You are the chef at a new restaurant that opens Monday at University Park Mall.
The create-your-own stir-fry concept called Flat Top Grill is located next to the new mall entrance in the outdoor addition.
Diners such as Andrew Criswell, of South Bend, have been awaiting this kind of unique venue. Many area consumers “have been interested in the idea of a make-your-own stir-fry restaurant, to provide some variety to the local scene, especially for those interested in vegetarian or vegan cuisine,” Criswell says.
Instead of ordering from a traditional menu, Flat Top customers serve as “mixologists” by combining their choice of rice or noodles, vegetables, meats and marinades in a stir-fry bowl from a salad bar-like setting.
A tour guide on the line guides customers through the selection process, says Gabe Tesdall, general manager. The premise, he says, is similar to some hibachi restaurants. Flat Top seats about 115 customers, and employs about 60 people.
As opposed to moving into food courts or constructing freestanding locations, the Texas-based restaurant chain locates in centers like the U.P. Mall addition. “This center is really high-traffic,” Tesdall says. “It's really impressive that there is so much of a draw here.”
A lunch bowl costs $8.99 (or $9.99 unlimited), while the dinner bowl costs $12.99 (or $14.99 unlimited). Breakfast is offered for $9.99 per person on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
If you would like to attend a restaurant preview this weekend, go to www.flattopgrillevents.com/mishawaka, where you can reserve a seating time for events taking place today and Saturday. The cost is $5 per person, and the offer includes a trip to the food line and an appetizer or dessert.
Starting Monday, hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.
Years have passed since The Kroger Co. announced plans to build a grocery store on the northeast corner of Indiana 933 and Auten Road in Clay Township.
In our last update with officials in July 2010, Kroger officials said the company still owned the property on the north side of South Bend and had no intention of selling it. But officials said there were no plans to build a store on the site.
The land was cleared for a grocery-anchored shopping center in 2003.
This week, St. Joseph County officials confirmed a sewer project taking place along Auten Road will include the now vacant Kroger property.
And that's not all. The Cincinnati-based company has donated thousands of dollars toward the project that will extend sewer service from Auten Woods subdivision west to Laurel Woods.
“Kroger was very generous in providing a $200,000 community gift for the installation of sewer in the area of Auten and State Road 23,” said Jessica Clark, St. Joseph County engineer.
“It is something they (Kroger) thought was imperative for the development of that area and important for the community.”
Whether it means Kroger has added this site to its new store construction schedule remains to be seen.
John Elliott, public affairs manager for Kroger's central division in Indianapolis, did not return a request for an update and comment about the monetary donation. The company's only northside location at University Commons closed in 2007.
Have you heard?
Fiesta Tapatia, 119 W. McKinley Ave., Mishawaka, has reopened its doors after a temporary shutdown from the St. Joseph County Health Department late last year. … Teavana is expected to open in early February at U.P. Mall. Also at the mall, American Eagle will be temporarily relocating next week to a space near Sears while its store is remodeled. … There is nothing new on the search for a site for the temporarily closed Lula's Cafe.
Heidi Prescott's column runs on Fridays and Sundays. When she's not shopping, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 574-235-6070. You can also check out her blog at www.southbendtribune.com and Facebook.com/thebasket.