Michiana restaurants recovering after closing for the deep freeze

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Record-low temperatures forced many restaurants in Michiana to close their doors this week.

Dan Walker, the general manager at Corndance Tavern in Mishawaka said closing was an inevitable option for them.

“We closed for a day and a half!” Walker said. “Obviously because a polar vortex came through, record low temperatures.”

In South Bend, First Fridays and the extension of Restaurant Week are keeping many downtown restaurants afloat.

Jeremy Young, the owner of Woochi Japanese Fusion & Bar, said he’s thankful the power didn’t go out but he still lost a lot of food because of the deep freeze.

“This year we closed for two days and of course we have a loss we have to face,” Young said.

Next door at the Chicory Café, General Manager Andrew Schreiber is looking forward to events like First Fridays to keep them busy.

“Because of the city shut down, we decided to close, not just for the safety of our employees but also because downtown was a ghost town,” Schreiber said.

The frigid temperatures kept many people inside their homes, forcing businesses to play catch-up after turning on those open signs.

“I think it did sort of throw off a lot of things, logistically, receiving trucks, food spoilage and times to use stuff, all of that is a little bit outside of what’s normal,” Schreiber said.

The deep freeze also cost some restaurants a pretty penny.

“Material-wise, I would say $3,000 to $5,000 for two days,” Young said. “Especially because we’re a sushi restaurant and we have live seafood so for those kinds of things,that will be lost.”

Now they’re looking to recover, and even though the deep freeze hurt their business it’s now giving back! Chicory Café, Woochi, and Corndance Tavern are all having a busy Friday night.

“Everyone’s been cooped up and now they’re out and hungry and ready to go back at it and we’re excited to be open!” Walker said.

“Now is the time, we can bring some warmth to the patrons,” Young said.

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