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Culver residents have likely noticed the large "Culver Pizza" sign on State Road 10 at the former site of the Ten Spot restaurant and bar. They may or may not have realized the new restaurant there is, first of all, not exactly a "new' restaurant at all, and secondly, now open (as of last Wednesday) for business.
After months of preparation, Culver Wings -- formerly of 115 E. Jefferson Street in the downtown area -- has moved to the site, though developer John Zehner says the Jefferson Street restaurant will stay where it is, likely to reopen in the summertime as a sort of "Culver Wings South."
The former Ten Spot building has been renovated and divided into five suites (four are occupied -- two each by Wings and Thermal Graphics, in the south end of the building), while a second, standalone building to the east will house a new daycare operation called Max's Playhouse (more on that in a moment).
That "Culver Pizza" sign will soon be replaced with a "Culver Wings" one, though pizza will be a specialty of the house, along with sandwiches and, of course, wings. There's also a liquor license at the location for those who'd like a drink.
"Culver Wings had lot of success with (Culver) Academies students and families," says Zehner. "We were just going to do pizza, but the wings were a hit, and the new building has better access to the Academy."
Zehner notes the downtown Wings locale closed in the wintertime, but with a different type of visibility, he plans for the new spot to be open year-round.
The new Culver Wings will continue to deliver and offer carry-out, but the bright, comfortable new dining area -- adorned with vintage images of the Culver area -- also has an additional "overflow" room which could easily accommodate busfuls on their way to or from a sporting event, business groups or local clubs, or any group of 50 to 100 people.
The new Wings, Zehner notes, "won't really be a grille," but a more traditional pizza place, perhaps hearkening back for some Culverites to popular, hometown venues of years past.
During the winter, he notes Culver Wings will be open seven nights per week with weekend lunch hours planned for Friday through Sunday hours. These will likely expand to daily lunch and dinner hours in the summer.
Wings will also be enhancing its offerings very soon by way of a mobile app, says Zehner, while online ordering is already available for fastest service through the restaurant's website at culverwings.com. Wings' phone number is 574-842-4291.
Another new addition to John Zehner's State Road 10 business complex will be Max's Playhouse (as in Lake Maxinkuckee), a daycare slated to open this May at 18561 State Road 10, the standalone building adjacent to the new Culver Wings.
This according to Brandy Pohl, a Culver Community High School grad (and frequent substitute teacher in the school system of late) who returned to the area in recent years. She says she and her husband noticed people "scurrying around in the summer (because there's) no stable place for childcare then, and drop-in childcare is also important."
Pohl also felt, with the proliferation of seasonal and tourist visitors to the area, some might want to have "an adult day" by way of a safe place to leave their children.
Last February, Pohl journeyed to Indianapolis to begin training with the result that Max's Playhouse will be one of -- if not the only -- fully licensed childcare center of daycare in Marshall County. While a number of in-home and church-sponsored daycare centers exist in the county, says Pohl, licensed daycares must meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards, have a curriculum, separate children by age groups, and be licensed in a commercial building, among other stricter guidelines.
The new daycare, she says, will accommodate 6 weeks to 36 month old children in one area, and 3 to 6 year olds in another. Children will play in a fenced-in outdoor area of 1,000 square feet, behind the daycare as well. And Max's Playhouse, she adds, will be "Montessori-inspired" (referring to the Montessori educational approach), though not formally Montessori in curriculum. The daycare can take up to eight infants (though only three at a time) and 24 preschoolers, and hours will be Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Renovation, Pohl explains, should begin this week on the interior of the building.
"It's nice to have this area (on State Road 10) revitalized," she adds. "It's nice to have things out here again."
Pohl encourages parents interested in the daycare to contact her at any time, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A far less visible tenant in the new Culver Wings building is Thermal Graphics, a wholesale laminating supply company which relocated here a year ago from the Cincinnati area, according to company president Kevin Kelly and his wife, vice president Elizabeth Kelly.
Obviously there's isn't the sort of business most Culverites will "drop in" to utilize, but the Kellys, who run the business on their own and are in "semi-retirement," are thoroughly enjoying the quiet beauty of Culver life.