On June 23rd, we were thrilled to visit the first restaurant that would be featured on Sweet Home Michiana. Bin 23 is a restaurant located in the new GrandView Flats and Townhomes apartments in western Granger. First opened in December 2018, Bin 23 offers casual Italian-inspired dining and an extensive wine menu. Once there, we sat down with their general manager, Jason Schaub, and discussed everything about the restaurant. From the first moment that we started reaching out to area restaurants about website features, Jason was the first person to get back to us. We sincerely would like to thank him and his staff for taking time out of their day to host us.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the restaurant was not as lively as it normally is, but the atmosphere still shone through. One of the first things you will notice as you walk through the dining room entrance will be a chandelier with glass bottles acting as the crystals. The mixture of the rustic décor with the sleek and shiny colors of the bar and pizza oven brings the room to life, welcoming patrons with open arms.
Jason sat down with our trio and began to walk us through the 23 items listed on the menu. Under regular circumstances, more dishes would be offered but the number of items was reduced due to the pandemic. We were informed that seating capacity inside the restaurant had recently been boosted to 75% and more items would be offered gradually as the state of Indiana permits 100% capacity seating. The dining room has the capacity to accommodate 73 people, with the ability to serve an additional 20 patrons on the patio. As we became acquainted with Jason, he shared the story of how he first started as a dishwasher, transitioned into a position cooking on the line, and eventually became the general manager. We were inspired by his work ethic and knew that Jason meant business when it came down to his food.
He recommended that we try three of his favorite items – the brie and bourbon flatbread ($14.50), the mushroom and truffle pizza ($16), and the Bin 23 pizza ($17). The brie and bourbon flatbread contained a bourbon, apple, and fig spread, topped with brie cheese, walnuts, caramelized onions, and a balsamic drizzle. The combination of the sweet and savory flavors in the flatbread was like a jolt of lightning on my palate (in a wow-that-was-really-good type of way). The namesake pizza contained prosciutto, Italian sausage, pepperoni, mixed cheese, green olives, red onions, and crushed tomatoes, and was their interpretation of a meat lover’s pizza recipe. Our favorite pizza was the mushroom and truffle: containing mozzarella, marinated mushrooms, arugula, truffle oil, and herb and butter base. With prices on the current menu ranging between $10-$20, we thought that it was fairly priced, especially when considering the high-quality ingredients used.
One thing that truly sets Bin 23 apart from most restaurants in the area is their pizza oven – the Marra Forni rotating oven, to be exact. Jason explained that when using this particular oven, pizzas would only need to be baked for no more than 120 seconds. Jeff Blair, CEO of Prime Hospitality Group and Jason’s mentor, informed us that he believes this is the only oven of its kind in the entire state of Indiana. We did not expect to come across such a device, but the flavor and texture of the pizza dough and crust spoke for themselves and we were definitely listening. We thought of Bin 23 as a great lunch option for people that might only have an hour to grab a reasonably priced, mid-day bite before heading back to work, but their menu can also accommodate dinner cravings.
For those that are not on a time constraint, we recommend that you check out their weekend specials and their wine selection. A special brunch menu is offered on Saturdays and Sundays. Bin 23’s wine menu offers 30+ wines, with many of them being names that are not often seen in other area restaurants within the same price point. Their wines are offered in 2 oz. and 6 oz. glasses, as well as by the bottle in the dining room. In addition to those offered on the menu, 50+ wines are offered by the bottle in the marketplace located inside the restaurant. The marketplace also carries other items, such as personalized gift boxes and charcuteries. A private dining/tasting room stands next to the marketplace, with a beautiful glass exhibit separating both rooms. We were informed that wine tastings take place in these rooms, with classes even being offered. Although we were mostly giving him blank stares due to our limited knowledge of wine, Jason persevered and gave us pointers about some of the things he had learned through the trade. We will be sharing news about any upcoming wine events at Bin 23 and we hope that by partaking in these classes, we will be able to write about their wine selection in greater detail in the future.
Overall, Bin 23 is a fresh tilt on a long-standing cuisine, and we are happy to have them in the Michiana area. Their location is only a few minutes north from the heart of the Mishawaka commercial centers, their pristine facility catches your eye, and their food makes a strong supporting statement. Bin 23 could be you and your friends' new favorite spot. Next time you are in the nearby area, we encourage you to give them a try!
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