemade french onion and other soups to the wing sauce is made there.
The building also will be used for catering and banquets, says Tania Arthur, director of operations. Some renovations are planned, she explains, but the decor is expected to remain largely school and sports-focused.
“Financial performance-wise, this location was at the bottom of our restaurants,” Arthur says about the decision to close. The South Bend, Granger, Elkhart and original Osceola locations fared much better during the recession and consumers still seem to be dining out less.
From the day the location opened in August 2002, Buns owners frankly hoped the restaurant would not cannibalize sales at its over-21 Osceola counterpart less than two miles away.
Despite small changes made along the way, like making the restaurant non-smoking, scaling back hours, and eliminating lunch and brunch, business did not dramatically increase and the restaurants did prove too close in proximity.
“We thought about this long and hard and weighed every possibility,” says Tom Wilson, the company’s chief executive officer and a Buns co-owner. “There are a lot of chains and restaurants out there who decide to implement changes like this.”
The amount of traffic on Lincoln Way and number of households in the surrounding neighborhoods ruled out selling the building, says Wilson, whose family once owned a small diner, called The Shed, near the AM General plant.
If you ever dined at The Shed, located on McKinley Highway in Mishawaka, some of the same menu items will appear at The Curve. Look for corned beef and hash, pancakes, homemade biscuits and gravy and other old family recipes.
The two dozen employees who work at the Mishawaka Buns have already been reassigned to other locations.
“We didn’t want to put anybody out of work,” Wilson says. “There have been other restaurants that have closed up and just left town.”
The new restaurant concept will employ about 20 from within the company, and projected hours will be 5:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. seven days a week. Check back for a tentative opening date.
As for closing its doors before the Super Bowl actually begins today, this is not an anomaly in the restaurant industry. Many chains scale back their hours on a day when families and friends traditionally gather at home for football parties or gather at a bar.
“We’re closing the restaurant,” Arthur says, “at what would have been our regular closing time on any Sunday.”
Restaurant will take Mad Anthony cardsThe Elkhart Texas Roadhouse restaurant will accept gift cards to the former Mad Anthony’s Old State Alehouse, which closed suddenly last week.
While it’s not affiliated with Mad Anthony’s, Texas Roadhouse, 3015 Brittany Court, will exchange a Mad Anthony’s gift card for a free appetizer up to a $15 value.
Members of the Mad Anthony Brew Club can receive a free appetizer under $5 for the month of February. The offer goes through Feb. 28. One gift card will be accepted per table. This is good news for those holding Mad Anthony gift cards; oftentimes consumers are left holding them when a business abruptly closes.
Dagwood’s closesAfter opening the first of what the local franchisee hoped would be several area locations, Dagwood’s Sandwich Shoppe will close its doors today.
Dagwood’s is located at 7130 Heritage Square Drive, Mishawaka, at Heritage Square shopping center. The restaurant first opened in January 2008 on the Madison Center campus in downtown South Bend and later moved to Mishawaka.
“This was necessary because of many reasons that include the poor economy,” says Dustin Bowers, local franchisee. He also says traffic flow, competition and the high cost of food and taxes on small businesses all led to the restaurant’s closure.
Officials from Heritage Square recently reported that the center was 85 percent leased.
Have you heard?Coffee Lodge & Bakery recently opened at 225 E. Jefferson St., Plymouth. ... Complete Nutrition opened Saturday at Mishawaka’s University Park Mall. ... An update is coming soon about our name-that-restaurant contest for the future venue at downtown South Bend’s American Trust Place. ... Join us for our next live online chat at noon Tuesday.
Heidi Prescott’s column runs on Fridays and Sundays. When she’s not shopping, contact her at email@example.com or (574) 235-6070. You can also check out her blog at www.southbendtribune.com and Facebook.com/thebasket.