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Fiddler's Hearth

A taste of Ireland in downtown South Bend . . .

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Anyone with a urge for a taste of Ireland doesn’t have to hop on a plane and head to Dublin. All they need to do is drive to downtown South Bend and walk inside Fiddler’s Hearth.

Owner Sean Meehan (along with his wife, Carol, and son, Terry) opened the restaurant in 2002 and with his 25 employees has created “the true spirit of an Irish public house.”

“It’s a family friendly gathering place for Celtic artists and the public,” says Meehan.

Meehan got his idea of an Irish restaurant when he realized that right in the backyard of the Fighting Irish of the University of Notre Dame, there wasn’t an Irish pub to be found. With assistance from the city, Meehan obtained a grant to put a new façade on an existing building and remodel the inside.

Since opening Fiddler’s Hearth eight years ago, Meehan says it has become a popular destination, especially on home football weekends.

Among the most popular items on the menu, says Meehan, is traditional fish and chips, Irish salmon and braised lamb shank. It’s also a place where a nice plate of bangers and mash is always available.

Meehan says the restaurant has a full-service bar that offers 18 varieties of draft beer, many of them brewed right in the area.

“We also serve a lot of Irish coffees. It’s the biggest selling cocktail we make,” says Meehan.

Meehan comes naturally by his interest in a traditional Irish pub. His dad, Terry, is from Ireland and his mother, Carol, is from Scotland.

“I’m a bagpiper and got into it really young,” says Meehan, of one of the Irish traditions he’s carrying on.

“Not only does the idea of Irish food give you a feeling of being at home, but with the other European cuisine we have, there is something for everyone on the menu,” says Meehan.

Meehan says Fiddler’s Hearth prides itself on its home cooking. “Everything is freshly made,” he says. “Really, I think we’re a bargain. There is no cover charge and we have music seven days a week.”

Among the entertainers are Kennedy’s Kitchen, a tradition Irish band; Switchback, which plays an eclectic mix of music; and Millish, which plays bluegrass.

“We’ve definitely learned as we’ve gone along,” says Meehan. “We’ve had a vision all along and we’ve stuck to it.” ?

Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday and Tuesday; and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday. For more information, call (574) 232-2853 or visit the website at www.fiddlershearth.com.