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My dorm, Breen-Phillips Hall, holds an annual fundraiser called the “Meal Auction.” Essentially, the event includes a silent auction and raffle, and all of the money raised goes to the Meals on Wheels organization of South Bend. As the new Vice-President of BP, I had the opportunity to play a large role in planning this signature event. 

For months, my roommate and I called nearly every restaurant, store, or organization in the local South Bend community to see if they were interested in donating to BP’s Meal Auction. So many of these local South Bend businesses were more than willing to help us out, which was amazing! 

After calling all of these businesses, we had the chance to drive around South Bend and the Mishawaka area to pick up all of our donations. What we thought would take an hour tops, turned into a journey that lasted over two hours, but I am so happy that it turned out that way.

My roommate and I were able to really explore the area that surrounds the Notre Dame campus, and along the way, I think we found some gems. Here is my list of the gems of South Bend (and yes, they are all places to get food)!


This one is an obvious favorite of many ND students. In the heart of downtown SB, Peggs is a staple for breakfast, brunch and lunch, especially on the perfect fall day before an Irish football game.

Yellow Cat Cafe

Keeping up with the breakfast talk, Yellow Cat is your friendly and quirky diner that has all of your favorite staples like breakfast sandwiches and pancakes. The eclectic and kitschy decorations inside never fail to entertain as you stuff your face with a breakfast burrito.

Crooked Ewe Brewery & Ale House

I love this restaurant so much. Crooked Ewe’s menu does the perfect job of blending comfort food like a pulled pork sandwich to going a bit out-of-the-box with items like their elote hushpuppies and their tonkotsu ramen. They also have a great selection of vegetarian and vegan options, and they are very conscious of allergy restrictions! The cherry on top is the extremely helpful and personable staff!



If you want southern comfort food, this is the place to go. From fried okra and red beans and rice to Nashville hot fried chicken and po’boys, Fatbird is a great restaurant with a great vibe. You don’t find many places that can do southern food with a bold twist, but Fatbird will not disappoint. 

CoreLife Eatery

Although this is a restaurant chain, CoreLife is one of my favorites. Picture a Chipotle but instead of burritos and quesadillas, you get amazing salads, grain bowls and power plates. Their Southwest Grilled Chicken and Purple rice bowl is amazing and so is their Kale Caesar Chicken greens bowl (I add brussel sprouts to it). It is the perfect place to get some quick and healthy fuel for your day!

The Lauber

The Lauber is a modern restaurant that highlights the history of South Bend while serving you artisanal pizzas, tin can nachos, and their specialty rigatoni chicken. The Lauber has great outside seating for those perfect SB spring days too!

Chicory Cafe

It’s not just a coffee shop, it’s a cool coffee shop. Stop by Chicory Cafe for some beignets, seafood gumbo, and all of your New Orleans favorites. They also have great salads, sandwiches, and even waffles! They have a wide variety of seating options and a homey atmosphere. 

Zen Cafe

Zen Cafe has all of your caffeine needs and provides the perfect excuse to go off campus. They have unique coffee syrups and obviously some great coffee and espresso. The rustic atmosphere with their high quality coffee makes you want to cozy up there all day and act like you are doing work on your laptop but you are actually just vibing. 

Holly O'Brien

Notre Dame '23

Hi, I’m Holly! I am a Sophomore at the University of Notre Dame studying Science-Business, as well as Film, Television, and Theatre. Born and raised in South Jersey, I spend my summers down the shore and get to enjoy the close proximity to Philly year-round. I consider myself a movie fanatic, but also enjoy spending time with friends and family.
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