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NWI Business Ins and Outs: Brix wine bar coming to Michigan City; many businesses struggling to stay open during COVID-19 crisis
NWI Business Ins and Outs

NWI Business Ins and Outs: Brix wine bar coming to Michigan City; many businesses struggling to stay open during COVID-19 crisis

  • Updated

Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

The coronavirus pandemic has ground much of the business world to a halt, but Brix Tasting Room still plans to open under the less-than-auspicious circumstances in downtown Michigan City next month.

Michigan City native Tyler Gonder and his wife Tamara plan to open a wine bar and restaurant at the corner of 6th Street and Franklin Street in the Uptown Arts District in downtown Michigan City. Brix Tasting Room will serve artisan pizza, wine, cider and local craft beer.

The tasting room at 111 W. 6th St. is located two blocks from the Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets and three minutes from the beach, hoping to draw business from visitors to both. The family-owned business strives to offer "a unique, un-intimidating wine tasting experience that allows exploration of economical and luxurious wines from around the world."

The menu includes cheese plates, baked brie, charcuterie boards, salads, caprese, hummus and artisan pizzas. The pesto pizza, for instance, features basil pesto olive oil, tomato, fresh mozzarella and basil.

Brix Tasting Room also plans to host charity events, fundraisers, private receptions, corporate events, ticketed shows, private group tastings and scheduled wine trail bus trips.

For more information, visit


Tina's Day Spa in Crown Point is closing after the coronavirus crisis forced it to shut its doors.

"I am officially closing Tina’s Day Spa. It is with a grateful heart, albeit saddened, to all of you who helped me create my dream spa," owner and aesthetician Tina Silhavy wrote in an email to customers. "Tina’s Day Spa left an indelible impression on all who gave me their business and I had the best clients. As we watch many businesses closing, it feels like a wave of depression. Rising real estate costs and shrinking retail sales in the physical locations creates a negative economic scenario for business owners. I held out hope for as long as financially possible that I would find affordable and suitable space. The coronavirus pandemic sealed my fate."

The business will offer beauty products to anyone with gift certificates and sell off the contents of the spa.

"My spa was a sanctuary for all who entered, including myself. I miss the spa and those who visited me," she said. 


Businesses across Northwest Indiana continue to operate during the pandemic, often morphing into a curbside pickup and delivery model. With dining rooms shut down and non-essential retailers closed to walk-in traffic, local small businesses need your support now more than ever in order to survive. A growing number of businesses that initially closed have started to reopen for delivery and pickup in order to bring some revenue in the door. If you can afford to, consider making a purchase or buying a gift card at your favorite Region businesses so everyone can come out of this period of unprecedented hardship and uncertainty together.

Here's a partial list of local businesses that remain open:

• Schoop's Hamburger Restaurants are open for curbside pickup and delivery through Grubhub and Uber Eats. The St. John location is open from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week and can be reached at 219-365-0112.

• Lady's Gourmet Popcorn in downtown Griffith had initially closed after the state's state-at-home order, donating all its leftover popcorn to the police and fire departments. But it has since reopened and takes orders online all week through 3 p.m. on Friday, with contactless curbside pickup from 12 to 2 p.m. Saturday. It also can ship and deliver.

"Boy, talk about the new retail reality, this way of staying open has us working till past midnight as we can’t start production until after we tally up the numbers at 3 p.m. on Friday," owner Patti Haugh said.

• Doelling Decorating Center at 753 S. Washington St. in Valparaiso is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

"Pay in advance, and we place the paint, stain, wallpaper, blinds outside for pick-up," Operations Manager and Vice President Malissa Doelling said. "We also ship the wallpaper, fabric, blinds or window treatments directly to customers. Family owned since 1921. We are celebrating our 100 years next year hopefully."

• Widco Transmission is open at 13243 Wicker Ave. in Cedar Lake and 502 E. Main St. in Griffith.

• Region Signs on 119th Street in downtown Whiting is open and able to provide safety signage and stickers to businesses.

• Nature's Remedies at 2812 N. Calumet Ave. in Valparaiso is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

"We are a full service nutrition store with bulk grocery items and functional food items and more," owner LeeAnn Schreiner said.

• Chef Nick's Eatery in Winfield is open for pick up in its drive-through from 12 p.m. through 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

• Timbrook Kitchens at 17 Ridge Road in Munster is open for curbside pickup 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• Steamwhistle Coffee Roasters in Crown Point is open for carryout and delivery of its full menu.

"We also have our fresh roasted coffee as well as loose-leaf teas and brewing equipment," owner Tracee Jury said.

• Hunter's Brewing in Chesterton is open for curbside pickup and delivery from 4 p.m. through 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, from noon until 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and from noon until 5 p.m. on Sunday.

• In addition to its award-winning craft beers, 3 Floyds in Munster is selling Alpha King Cheddar and beer jerky that coats sliced flank steak in a house spiced rub, smokes it for hours on Indiana hardwood, and packages it for curbside pickup to-go.

•  G & G Hobbies at 105 E. Main St. in downtown Griffith is doing curbside business from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday "for our customers who are searching for that project or item to complete one," owner Larry Gradek said.

•  Lynnie Que’s at the Lansing Airport is open for carryout with lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

"Our full menu is available along with normal weekly specials," said Garry Buell, who owns the BBQ joint along with Lynn "Lynnie Que" Cartwright. "Additional lunch and dinner specials are available and listed on the Lynnie Que’s Facebook page."

• Gamba Ristorante in Merrillville is temporarily closed but is selling gift cards online at

• Theo's Steaks and Seafood in Highland reopened to offer carryout and delivery.

• Lakeshore Coffee in Michigan City reopened for curbside pickup on Friday.

• Ciao Bella is offering "TP Tuesdays" in which a free roll of hard-to-come-by toilet paper comes with every curbside pickup or in-house delivery order.

• Dan's Pierogies, Sip, The Green Witch Cafe, Les Cafe Pancake House, The Counter Ice Cream, Traditions Restaurant and Pub, Langel's and Hasta La Vista Eatery are all open in downtown Highland while the new Sakura Bowl is temporarily closed for the time being.

For a longer list of open businesses, visit

If you would like your business to be included in a future column, email

Recent arrests booked into Lake County Jail

If you've got tips about new stores or restaurants anywhere in the Region, or just wonder what's under construction somewhere, contact NWI Business Ins and Outs columnist Joseph S. Pete at or 219.933.3316.


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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

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