backstageadd ND

Tapas Restaurant coming to Michiana

Tapas Restaurant coming to Michiana

Postby Happy Mom » Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:45 am

Executive chef Sean Kelley is opening the Temper Grille in Mishawaka. Kelley's Americanized tapas restaurant, at City Plaza, is expected to open near his 33rd birthday, which falls on Feb. 24. "It's about time for a good birthday gift to myself," he says.


Tribune Columnist

Sean Kelley received the keys on Monday.

He opened a bottle of wine that day to "savor the moment" as he celebrated the fact that his lifelong dream is here. There's no turning back, not that he wants to.

Opening a restaurant he can call his own is something the Michigan native has been working toward since he started cooking in his mom's kitchen at 8.

This is something his family and friends have been urging him to do again and again, despite the recession. And this is something he has spent years preparing while working at casual dining restaurants, private country clubs and steakeries.

Most recently, Kelley served as executive chef at Ruth's Chris Steak House in Mishawaka, which just so happens to be a stone's throw from the venture he is calling Temper Grille.

Come late February, he will open the restaurant that serves what he calls Americanized tapas, or small plates, located at City Plaza shopping center on the northeast side of Mishawaka.

But there's work to be done before that happens.

Work that he plans to complete on a fast track, obviously, to be able to cater to customers in about eight weeks. Kelley has been in back-to-back meetings the past few days as he plans everything from signage to interior improvements.

Not that much has to be done on the inside, mind you. The space formerly contained Wine Down Bistro, operated by the owners of J'A Ross Salon and Day Spa, so the furnishings were already in place. He plans on making little tweaks here and there, to make the dining room feel more intimate.

"Tapas is big in Chicago," he explains about his choice of cuisine. Wine Down Bistro offered a few tapas on its menu, but Temper will offer nothing but small plates. "There are no entrees involved, so it's mostly for coming in and sharing. And there's nothing in the area that has what I'm trying to do."

That unique concept could be seen by some as a positive, or as a risk by others in this economy.
Kelley, however, who is passionate about cooking, says he is confident with his choice of menu.

He'll serve soups, salads, appetizers, surf and turf as well as desserts, coffee and wine. You can take a peek at the tentative menu online at, and become a fan of the restaurant on Facebook.

"Food and wine complement each other, and with the right pairing, everything tastes even better," he says. "It's all about great hospitality and the 'wow' factor in the food you serve."

In some ways, Kelley compares himself to chef Gordon Ramsay, only he's not into all the shouting. He describes himself as demanding because he is constantly striving for perfection.

The restaurant, which will seat about 50, will be open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week. Hiring will begin soon. Kelley will be looking for servers, bartenders and kitchen staff.

"We're in a market where some restaurants have been around for a long time and don't change their menu a lot," he says. "I can always change my menu to what people are demanding.

"I have the experience and the passion for cooking," he explains. "Plus, I'm single, so I have the time to be married to Temper Grille. I've always been hemming and hawing because this is such a risk. But I don't want to kill myself for someone else anymore. This is mine." ... COLUMNISTS

I thought Stevedm was going to do this first???? :? :think:
"Preserving and protecting the principles of the Constitution is the primary role of the federal government."
User avatar
Happy Mom
Posts: 19486
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 6:03 am
Location: Granger

Re: Tapas Restaurant coming to Michiana

Postby Wilson » Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:29 pm

The WIne Down Bistro was a unique and novel idea/place. It is a shame it didn't make it. It was a very small space. I have to wonder .... If most of that area in City Plaza has closed
(there were some retail businesses, clothing for men/women, a import place, I can't remember the others), why does anyone think this new Tapas Restaurant will make it? How is Ruth's Chris doing? The area seems dead. It is in an obscure area where when you are driving the area of Target, you wouldn't have any idea that there is any other businesses past that point.

The idea of Tapas sounds intriguing and something different. I hope it works out.
User avatar
Posts: 1733
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:24 pm

Re: Tapas Restaurant coming to Michiana

Postby bob_rx2000 » Sun Jan 03, 2010 7:46 pm

I believe that Ruth's Chris is doing OK - at least they seem to be busy when I go past that area, which admittedly isn't all that often. I agree that right now when you get past Target and the church, it seems a little dead over there.
"Because, Gentlemen, I don't trust you..." Gunning Bedford, U.S. Constitutional Convention
"First God created the idiot. That was for practice. Then he created the School Board." Mark Twain
User avatar
Posts: 3981
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 9:27 am
Location: South Bend, in a subdivision scheduled for annexation

Re: Tapas Restaurant coming to Michiana

Postby SeanD » Fri Dec 10, 2010 12:04 am

I agree. It all just seems too spread out over there. Ruth's Chris will be successful because it is a destination though.
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 6:18 pm

Re: Tapas Restaurant coming to Michiana

Postby Wilson » Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:34 pm

I did happen to eat at Temper Grill, it was a most pleasant experience. I will surely go there again. The owner came to our table and was most pleasant and gracious. The food was different and delicious. It is a little pricey, however, it is a treat and well worth it.
User avatar
Posts: 1733
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:24 pm

Return to Restaurant reviews

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests