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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.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
  • 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 Cookies, which opened in 2010.
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Local caterer serves food on Ohio TV set

“Everybody loves the food guy,” local caterer Mike Bentz says.

Even Rob Van Winkle, otherwise known as rapper Vanilla Ice.

Bentz, who owns CrackerJack Catering based out of Fort Wayne, was on a Van Wert, Ohio, set last week as Van Winkle filmed an upcoming show for DIY Network.

“They called me on (April 26) from Los Angeles, and the only thing they told me was that it was for a production company,” Bentz says. “They asked, ‘Can I do vegetarian cooking?’, and I said, ‘Yeah. I can cook anything!’ ”

The caterer, who used to head up the kitchen at BakerStreet, 4820 N. Clinton St., was on set for four days and served a variety of vegetarian soups, quinoa and couscous dishes and pasta. He tried to keep in mind seasonal produce and what would hold up well on the buffet.

And though Bentz was busy serving up to 40 people each day, he did manage to meet the rapper-turned-TV host.

“The first day I left (Van Winkle) alone. The second day I introduced myself,” he says, sharing that the two talked about the power of social media. “I got a picture with him and it was just really fun. He was really nice.”

Dreaming of ice cream

Joi Johnson was on medical leave from her job at Delta Airlines when she got a craving – for ice cream. Unable to drive, though, she couldn’t just hop in the car and pick up a pint at the store.

“I remembered the good ol’ days when you would hear the music and walk out onto the porch and be able to get the ice cream,” says Johnson, of Fort Wayne.

But ice cream trucks these days, she says, sell novelty treats rather than the soft serve cone she craved – and so she decided to change that.

Jammin’ Joi’s, Johnson’s ice cream truck venture, will offer vanilla soft serve in cones, sundaes, floats and shakes. Fresh buttered popcorn and mini doughnuts will also be available, as well as hot dogs, chips and other snacks.

She hopes to have the truck running on the weekends by the end of the month and plans to post locations on her Facebook page (www.facebook.com/pages/Jammin-Jois/399651160126268) and Twitter feed @JamminJois.

Mother’s Day specials

•The Oyster Bar, 1830 S. Calhoun St., is offering a traditional brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. A limited menu will include eggs Benedict, omelets, fresh fruit and children’s items, as well as favorites from the regular and features menus. Moms will be served a free mimosa. Reservations are suggested; call 744-9490.

•Club Soda and The Philmore on Broadway are teaming up for a Jazz Brunch at the event center, 2441 Broadway. A buffet will include cranberry French toast, a carving station, appetizers and desserts. The cost is $35 for adults and $12.95 for children younger than 10. Call 745-1000 or 426-3442 to make a reservation for one of two seatings – 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

•Moms who dine in at La Margarita, 2713 S. Calhoun St., and order a Mexican lunch or dinner entrée will receive 50 percent off and a free dessert. The trifle, made with chocolate cake, chocolate pudding and whipped topping, tastes like a Hostess cupcake, owner Leo Ochoa says. The restaurant will be open 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday.

•A six-station buffet at Lighted Gardens, 10794 N. Indiana 1, Ossian, will feature salads, prime rib, breakfast specialties and homemade desserts. The brunch is from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday, and cost is $19.95 for adults, $17.95 for ages 60 and older and $6.95 for children ages 3 to 10. Reservations are suggested; call 260-622-4023.

Teacher appreciation

In celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week, area Papa John’s stores will provide teachers and school staff with 50 percent off online orders.

To redeem the offer, good through Sunday, teachers and staff should contact their local Papa John’s for the code before placing an order at PapaJohns.com.

Around town

•According to the national office for Tucanos Grill, the Jefferson Pointe location is moving forward. An opening date for the Brazilian grill has not been set, but construction was scheduled to begin this week. The restaurant will be at the food court.

•Headway is being made on a Noble Roman’s Take-N-Bake Pizza at 6420 E. State Blvd., according to paperwork from the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health. Noble Roman’s is an Indianapolis-based franchised chain.

The Dish features restaurant news and food events and appears Wednesdays. Fax news items to 461-8893, email kdupps@jg.net or call 461-8462.

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