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Returning to city with grill

“Welcome.”

To be more accurate, “Welcome to the grill,” is what owner Nasser Anabtawi says when translating the name of his latest culinary endeavor – Hala Grill.

Anabtawi, who is an engineer by occupation, was the original owner of the since-closed Maza Grille. He had left the restaurant business – and the country – for a lengthy work assignment. But he is now back in Fort Wayne and back with Hala Grill.

The Mediterranean restaurant, 10366 Leo Road in Leo Crossing, opened a week ago today and offers the dishes patrons came to love at Maza – tabouleh, falafel and baba ghanouj – but Anabtawi also added American favorites such as pork chops, steak and traditional breakfast fare.

“If you are husband and wife coming over here, and you like Mediterranean and she likes steaks,” he says, “We have it all.”

Restaurant hours are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

Menu additions

Owner Becky Fox calls it her new favorite. A combination of turkey, cranberries and goat cheese spread on wheatberry bread, the Turkey and Cranberry Deli sandwich is among a number of menu items the Friendly Fox recently debuted.

Fox says the café, tucked away in the Southwood Park neighborhood at 4001 South Wayne Ave., likes to change its menu in the spring and fall, switching out salads to reflect seasonal produce and making popular weekly specials a more permanent fixture.

Among those specials on the new menu are the California Wrap – turkey, bacon, avocado, sprouts and herbed cream cheese – and the Barbecue Beef Brisket Sandwich – brisket, whiskey onions and havarti cheese on housemade bread. The brisket is also served on a flatbread with a red onion marmalade, roasted mushrooms and goat cheese.

Other changes include the return of the Strawberry and Feta Salad and swapping the chicken salad recipe, which is served in a wrap, for a Gorgonzola variety.

Summer specials

•Downtown Grind, 200 Pearl St., has added a summer spinach salad to its menu. The salad – featuring mandarin oranges, feta cheese, cranberries, pecans and spinach – costs $4.95. Patrons can also add chicken for $1.75 or make it into a wrap for an additional charge. Also available for the season is a breakfast casserole, served with toast for $4.95. Owner Alana DeLong will rotate the variety each week, and this week is Western.

•Beginning Memorial Day, Famous Fish of Stroh, 6736 E. State Blvd., will offer a fish and fry basket lunch special for $6.48 ($7 including tax). The basket features two filets of breaded fish; choice of regular, curly or chips; and choice of sweet-and-sour or creamy coleslaw. It will be available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday until Labor Day, and it can be ordered for dine-in or carry-out.

Dine for charity

Area Applebee’s are inviting people to dine to donate on May 29.

On that day, 15 percent of the total bill will be donated to the National Kidney Foundation when a diner presents the flier to the server. The guests also receive a $5-off coupon for a future visit.

Participating restaurants include Fort Wayne locations at 4510 N. Clinton St., 6525 Lima Road, 5788 Coventry Lane, 5414 Meijer Drive; and those in Huntington, Warsaw, Kendallville, Auburn and Angola.

Bike to dinner

The rising mercury might indicate it’s summer but at Quaker Steak & Lube, 407 Coliseum Blvd. W., it’s most definitely 2013 Bike Nite season.

From 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays through October, the restaurant offers riders and motorcycle enthusiasts a chance to get together. There are motorcycle giveaways, live bands, DJ entertainment and weekly prizes.

For more information, go to www.quakersteakandlube.com.

Around town

•Ichiban, 4036 Coldwater Road, has opened.

•Wise Guys Ice, 10360 Leo Road, has opened for the season. The shop features authentic Italian ice, which is non-dairy and fat-free and clocks in at 74 calories for 4 ounces. It is open from noon to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and noon to 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday. There are also plans to add a truck, bringing the treat to local festivals this summer.

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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