The Electric Brew is a fair-trade-certified coffeehouse serving coffee that is roasted in-house and brewed fresh daily, along with fresh baked goods and tasty lunch fare. The menu gets a steamy start with five daily varieties of whole-bean gourmet-brewed coffee ($1.49–$1.69), as well as a variety of hot and cold specialty drinks such as hot tea ($1.49) and hot chai tea ($3.04–$3.64). Kids can warm their mini-organs with a kid-sized hot cocoa ($0.75), which is a mildly warm, yet equally scrumptious version of the original ($2.38-$2.80). The menu of caffeine-complementing cuisine includes soups, salads, and sandwiches that, like the slowest county-fair Ferris wheel ever, rotate daily. Rib stickers such as chicken barley soup ($3.25–$4.25), Santa Fe black-bean salad ($5.15), and chicken salad on brew bread ($3.75–$5.95) have all appeared recently. Other menu munchies include handmade baked goods such as coffeecakes, streusels, muffins, brownies, and homemade cinnamon rolls.
Venturi's master chefs forge wood-fired neapolitan pizzas dotted with fresh ingredients and house-made mozzarella. The menu, like people's receptiveness to caroling, changes with the seasons; recent options have included the Pesto e Ricotta with its house-made sauce of pine nuts and garlic. Artichoke hearts, mushrooms, and prosciutto di parma mingle atop the Capricciosa, and the Cherry Bomb's mozzarella, basil, and cherry tomatoes join forces to create a simple but flavorful feast.
Rulli’s culinarians dish up pasta, pizzas, and seafood dishes born from recipes central to southern Italy, serving patrons in their 25-year-old dining area at their Middlebury location or at their newest spot in Elkhart. A range of appetizers, such as 12 broaster-style chicken wings accompanied by dunk tanks of barbecue, ranch, or vidalia onion sauce, pave the way for heartier main courses or Stooge-level food fights. Velvety ricotta, parmigiana, romano, and provonello cheeses comprise the lasagna’s melty strata, which trundle italian sausage toward forks on fragrant avalanches of marinara and signature sauce. Rulli’s pizza, which has been served at the Elkhart County Fair for two decades, bristle with inventive toppings such as spaghetti and meatballs.
Vivid Italian artwork and murals from local artist Rocky Weaver pepper the dining room, a delightful prelude to the neighboring Rulli's Bella Luna sports bar’s fun neon signage, clacking pool balls, flickering high-definition TVs, and live music. Foam-flecked taps line the full-service bar boasting a selection of robust wines, which nicely complement rowdy bands wailing or grape stomping live atop a well-appointed stage.
General Manager Nino Porpiglia oversees his family’s culinary legacy, laying out his mother’s traditional Italian-American feasts in the restaurant building built by his father more than 20 years ago. Hearty plates of veal, chicken, fish, steak, and pasta come flanked with house-made bread, and Old World sweets, including tiramisu and spumoni, add pleasing punctuation to dinner’s end. A wine list featuring more than 25 wines by the bottle details vintages ranging from J.J. Muller’s steadfast riesling to Joseph Phelps cabernet sauvignon ’05, which boasts a 90-point rating from Wine Spectator. Inside the romance-tinged dining room, painted murals of San Roberto and Fiumara stand guard as the bar’s signature martinis add glitter to conversations held from the comfort of red leather chairs.
After spending his childhood absorbing the finer points of pie forging from his father, Darren "DC" Cornell ventured forth on his own to build a reputation preparing pizzas with homemade sauces, never-frozen pepperoni, and fresh, top-shelf ingredients. The pizza baron and his crew melt a signature four-cheese blend over hand-tossed, thin-crust, and Chicago-style pies, christening each discus with patriotic names that celebrate institutions of the United States and laws that allow setting off fireworks indoors. Toppings such as real italian sausage, smoked meats, imported capicola ham, and fresh veggies join with a mélange of sauces and creamy cheeses to grace savory pies and calzones. Hearty sub sandwiches, light wraps, crispy salads, and classic Italian favorites leave diners as satisfied as a snowman swimming in the Arctic.
The culinary gurus at Charlie's Butcher Block satisfy protein-seeking palates with full meals of fresh-cut meats. The barbecue chicken or beef meal topples scales with five pounds of certified Miller Amish chicken or Hereford beef, complete with 12 buns to feed the hearty hungers of tailgaters, families, or the Wu-Tang Clan. Buckets of fried chicken delight poultry lovers with four oven-fried chicken breasts and four crispy chicken legs or thighs.
Whenever an adult purchases an entree at select restaurants, a child younger than age 12 dines free thanks to The Kids Club Card—an innovative pass that helps families save money when eating out. Participating eateries, such as Applebee’s, Dairy Queen, and T.G.I. Friday's, offer a variety of tastes for patrons who might have otherwise avoided restaurant prices by staying home and eating porridge. Local charities also benefit from the pass, receiving a cut of its proceeds when it's sold in their communities.