South Bend's Taphouse on the Edge is becoming owners' vision

 

Taphouse on the Edge is closer to becoming the restaurant owners Phil Schreiber and Jeff Morauski envisioned.

The restaurant, located on South Bend Avenue near the University of Notre Dame, was formerly a Between the Buns. Schreiber and Morauski were part owners in the small local chain of sports bars, but had aspirations for a new venture.

The two worked out a deal to take ownership of the South Bend location, renaming it Taphouse on the Edge and disconnecting it from Between the Buns.

In addition to the name change, the two planned to back away from the sports bar atmosphere — taking down the jerseys and sports memorabilia that covered the walls and making the menu smaller and trendier, Schreiber says.

But the deal happened so quickly in early January that not much changed other than a temporary sign on the front. Now more than a month later, a new restaurant is starting to emerge.

Those familiar with Between the Buns should instantly notice a change to the two main walls. The bar side now features a mural showing South Bend's beer history — vintage pictures of local bars, old beer labels, a Drewrys delivery truck and other art superimposed on the wall.

But the sports feel hasn't completely disappeared from the restaurant. The other main wall features some South Bend history with a focus on Notre Dame sports.

Schreiber says it was important not to highlight just the most popular sports. Many groups get a nod on Taphouse's wall, like rugby and the Irish Guard, and women's basketball coach Muffet McGraw does have a nice feature as well.

And with the name Taphouse, beer is an important part of the restaurant beyond the mural. The restaurant now has 23 taps, a majority of them serving regional beers.

The bar also has an updated cocktail selection.

Beyond tweaks to the drinks, the food menu was another big change with Taphouse. Schreiber and Morauski hired chef Brent Furry to spice up the restaurant's food offerings.

Schreiber says he wanted a menu that was more trendy, but affordable. He wanted to make dishes that you would see in bigger cities more accessible for the South Bend community.

The restaurant is focusing on building a core menu with feature dishes that will be changed periodically. Dishes like the Crispy Pork Belly — pieces of pork each topped with a piece of watermelon, all on top of a bed of couscous with an Asian glaze.

Don't be put off by fruit on pork; it provides a sweet coolness to balance the spicier glaze.

If you really want some spice, though, check out Taphouse's Bite Your Face burger. As one of the new items, the burger has pepper bacon with ghost pepper cheese and frizzled jalapeños.

Schreiber says it's appropriately hot. Though the ghost pepper cheese may seem scary, the burger offers a great combination of spicy flavors.

"I didn't want to be just a burger and wings place," Schreiber says.

Lincoln Wright's column runs on Wednesdays and Sundays. Contact him at LWright@sbtinfo.com or 574-235-6324. You can also talk retail at Facebook.com/thebasket and at Twitter.com/marketbasket.


 

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