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.

Uptown Cafe, the longtime coffee shop between downtown Valparaiso and the Valparaiso University campus, has opened the drive-through at its new Crown Point satellite location.

Currently, customers can only get drinks at the coffee shop at 10641 Broadway in Crown Point. The beloved local coffee shop sells several varieties of coffee, espresso drinks, handcrafted sodas and specialty drinks, such as a Matcha Libre matcha tea latte and an espresso drink that tastes like a cinnamon roll.

The Valparaiso cafe also serves a menu of light bites such as avocado toast, lox, hummus and caprese, but the Crown Point location is still ramping up operations.

Provecho stars in C.P.

In Latin America, diners say “Buen Provecho," which roughly translates to “May this food be good for your health and sit well with you.” 

It's the inspiration for the name of Provecho Latin Provisions, the hot new farm-to-table restaurant that recently opened at 110 S. Main St. on the Crown Point square. The fine dining restaurant specializes in Latin American and Spanish cuisines.

It's the brainchild of a chef who has worked at the legendary Chez Panisse, which was revolutionary for the farm-to-table movement when it opened in 1970s California.

"Owner and Chef Chris Pappas was raised in the restaurant industry watching his father run their locally owned restaurants in Crown Point. Chris attended Purdue University, one of the top restaurant management schools in the country," the restaurant said in a news release. "During this time that he fell in love with the kitchen and decided to continue his education at the Culinary Institute of America (Hyde Park New York). Chris spent time at two Michelin rated restaurants, including Per Se in New York City with Chef Thomas Keller, and was there presented with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at the world-renowned Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, with food activist Alice Waters."

Where's the Buona beef? 

Buona drew big crowds to its newly opened Italian beef restaurant at 24 U.S. 41 in Schererville.

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The restaurant serves traditional Chicago favorites like Italian beef, Italian beef and sausage combos, Chicago dogs and pepper and egg sandwiches. A company spokeswoman said the family-owned eatery also was looking for locations in Valparaiso and Merrillville, where it would square off with the similar Portillo's.

Dunkin' Donuts opens Munster site

Dunkin' Donuts is serving its bucket-sized coffee drinks, doughnuts and breakfast sandwiches at its newly opened location at 10415 Calumet Ave. in Munster. If you hit the drive-thru, watch out for speed traps along that stretch of Calumet, where the speed limit was recently reduced from 45 mph to 35 mph.

Two pizzerias in one

Packman Pizzeria in LaPorte and Roberto's Pizzeria in Michigan City have merged into Roberto's Packman Pizzeria at 612 Lincolnway. Roberto's owners, Sean Montgomery and Robert Becker, bought Packman after previous owners Don and Angie Kaczmarek died in a tragic car accident.

The 48-seat pizzeria encourages dining in and also delivers within a 15-mile radius. It claims to be the only pizza joint in LaPorte to serve deep-dish and Chicago-style stuffed pizza.

Taste of California comes to Gary

Find out if the west coast is really the best coast at the new California Crab Shack in Gary's beachfront Miller neighborhood.

The 45-seat seafood restaurant at 444 S Lake St. serves Alaskan king crab, crab legs, crab pizza, crab stuffed peppers, lobster pot pie, lobster mac and cheese, and many other seafood dishes. It plays up a beach theme since it's a short drive or walk from Lake Michigan's gently lapping waves.

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 joseph.pete@nwi.com or 219.933.3316. The opinions are the writer's.