After getting torn down 14 months ago to make way for a new strip mall, the Catch 22 restaurant in Merrillville has reopened with a new building, a healthier menu and a new name.
The popular eatery and bar at 500 East 81st St. is now known as Catch 22 Table and Tap.
"You always see bar and grill," owner Jason Evans said. "It's so cliched, so I tried to come up with something original."
Catch 22 now occupies a 4,600-square-foot building in a 42,000-square-foot, eight-unit, $5 million-plus shopping center on U.S. 30 that was developed by Al Krygier and is anchored by Planet Fitness.
It's about half as big as the previous 9,000-square-foot restaurant space.
"It was from the 1980s, and it was tired and old," Evans said. "We've got new space and the other tenants are driving a lot of traffic, especially Planet Fitness. They did a wonderful job with the building. It's aesthetically great and a great addition to Merrillville."
The proximity to the gym led Catch 22 to add more healthy options, including fish and quinoa salads.
"It's similar but a bit larger," Evans said. "We have more healthy options, but also the fish tacos and wings for sports fan."
Catch 22 has 17 televisions for sports, and brings in DJs for Bears, Blackhawks and Notre Dame games. It seats up to 150 in its bar and family dining areas.
"It's the same setup with a few less seats," he said. "Now, the patio can accommodate families outside. It was tied to the bar before. It's a new design with a traditional look, including dark wood trim and a dark wood bar top. It has a very classy look."
Top sellers include the fish tacos, burgers and a blackened grouper sandwich.
The bar has 20 taps, including of Devil's Trumpet, Ironwood, Revolution, New Belgium, Yuengling and Blue Moon. It has the same garage door as before and added cell phone chargers at every seat in the bar.
"We didn't lose a lot of people despite being closed for 14 months," Evans said. "We increased our presence on social media to remind people we'd come back. A lot of the same people have been coming in, and they wouldn't let us drop an old product. We didn't originally have the candied bacon on the new menu, but it was requested enough where we had to bring it back."
Catch 22 fills a void for local eateries in an area dominated by chains, Evans said.
"It's a great place to watch a game or take a date," he said. "It's not just another chain franchise. People feel comfortable here whether in a suit or a T-shirt."
A grand opening is planned during the 7:20 p.m. Bears-Packers game Sunday in which there will be a giveaway of gift cards, swag and food specials.
Catch 22 is open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Sunday through Thursday, and from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
For more information, call 219-0525-4076 or visit catch22nwi.com.