Downtown Matters – Live at LaSalle Kitchen & Tavern

 
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For anyone, owning a building and business in downtown South Bend over the past twenty-eight years has been anything but easy. How people conjured up the courage to invest in South Bend after watching decade after decade of near-constant decline and demolition is beyond us.

Mark McDonnell did it and is the subject of today’s episode.

Welcome to episode one of season 3 of South Bend on Purpose where we're telling the stories of people who are betting on South Bend by investing new purpose into old spaces, whether that's an old industrial building or a once lively plot of land; people whose internal purpose has manifested itself into a physical part of our city –  the streets, parks, buildings, and restaurants of South Bend.

Each episode will tell the story of a space in South Bend, and the season is structured around a series of live events where you can come hear us interview the people that have invested into those spaces.

A couple days before our end-of-Season 2 party at LaSalle Kitchen and Tavern, Jacob and Dustin sat down for a conversation with the restaurant’s owner, Mark McDonnell, in his 3-story brick building on Colfax – the oldest existing commercial structure and the second oldest building in downtown South Bend.

Our conversation explores the history of the building, from its original construction and the many businesses that resided within, to its role today as home to two of the most popular downtown restaurants.

Listen now:

 
 

“South Bend on Purpose” is made on the corner of Tutt and Carroll by Jacob Titus, Helen Cramer, Dustin Mix, and Anna Kennedy with mastering by Jonathan Keur.

 
 
 
A large 3rd-floor barn door used to hoist machinery when the space that is now LaSalle Kitchen and Tavern was an electric motor manufacturer.

A large 3rd-floor barn door used to hoist machinery when the space that is now LaSalle Kitchen and Tavern was an electric motor manufacturer.

A South Bend Tribune archive photograph showing Sonneborn’s in the space that is now LaSalle Grill, thought to be the largest sports retailer in South Bend at the time.

A South Bend Tribune archive photograph showing Sonneborn’s in the space that is now LaSalle Grill, thought to be the largest sports retailer in South Bend at the time.

 
 
St. Joseph County historical survey cards for the building.

St. Joseph County historical survey cards for the building.

 
1899 map of the block, with the building shown bottom middle as a pink square.

1899 map of the block, with the building shown bottom middle as a pink square.

1960 map of the block showing the since-demolished City Hall, and City Hall Ct. to the north of the building.

1960 map of the block showing the since-demolished City Hall, and City Hall Ct. to the north of the building.

 
 
A South Bend Tribune archive photograph showing the building for sale after Sonneborn’s closure.

A South Bend Tribune archive photograph showing the building for sale after Sonneborn’s closure.