Restaurants & Bars

Rediscovered Victorian Pantry (South Bend)

Bada Bing | Dec 7, 200905:50 PM

A plug for this joint: several years ago I dropped by the Victorian Pantry (in a strip mall on Cleveland between Grape and Main) and thought it was very "sweet," mixing a kind of cafe scene with an unusual diversity and character of premade takeaway or eat-in items, especially soups and hearty salads. I heard that the place does a fair bit of business with catered food as well, and I eventually used some options for a small party myself there,

That said, the name ("Victorian"?) and also the daytime clientele made me think of it (rashly) as a kind of otherworldly place for ladies who lunch and retirees. I really never went there for several years. But recently I found myself back there looking for coffee beans, because my favorite (Bella Vita) coffee house closed and I missed their twice-weekly shipments of fresh Chicago-roasted beans. Turns out that Victorian Pantry gets in a few shipments a week of good beans, too! So I've been dropping in weekly.

And on trying the foods here again, I am majorly impressed and also hopeful to encourage some traffic there, because I would hate to see yet another distinctive independent shop in trouble or closing in this area. (So far, this place seems busy, but better sooner than later to write it up).

First thing I noticed is that they have genuinely good croissants--something I have hardly ever seen in the USA, and less often still in the midwest. Next, I found that they have genuine boiled bagels, good as any I had in New York. They also have at least a half-dozen off-the-beaten-track soups (e.g., tomato gorganzola) for take away or eating there. I ended up talking with some of the cooking personnel, and it's clear that these are really dedicated foodies, who aim to do each thing in the best way possible. And they do a LOT.

In case this seems like an "interested" advert, let me say explicitly that I have no affiliation here. It's just that this place has been around a number of years, and therefore it's not "the latest thing." So I want to inform (or remind) Chowhounds that it's really worth stopping in. It would be especially on spot for a food-interested lunch group.

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