Photos by Emily Sobecki
Those who catch a glimpse of Chicory Café operations manager Andrew Schreiber would likely describe him as a bit of a blur.
Between preparing for a mega catered order of the establishment’s well-loved macaroni and cheese, busing tables and helping customers, Schreiber is on the run during a typical Friday afternoon at the downtown South Bend restaurant.
“We are so incredibly busy,” Andrew says, “not just with foot traffic here, but also our catering side of the business.”
With a line forming in front of the restaurant’s counter at peak breakfast, lunch and dinner hours and customers filling out the tables, sipping coffee and digging into salads and stacked po’boy sandwiches, it is clear that the establishment has an expansive local following.
This customer growth has inspired Andrew and his business partners to tackle a new venture for the business. Andrew is joining business partners Phil Schreiber (his dad)and Jeff Morauski in opening the Chicory Event Center and Chicory Café Mishawaka. The events center is targeted to open early this summer inside the former Mishawaka Knights of Columbus building, located at 114 W. First St. The café is targeted to be open in July.
“We are going to take the recipe for success we have got here [and apply it],” Andrew says. “We are even going to use the same wall colors. We are going to put a study bar in that’s wildly popular that will invite students and people working to come and spend time here.”
After some renovating, the Chicory Event Center will be available for people to rent for a variety of activities. Andrew sees it as a place for weddings, receptions, fundraisers or school reunions. He even planned on hosting his own Penn High School reunion at the new location.
The events center will further be complemented by a slightly smaller version of Chicory Café, which people can also rent out with the venue. A new aspect of the restaurant will be a 50-person patio and outdoor entertainment area for live music and events.
In addition to serving a new market and more customers, Andrew says the new space would help Chicory Café’s catering side of the business by offering a larger commercial kitchen space than the South Bend restaurant.
The building got a bit of a facelift to create a “sleek” and “modern” look. The events venue has a 275-person capacity and a private room for up to 35 people.
Andrew and fellow business partners purchased Chicory Café seven years ago. The space was initially half the size it is today. After experiencing a lot of customer growth, the owners knocked down a wall and expanded the restaurant.
Andrew says he believes the business’ success stems from being an inviting place for anyone looking for a bite to eat or place to relax for a few hours.
“We are an incredibly inclusive and community-oriented heart of downtown,” Andrew says. “We are centrally located, but we also have an incredibly inviting and unique, eclectic vibe.”
The New Orleans-inspired menu includes sugar-dusted beignets and flatbread pizzas. A customer favorite is the restaurant’s famed macaroni and cheese.
“I joke with our employees that if they want to be the number one thing in our reviews, they have to be better than our mac and cheese,” Andrew says. “Our mac and cheese gets the most five-star reviews, and our employees are a close second.”
Rounding out the menu are a variety of coffee beverages and beer and wine, as well.
With a new business in the works, it looks like Schreiber won’t be slowing down any time soon.
“I think we are looking forward to not just reaching a new clientele but also being part of community growth again, just as we have in South Bend,” Andrew says.