New bar and restaurant Absolutely in Mishawaka opens with fresh look and new music scene – South Bend Tribune

Restaurant News

Sellenberg, a South Bend native who now lives near Nashville, wanted to open his new Americana-styled restaurant and bar called Absolutely by Valentine’s Day. He tapped his new restaurant manager and partial owner Cali Reynolds to make it happen.

“This is my first one opening from the ground up,” Reynolds said. “And we had three and a half weeks to get a restaurant open.”

In that timeline, the sports memorabilia that once covered nearly every inch of the 5,000-square-foot restaurant was replaced with modern touches of light grey and flat black paint accents. Blue tables were brought in, a concrete bar top was poured and a six beer tap system was installed. The side door that was Roc’s primary entrance will be locked, redirecting customers to the main doors on the corner.

Reynolds, who has worked locally in the restaurant business for nearly a dozen years, said she wanted to bring a dining option that was both comfortable and sporty, but also provided a great lunch and day-side option.

“It’s a great area,” she said. “It just needs some TLC.”

Sellenberg hit his goal as the 99-person capacity, 21-and-older bar and restaurant soft opened Friday — Valentine’s Day. Absolutely will be open Tuesday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. It features sports bar menu items such as mozzarella sticks, pickle chips and specialty burgers. It also includes more upscale dinner options like prime rib. Most menu’s items range between $6 to $20 and will likely expand as time progresses.

While Reynolds says the bartenders will “know how to make whatever someone wants,” the bar will also specialize in draft beer with plans to offer local and regional options in the near future.

“We want to make sure we can do lunches well,” she said. “And we are trying to capitalize on that Sunday sports day as well by being open then.”

But what will really separate Absolutely from other neighboring bars and restaurants is its music scene. With his ties in Nashville, Sellenberg is a music producer and wanted to bring a bit of the Nashville music scene here.

“I am bringing Nashville to Michiana,” Sellenberg said in December.

Talent specializing in rock, country, jazz and blues genres will likely be booked at the business on weekends. A roll-away stage will be near the center of the bar. Reynolds wanted to be clear that this will not strictly be a country bar, but rather an overall music scene bar.

“Jim and I just clicked in our vision together,” she said.

As an entrepreneur, Sellenberg said he likes to find projects and find a way to revamp them to give it a fresh spin and offer something unique. He hinted that he was working on other projects in Mishawaka, but Absolutely is his first venture for now.

“I like to take things and turn them around from what they were,” he said. “And I like to make things happen.”

Have you heard?

Merrill Pharmacy has changed its name to HomeTown Pharmacy. HomeTown purchased Merill at 606 N. Main St. in Mishawaka in 2014, but many of the same employees and services have not changed. Employees at the pharmacy Friday said the sign name was changed last week. … Traditional corn tortilla producer Molino Tortilleria will open a store in Sawyer, Mich., on Saturday. The 2,500-square-foot building at 5846 Sawyer Road will house the business’s entire production operation. It will also have a retail storefront with fresh tortillas, pan dulce and Molino merchandise for sale to customers. The retail store will be open on Saturdays. More information about the business can be found online at

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