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All great stories start with people.

This is our story. Our founder, Mark Tarner, grew up in his family’s business. He helped his mom and dad any way he could. So did his brothers and sisters. It is something that everyone did in 1960’s America. His first memories are working in the family grocery store in Leesburg, Indiana. 

I guess the Tarners have always been in food. Mark moonlighted delivering newspapers and went away to college. But all roads seemed to lead back to food service.

Mark is a maker and a manufacturer. He and his companies have won numerous awards. They embody Midwestern values of hard work, innovation, and outstanding food quality.

a little boy posing for a photo

Mark on his first birthday. Doesn’t that cute face just make you want to buy something?

a store in a brick building

The Tarner family grocery store in the 1970s. Mark's family lived in the apartment above their store.

Mark’s family also helps out with the business. Sam is involved both in sales and manufacturing. His sisters, Emily, Anna, and Elizabeth, help out in our stores.  Julie, Mark’s wife, keeps the household running. Working together is a Tarner family tradition.

Mark is also blessed with an amazing work family. Sam Tarner and Kristina Tressler are looking to carry on the Tarner family tradition into the next century. Kristina and crew form an incredible team. Kristina and the staff at Public House look forward to opening another chapter in the South Bend Chocolate Company’s history.

That brings us to The Public House. The newest addition to the South Bend Chocolate Company. The Public House is just steps from the Tarner’s home. They love South Bend, its culture, its people, and its culinary traditions.

a man wearing a suit and tie

Mark Tarner at Bar Fly in the South Bend International Airport.

a group of people posing for a photo

Left to Right: Mark, Don, Kathy, Ruth, Steve.

Mark is maturing into a young professional. Can’t you tell by the bowtie?

For years the company has been buying locally and sharing the bounty of South Bend with the nation. The Public House takes this vision to a whole new level. It also combines the family’s deep love of nature with a culinary creativity that delights diners.

The Public House is a destination for simple, seasonal, and healthy food.  Where food comes from, how it's prepared, and who makes it has an impact on the health of people, our city, and the environment.

Nobody has cooked up anything better.

Come taste the Public House difference.

a man standing in front of a building

Sam Tarner and Kristina Tressler are just like brother and sister.

a group of people sitting at a table

Left to Right: Julie, Anna, Mark, Elizabeth, Sam, and Emily.

South Bend Chocolate Company: Its Founding and Growth

The Public House is an exciting new part of the South Bend Chocolate Company. 

Mark established the company in 1991. Three Notre Dame licensed chocolates were the first products he produced.

Since its humble beginning the South Bend Chocolate company has successfully grown- one satisfied customer at a time. Today the company has thirteen stores in three states and wholesales nationwide.

“We’re expanding into more than just a chocolate company,” says Mark. “We’re more of a food company. We roast nuts and coffee, own a bakery, and operate exciting retail stores. We make almost every item in our stores.  We are literally butchers, bakers, and chocolate makers.”

Honors and Awards:

Mark's awards and honors include:

1998Junior League President’s Award
1999Saint Joseph County Small Business Person of the Year
 Sam Walton Business Leader Award
2000Indiana Small Business Person of the Year
2001Ranked 17 in Inc. Magazine’s Inner City 100
 Blue Chip Community Award Finalist
2002Named in the top 30 franchises in Entrepreneur Magazine
 Ranked 45 in Inc. Magazine’s Inner City 100
2003Ranked 67 in Inc. Magazine’s Inner City 100
 Ranked in the Indiana Growth 100
 Corporate Award, South Bend Alumni Association
2004Ranked in the Indiana Growth 100
2005Received Sagamore of the Wabash Award (Highest Citizen Award in the State of IN)
 Received Ernst & Young Retail Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Great Lakes Region
2008Indiana Top 50 Companies to Watch Award
2009Tourism Award St. Joseph County
2010Outstanding Citizen and Entrepreneurship Award
2012Main Street Business of the Year (Indiana)
2016Vendor of the Year/South Bend International Airport

The Upside Down Burger:

Gordon Ramsay, step aside! There’s a new burger tradition going down.
The Public House has reinvented the classic American burger. We are turning the burger world upside down. Both literally and figuratively.

Your fresh, ground hamburger is served on a homemade bun, made in our own bakery. First, we actually grind our hamburger daily, to ensure utmost freshness, and mix in our special seasonings. And you are welcome to watch us do so. Then, you can request that your burger be cooked on a wood fired grill, or our standard flat top. Your burger is enclosed in a bun of your choice and served upside down. Finally, our meat masterpiece is not complete until each burger is branded. Our brand is a seal of excellence and approval.

Your choice of fries or tater tots completes your one of a kind meal.


When we say “shareables” we actually mean it. Each appetizer should fill you up. If it doesn’t, tell your waiter and maybe they will bring you some more.


Our soups are made daily and might require you to assist in the preparation. Order the Zuppa di Nonna find out what we mean.

After Dinner Mints:

With every dinner or appetizer every diner receives a custom made dinner mint from the South Bend Chocolate Company. Our mint oil is distilled twice to create a smooth and refreshing taste.