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The Dish

  • Updates continue on Lima
    If you drive along Lima Road, it's hard to miss the changes to the restaurant scene.
  • Updates continue on Lima
    If you drive along Lima Road, it’s hard to miss the changes to the restaurant scene.As I wrote in a March column, LongHorn Steakhouse is opening a restaurant at 5050 Value Drive in front of Costco.
  • Vanilla Bean shifting to orders only
    In most cases, closing up shop is bad times.  But for Sandra Wharton and Debbie Smith, the move from retail to production is a good thing for their business, Vanilla Bean Unique
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Ali Baba's to close today

I looked forward to my Friday night dinner plans all week -- we were going to Ali Babba's Grille (10812 Coldwater Road), where I would get some Turkish coffee and eat some killer kebobs, like Nani makes.

The small restaurant was so packed, it was a bit too much for the small staff to handle. As one of the servers apologized to a waiting couple, I overheard her say that the restaurant would close today.

When I questioned the closing, co-owner Rula Anas stopped by my table. Business was too slow, she said. Whenever the restaurant had been featured in the paper -- when I announced Ali Baba's opening in a Dish column in February of this year, say, or when restaurant critic Ryan DuVall raved about it in a Dining Out column earlier this month -- business flourished.

But shortly after the press, it was back to too-slow.

I can't fault the food, as Ali Baba's cuisine is amazing, but its location is strongly lacking: The restaurant is in a strip mall on Coldwater Road north of Dupont Road. The only way to get into its parking lot is via side streets before or after the strip, so it's easy to miss.

The owners plan to move back to North Carolina, leaving Fort Wayne down one killer Mediterranean restaurant.

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