Fruit and Veggie Buddies Goes Virtual: An Inside Look at a Revamped South Bend Staple

Author: Genevieve Redsten


The St. Joseph County stay-at-home order has cast an eerie silence over the streets of South Bend, grinding the city’s famous nightlife to a halt. As Notre Dame students shelter in place, finishing the semester remotely, beloved bars and restaurants are sitting empty. But one South Bend man, Lyft driver and local club promoter Nintendo Joe, has promised to reignite the city’s spirits.

As the official hype man for the local bar, Fruit and Vegetable Buddies, Nintendo has organized a mass Zoom party that will recreate the magic of a Thursday night in South Bend. The event, “Virtual Veggies,” will bring together underclassmen for one last hurrah of the 2019-2020 academic year.

Nintendo said patrons will still need to present an ID over Zoom before entry to Virtual Veggies. While they wait to show their IDs, customers will be clustered in a Zoom waiting room, which Nintendo said will simulate the claustrophobia and angst of a real line outside Fruit and Vegetable Buddies. 

“We will obviously take the proper precautions and check IDs,” he said. “Even in a virtual environment, we can’t risk letting in someone who’s actually of legal drinking age. If our software detects a real ID, we’ll tell that person: ‘Sorry, not tonight.’”

To get the full immersive experience, Nintendo has challenged Virtual Veggies attendees to make the cheapest mixed drinks possible.

“For mixers, we recommend store-brand cranberry juice or Red Bull,” he said, adding, “We want you to feel the Fruits and Veggies nostalgia.”

Nintendo said he will also create several Zoom breakout rooms that will bring together the tight-knit communities of Fruit and Vegetable Buddies. The “cringey couple” room will be a safe space for virtual PDA. The “women’s bathroom” will be reserved for girls who’d like to cry, complain about boys or compliment random strangers. And the “Menbroza” room will allow finance bros to size each other up while they order virtual drinks for freshman girls they just met.

Nintendo said he’s put blood, sweat and tears into the planning of  Virtual Veggies, and that it’s been worth all the effort.

“I do it for the people,” he said. “You heard it here first. Virtual Veggies is the hottest club in South Bend, providing the highest quality real-world experience you deserve.”