Samuel Mancino's Italianate empire extends throughout the Midwest, each outpost stocked with a menu of fresh-baked grinders and pizzas loaded with hearty ingredients. A troika of ham, hard salami, and spicy italian sausage powers the signature italian grinder ($6.49 for an 8"), spurred on to its task of filling bellies by green pepper, onion, and melted mozzarella. Mancino's chefs toss dough by hand to give it a fluffy texture and one bittersweet taste of freedom before it meets its fate as a foundation for pizzas laden with fresh, gourmet toppings such as chicken and garlic, or ham, bacon, and pineapple ($15.99+ for a large). For dessert, piping-hot breadsticks return in sugary eveningwear as sweet Cinna-Stix ($5.99).
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.
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.
Pumpernickel's Pretzel Bakery serves up a selection of handmade pretzels, soups, salads, and sandwiches made with pretzel buns. Four signature pretzels—traditional, cinnamon, jalapeño, and whole wheat—pair with a choice of seven sauces, including raspberry mustard, spicy cheese, and salted caramel. Sandwiches place meats such as barbecue pulled pork, bavarian ham, and Angus beef hot dogs between house pretzel buns.
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.
Rulli?s culinarians dish up pizzas, pasta, 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, bristles 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.