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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 1:00 am

Patios opening as weather finally warms

Kimberly Dupps Truesdell | For The Journal Gazette

May 1 was the day. A May day when fans of sunshine, fresh air and a good cocktail could sit along the river at what has arguably become the most popular summer spot.

However, things didn't go as planned for the staff – nor fans – of The Deck at Don Hall's Gas House, 305 E. Superior St. The weather forecast was dismal and wet and as Laurie Schrader, dining room manager at the Gas House, says, the Deck isn't much fun when there's no sun and the temperature is in the 50s.

“Mother Nature hasn't been very nice to us now that we're ready to go,” Schrader says.

Hopefully Mother Nature is ready to get on board because – with her cooperation – the staff is set to open today.

And there are likely many people who are happy about that.

“Our phone rings off the hook all day long,” Schrader says of people who want to know when the Deck would be open. “It's overwhelming how big it's gotten, but not surprising. Everybody loves being outside. … We love it.”

The setup will be a bit different this year so the Deck could accommodate more patrons. There's more of a beer garden setting, and a little bit of the parking lot was taken away with a small service bar being added.

Mark Nei, owner of the Redwood Inn, added a patio at the bar last year to help improve the feel of the neighborhood and accommodate more patrons.

The outdoor area seats from 50 to 60, he says, and it was ready for people when there was unseasonably warm weather in February.

“We had some days that were OK,” he says, adding that people would sit out on the patio and try it for as long as they could. “The weather is definitely the deciding factor for what people are doing.”

So far, the wet and dreary spring hasn't affected plans at Redwood, which is known for its sausage rolls and pizza. But Nei is hoping the weather does turn around this week or next as there is antique cruise-in slated for an Tuesday.

The cruise-in will begin at 5 p.m., with off-street parking available on the east side of the patio. Redwood is at 1432 W. Main St.

Brunch at Rib Room

It's not often that a chef is willing to give up a Sunday morning to head back into the kitchen. So when Mike Bentz, the chef at the Rib Room, pitched the idea of a Sunday brunch, manager Karon Messman was willing to give it a try.

The restaurant at 1235 E. State Blvd. had its first brunch service Sunday, offering breakfast favorites such as eggs, bacon, pastries, fruit, hash brown casserole and pancakes as well as sides, salads and entrée selections. Diners can also add on the restaurant's famous ribs. To make it complete, there was a bloody mary bar with filet mignon tips, house-made smoked sausage, bacon, shrimp skewers pickled items, a variety of stuffed olives and veggies galore.

Sunday's brunch was a practice run for Mother's Day. Reservations are limited at this point but for those lucky enough to score one, there will also be carving stations and a mimosa fountain. The cost will be $20 for adults and $8 for children 10 and younger.

Regularly, the buffet is $14 for adults and $7 for children 10 and younger.

The Rib Room, which is preparing to celebrate its 60th anniversary, hasn't typically been open on Sundays so the 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. meal is something different. Messman says that it will give folks in the 46805 neighborhood who are looking to step up from the diner a place to enjoy a meal after church.

Beer, wine tasting tickets

Tickets go on sale for the annual Forks of the Wabash Uncorked event on May 19.

The event, which will take place rain or shine July 14, is hosted by Huntington Area Recreational Trails Association and the Historic Forks of the Wabash. Attendees will be treated to tastings of Indiana wines and beer from U.S. breweries from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at the Historic Forks of the Wabash Park in Huntington.

Food will be available from food trucks and Antiqology, which will also be selling craft soda. Live music and a silent auction will complete the evening.

Tickets are available at First Federal Savings Bank and Bottle & Keg locations in Huntington and online at www.harta-gotrails.org. The cost is $30 in advance and $35 the day of. The price includes a souvenir wine glass, three samples at each winery and brewery table, opportunity to purchase bottles and glasses, appetizers and access to food vendors and craft sodas.

Designated driver tickets, which are $10, are also available. The DD includes bottled water, appetizers and access to food vendors.

The night benefits development, maintenance, awareness of trails in Huntington County and the education, history and preservation of the Historic Forks of the Wabash.

The Dish features restaurant news and food events and appears Wednesdays. Fax news items to 461-8893, email kdupps@jg.net or call 461-8304.