Midnight Cafe & Grill Opens Its Doors in Muncie

New Restaurant in Muncie Features a Diverse Menu and Welcoming Atmosphere.

 A sign with the logo hangs outside Feb. 20 at the Midnight Cafe & Grill in Muncie, Indiana. Polito envisioned the restaurant as another place for students to hang out rather than a bar scene. Meghan Braddy, DN
A sign with the logo hangs outside Feb. 20 at the Midnight Cafe & Grill in Muncie, Indiana. Polito envisioned the restaurant as another place for students to hang out rather than a bar scene. Meghan Braddy, DN

The Village welcomed a new addition to its neighborhood of restaurants with the opening of Midnight Cafe & Grill. This unique establishment offers a blend of Mexican cuisine, all-day breakfast and a place for students to hang out after midnight. 

Owned and managed by Muncie local Ernesto Polito, those at Midnight Cafe & Grill aim to provide a different kind of experience than the traditional bar scene in the area.

Inspired by a desire for another gathering place for students in The Village, Polito transformed the former bar, Margaritas Gone Wild, into a cafe concept. The cafe opened Jan. 19 with a grand opening event.

Despite initial setbacks, including a recent automobile accident that caused damage to the store and temporary closure, Polito remains optimistic about the cafe's future. 

“It hasn't picked up to the way I want it just yet, but I think building on what we offer, it's got potential to go [far],” he said. “We're just going to have to wait and see where it goes, but I think it does have some potential.”

Midnight Cafe & Grill’s ambiance is designed to be inviting for college students and people looking for a “relaxed hangout spot,”  Polito said. With plans to introduce alcohol in the coming weeks, Polito emphasized that the cafe is not intended to be a bar but a place for “good music and a laid-back atmosphere.”

“It’s just a place to hang out…I don't want this to be a bar scene at all or a party scene type thing,” Polito said. 

Those at the cafe also plan to feature live music soon, as Polito has recently been in touch with a few local bands interested in playing.

Polito said what sets Midnight Cafe & Grill apart from other cafes in the area is its “distinctive environment.”

The building has two stories, so there are two levels where customers can sit, eat and converse. Bright colors, eclectic objects and artwork fill the rest of the building space, helping to establish the sense of place Polito envisioned.  

Polito also said the “diverse menu” sets them apart from other restaurants in The Village, as they serve various options throughout the day. 

“We offer all the things that other people or places don't. Our menu has a little bit of pretty much everything– from Mexican food to burgers and appetizers. It also has breakfast, and we try to serve that all day,” Polito said. 

Kendra Sandlin, a waitress at Midnight Cafe & Grill and a second-year speech pathology major at Ball State University, said the unique building structure and the diverse menu are also vital factors that make it a special place for her to work. However, she said she enjoys the late-night shifts, her co-workers and the opportunity to connect with students most.

“One of our other waitresses actually is one of my really close friends from high school. It just makes me feel good to be here,” Sandlin said. “And Ernesto is amazing. He's super nice. There's not very many [employees] right now. We only have about six people, but he was super welcoming and so thankful for us.”

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Owner and manager Ernesto Polito poses with one of the menus Feb. 20 at the Midnight Cafe & Grill in Muncie, Indiana. Polito is optimistic about the restaurant's future despite recent setbacks. Meghan Braddy, DN

Fourth-year Ball State criminal justice major Susan Wagner, a customer at Midnight Cafe & Grill, praised the restaurant for its “chill” vibe and delicious vegetarian options. 

She appreciates the late-night opening hours, which makes it an ideal spot for late-night study sessions or grabbing a bite to eat after class or work. 

“I came in today to do homework. I would recommend this place to others because it’s so quiet,” Wagner said. 

Polito said Midnight Cafe & Grill’s future plans include renovations to enhance its visual appeal, such as changing the interior colors, replacing the booths and adding more lights. 

Midnight Cafe & Grill is open Tuesday-Friday at 4 p.m. On weekends, the cafe is open all day. Ball State Students can show their Ball State IDs at checkout and receive a 15 percent discount.


Contact Meghan Braddy with comments via email at meghan.braddy@bsu.edu or on X @meghan_braddy.

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