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The Dish

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    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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Soul food cook opens new local restaurant after break

Things have changed in the six years since James K. Thomas Sr. had to close his restaurant at McKinnie Avenue and Hanna Street.

The economy has seen improvements, and there has been the boom of social media, which he says can make or break a restaurant.

The one thing that hasn’t changed is his passion for cooking. After saving some money, he is excited – and a bit nervous – to again be a restaurant owner.

JT’s Soul Food opened last week at 2516 E. Pontiac St., serving some of the dishes he was known for. There’s filleted catfish, barbecue rib tips, collared greens, black-eyed peas, okra and macaroni and cheese. Sweet potato pie and pound cake are made daily.

“It’s straight, down-home Southern cooking,” Thomas says.

On Sundays, there will be specials such as chicken and dressing and smothered pork chops and a two-for-$20 deal – two meals, two drinks and two desserts for $20.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday. Beginning Saturday, the restaurant will serve breakfast from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Carry-out is available; call 443-1866.

Cafeteria opens

Juanita Buggs, better known as G-Ma, has spent years cooking for others at church functions and summer food programs.

People said they loved her food, daughter DiDi Lee says, and it prompted Buggs to open G-Ma’s Cafeteria at 626 McKinnie Ave. The restaurant, which previously housed McKinnie Tap, had a soft opening Friday, and the first day of business was Saturday.

There is no set menu for the restaurant, instead there will be daily specials and theme meals depending on the day. For example, Thursdays will feature spaghetti with meat sauce and Salisbury steak. The specials will be decided by Buggs, Lee says.

There will be a buffet on Sunday for $12.50, and it will offer fried chicken, collard greens, pig feet, corn bread, candied yams, black-eyed peas and tossed salad. All meals come with drink and dessert.

Hours are noon to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Scandinavian menu

IPFW hospitality management students are putting a twist on Scandinavian cuisine as part of their capstone course.

Norse Restaurant, which is in the Holiday Inn at IFPW & Coliseum, 4111 Paul Shaffer Drive, is managed and operated by students, and they are responsible for all aspects and departments of the restaurant – including theme and menu design and finance strategy cost control.

The menu consists of traditional Scandinavian dishes cultivated and customized to the Midwestern palate – dumplings, pastries, venison, potatoes, fresh salmon and meat cakes. There are also gluten-free offerings for dessert.

The restaurant is open 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Dec. 10. Reservations are encouraged, and can be made by calling the Holiday Inn at 482-3800.

Around town

•Downtown Grind, 200 Pearl St., announced on Facebook on Sunday that it was forced to close because of unforeseen circumstances.

•Don Hall’s Factory is hosting a tea time luncheon at noon Dec. 3. Four courses will be paired with teas from Tamurai. Tickets are $15, tax and gratuity not included. For information, call 484-8693.

•Taco Bell has opened a new location at 3950 E. Dupont Road.

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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