Some diners expressed disappointment last month to hear Dick and Cheryl Copeland would be leaving downtown Mishawaka.
"I drove by and my heart stopped when I saw you were closed. Total relief that you are just moving," Andre Jungermann, of South Bend, posted on Facebook.
Given the name of their restaurant Waka Dog -- as in Mishwaka -- the local couple first searched the area around 114 Lincoln Way E.
The couple needed a kitchen and a location with parking and visibility similar to, if not better than, what the Lincoln Way location had afforded them for the past 51/2 years.
"That would have been a natural transition, but we couldn't find a place that worked. Moving meant a crazy investment at our age," Dick Copeland says, "but we knew we did not want to give the restaurant up."
So the Copelands looked near the University of Notre Dame, since their Vienna beef hot dogs, burgers and soups largely appeal to students as well as families with children.
And they found a new home.
Waka Dog is slated to reopen Friday at 1809 South Bend Ave., in the former Falafel Mediterranean restaurant. And it is adding "cafe" to its name because the restaurant is adding breakfast to the menu.
The Copelands signed a five-year lease at the Campus Shoppes, with two five-year extension options.
"We tried breakfast in downtown Mishawaka, but we did not have enough business on the weekdays to make it profitable," Copeland says.
They believe the new South Bend Avenue location will be an entirely different story, not only for breakfast but also at lunch and dinner.
"We're along one of the main drives into South Bend, and we think the restaurants here will complement one another," he says.
Campus Shoppes contains Between the Buns, Studebagels, J.W. Chens Chinese Bistro and Papa John's. The former Ari's Restaurant is currently vacant.
Waka Dog Cafe, which seats about 45, contains new tables, chairs, dinnerware, a flat-screen television and free Wi-Fi, and boasts a large kitchen for Cheryl Copeland and her staff. The restaurant has about 10 full- and part- time employees, including those from the old location.
Part of the restaurant has new hot dog-themed decor, while diners will find autographed mini helmets and other ND collectibles on other shelves and walls.
Hours are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, closed Monday. Waka Dog Cafe also offers catering.
"Your sense of community, good food, friendly atmosphere and service will be hard to replace (in Mishawaka)," Tom Vickers posted on Facebook. "(But wherever) you wind up, that's where the best dogs will be."
Sangrias closes, plans new restaurant site
Sangrias Wine Bar recently closed its doors at 123 N. Michigan St., downtown South Bend. Its adjacent short-lived restaurant, Agave53, closed last year.
But Julio De La Cruz, a principal and project manager at Sangrias, tells us that he hopes to reopen later this year in a new location.
"Due to the nature of the situation, I cannot give you the address at this time," De La Cruz said via Facebook post this week.
"We have been looking for new space since September when we relinquished the Agave53 Lounge space," he says. "We were unable to come to terms over the purchase of the Sangrias space and the economics just did not add up."
Ciao's Italian restaurant recently opened in the former Agave53 space, while the Sangrias site is for lease.
De La Cruz mentions Granger, Grape Road in Mishawaka and Eddy Street Commons in South Bend as possible restaurant locations. Check back for updates.
Have you heard?
Contractors are inside the former Max & Erma's building, making renovations for the future new Scotty's Brewhouse at 4340 N. Main St., Mishawaka. ... Join us for our next live chat at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Heidi Prescott's column runs in the South Bend Tribune on Fridays and Sundays. When she's not shopping, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 574-235-6070. You can also talk retail at Facebook.com/thebasket and at Twitter.com/marketbasket.