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Owner shares plans to reopen original Linden Grill location in South Bend

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SOUTH BEND, Ind.— Following about a decade of sitting empty, the original Linden Grill on Linden Avenue will soon return to serving up its locally famous chicken wings and burgers to the South Bend community.

Linden Grill owner Alfonso “Fonnie” Mack is excited to reopen the restaurant at 1418 Linden Avenue, which will serve as Linden Grill’s third location.

“I feel there’s a customer base over there that really doesn’t venture off from their surroundings. I always felt it was unfair to take that product from its origination and people were kind of mad when it closed,” Mack said.

Mack currently operates Linden Grills at 119 South Michigan Street and 4333 West Western Avenue in South Bend.

The owner grew up in South Bend and learned to cook in the kitchen with his mom and grandma.

“It was about learning how to be a man and one of the things you’ve got to learn is how to cook and take care of yourself,” Mack said.

Mack attended college in Mississippi at Alcorn State University, where he put his cooking skills to the test.

“I went to college on a basketball scholarship. Money was tight back then. In basketball, we had the latest practice of the day and after practice there was nowhere to eat. Mom had sent me a few care packages and I started cooking and I came to find out that out of all the athletes in the dorm, I was the only one who knew how to cook,” Mack said.

In 2000, Mack opened the original Linden Grill at its namesake location.

“When we originated, it was 100% carryout,” Mack said.

Over the years, the restaurant has grown sizably, opening up in the downtown area first in the JMS building and then on Michigan Street, adding dine-in options at its new locations.

Mack said plans are underway to get the Linden Avenue building back into operation as soon as the end of summer 2020.

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