Dainty Maid building fosters fresh, local talent in new food hall

SOUTH BEND, Ind., -- If you’ve visited the Dainty Maid space recently, you may have noticed some new faces in the building, four new faces to be exact. After a pandemic slowdown, the vision of turning Dainty Maid into a food hall has finally become a reality.

Earlier this year, the Dainty Maid housed Early Bird Eatery until it moved into its own space this past April. That’s the vision at the Dainty Maid Food Hall, to bring in new businesses and give them a space to grow until they’re ready to move on to their own spaces--bringing more brick-and-mortar restaurants to downtown South Bend.

By providing different options and rotating different tenants, the Dainty Maid Food Hall gives places like A Roaster Called Revenant, Pink Lemonade Pastries, and The Beard and the Boss a place to grow. The Dainty Maid brings the food hall dining experience you may have seen in larger cities but in a more convenient manner. You won’t have to get up and order at the counter like a food court, you simply place the order online and someone will bring it to you. So, everyone at the table can order what they want without heading to the counter. It gives people more opportunity to sample from these businesses which will eventually allow them to expand which is the eventual goal of each restaurant according to Alain Helfrich, executive chef and partner of Haunt of Hounds, the restaurant group with more than 60 years of combined experience which oversees operations at the food hall.

“So the goal is--and it’s been proven--to have a restaurant here, we provide the equipment, the hoods, hundreds of thousands of dollars that people of modest means aren’t able to spend but have enormous talent, can come here, pay a very low rent and be able to sell their product, hopefully save money and move onto hopefully a brick-and-mortar, or a partnership with us to a brick-and-mortar,” said Helfrich.

Each business not only have phenomenal food and beverages but people with amazing talent and passion for their menus and concepts. The best part: there is something for everyone; breakfast, lunch, vegan options, sweets, alcoholic beverages and coffee.

The interior of the Dainty Maid is full of some exciting new options, including a bar, globally inspired breakfasts, locally sourced meals and coffee. The food hall is operated by Haunt of Hounds which runs The Breakfast Club and the bar, Hall Pass. Tenants, such as Pink Lemonade Pastries, A Roaster Called Revenant and The Beard and the Boss lease out space in the food hall while Haunt of Hounds provides each tenant with the tools necessary to operate. Each business has the opportunity to grow and have all developed over time.

At A Roaster Called Revenant, owner, Tyler Sutch wants to create an experience in the coffee industry that isn’t just your typical grab-and-go or sit-down coffee shop.

“We want you to feel like you’re in a really nice cocktail bar, that sort of lush atmosphere, attention to detail, quality ingredients and drinks,” said Sutch.

At The Beard and the Boss, the husband-and-wife duo, Phillip and Brigid Beattie, are now able to start selling their locally sourced, flavorful sausage sandwiches and ready-to-make meal kits in-house at the food hall.

“We wanted to recreate the dining out experience of dining out at a restaurant, sometimes when you get delivery, it takes forever, the food is compromised,” said Brigid Beattie, “the boss.”

“So, we tried to hit that middle ground between Blue Apron and Grubhub, so our food, like a restaurant, was prepped up to execution,” added Phillip Beattie, “the beard.” “So, we gave people instructions on how to heat it up.”

The pair turned their meal kits into a delicious menu to be enjoyed at the food hall.

Pink Lemonade Pastries has occupied the Dainty Maid since 2021, but owner, Adare Wilcox has come a long way since beginning the business in 2018 selling pastries at the farmer’s market

 “In 2019, I started talking to Ben and Christina Miller who own the building about moving in here and kind of getting things around, and then COVID and now we’re here,” said Wilcox.

Haunt of Hounds anchors, The Breakfast Club and Hall pass both keep the food hall running as businesses eventually move on to their own locations. The Breakfast Club offers delicious breakfast items from around the world and Hall Pass serves beverages to pair with the worldly flavors inspired by food halls in other metro areas, according to Helfrich.

“In terms of the menu, I wanted to go very global because I wanted to represent a normal food hall scene.”

The closeness of the different restaurants allows business owners to spark creativity within the food hall. General manager, Samantha Caplinger says it’s been a great experience to collaborate with the other businesses, as Hall Pass even uses coffee from A Roaster Called Revenant to make an espresso martini.

“When we started this project, the term ‘restaurant roommates,’ was introduced,” said Caplinger. “And I thought that was really fun, and so far, it’s been really accurate…It just felt like the right thing to do, to bring all of these great minds and bounce off of each other and keep inspiring each other to build a new concept that I think South Bend is ready for.”

The current hours vary by business. The Dainty Maid Food Hall is open for breakfast and lunch with plans to extend hours and host events. View the hours.

CORRECTION: In the video, it states Haunt of Hounds owns the Dainty Maid Food Hall. It is owned by Ben Miller. Haunt of Hounds was tasked by Miller to oversee operations within the food hall in 2022.

Share this article: