New student-friendly restaurant features inexpensive food and retro décor
By MANDI STEFFEY
SOUTH BEND – Nestled away in Miami Village among thrift stores and barber shops, a new, hip restaurant named Javier’s Bistro has bloomed in what used to be Cira’s Restaurant.
Javier’s Bistro was opened by Javier Mendez and his wife Deborah. Cira’s Restaurant, which served the south side for decades, closed over a year ago. Mendez says he was there with his wife on the day the restaurant closed its doors for good. Now, in the same location, Mendez has opened up his own restaurant.
The bistro sets the same retro mood that Cira’s did. It’s decorated with vintage lighting fixtures, updated tables and booths and a flower centerpiece on every table. It’s been remodeled and set with a fresh coat of paint. Exposed brick and a large bar seating area add to the old-school coffee shop feel, and that’s appropriate for the bistro since it serves several different blends of TJ’s Roaster coffee, which is located in Indiana.
The bistro serves primarily American food with several local and ethnic twists throughout its extensive menu, which ranges from breakfast to dessert. According to the menu, all meats used at Javier’s are processed by DC meats in Osceola. Hungry patrons can order breakfast burritos, burgers and wings. Diners hungry for something different can choose from entrees with ingredients like ahi tuna and andouille sausage.
Javier’s Bistro is only open for lunch during the week and has just started serving dinner on certain days. Thursday, Aug. 15, was Mendez’s first dinner service in his new restaurant.
“Tonight is my first dinner service here,” Mendez said. “I’m nervous but I’m also excited. Cooking dinner is my forte.”
Mendez has been in the restaurant business for over 27 years. With his knowledge of the ins and outs of the industry, he said he’s looking at things with the student crowd in mind.
“I designed the place, so it’s updated. My wife painted everything, even the signs on the windows. The updates will hopefully bring in the student population from all over town,” Mendez said.
The restaurant is in a good location for student business. Located less than a two-mile jaunt from IU South Bend and even closer to Riley High School and Ivy Tech, Javier’s is conveniently located. Mendez says the restaurant functions as both an eatery and a coffee shop where students can bring their laptops and study.
“In the other half of the restaurant we have some ’50s style benches that we are updating for people to be able to bring their computers and sit with some coffee or food. We have WiFi and this is a quiet, clean place that would be great to study in,” he said.
This restaurant brings some vibrancy to the South Side neighborhood, which has housed many different types of businesses over the years. Across the street from a specialty lamp shop and next to an art gallery, Javier’s fits right in with its brightly colored window displays and spirited colors splashed on the walls.
Mendez said one of his main goals is to keep things affordable. Most people don’t like to overspend, especially students.
“Some restaurants could charge a few more dollars per person, but we’re trying to keep things affordable so people enjoy coming here,” he said.
Javier’s Bistro is open with barista service during the morning and noon hours where students may feel those caffeine withdrawals. The restaurant is closed Mondays but open from 6:30 a.m. through 2:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 6:30 a.m. through 9:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and from 7 a.m. through 2:30 p.m. on Sundays.
The restaurant is located at 2007 Miami St., South Bend.