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The Journal Gazette

  • Toscani Pizzeria will close June 10. The downtown space will reopen several weeks later as Caliente Cuban Cafe. (Corey McMaken | The Journal Gazette)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 1:00 am

Goodbye Toscani; hello second Caliente

Kimberly Dupps Truesdell | For The Journal Gazette

They say when one door closes, another one opens, and in the growing downtown dining scene, truer words could not be spoken.

Such is the case with 120 W. Wayne St.

For more than 11 years, the address has been home to Toscani Pizzeria, owned and operated by Mike and Julie Harris. But on June 10, they will make the last of their specialty pizza pies and pastas.

Three weeks later, if all goes to plan, the doors will reopen with a new set of owners, name and cuisine as local Cuban restaurant Caliente opens a second eatery.

Nestor Rodriguez, who will manage the new Caliente Cuban Cafe, says his family has been looking for four years to open another restaurant. When they were approached with the opportunity to make a move downtown, they went for it.

“We tried really hard to get something downtown because … it's something I wanted to get into before it's too late,” he says. “We're so happy. (The area) is growing every day.”

Caliente, which opened eight years ago, is known for its Cuban sandwiches made with roasted pork, chicken and shredded beef. Rodriguez calls it a Mom and Pop shop, still operated by his parents, Gustavo Rodriguez and Yalili Mesa. Mesa makes the menu items, including the bread, from scratch.

Mesa will continue cooking at the East State Boulevard restaurant, and Gustavo Rodriguez will head downtown when the new spot opens.

Coming downtown with him will be the Po' Boy sandwiches introduced to the Caliente menu this year. The family is upgrading the space to accommodate a full kitchen, allowing them to make more complicated and entrée-style dishes.

Nestor Rodriguez says his father recently made a trip to Chicago to make personal connections with suppliers and came home with swordfish. The firm and mildly sweet fish will be pickled over several weeks and appear on the new menu as escabeche.

Gustavo Rodriguez and Yalili are still working on other menu items for the downtown spot.

Hours have not been set, but Nestor Rodriguez anticipates that the new location will be open for lunch and dinner. The East State restaurant might see reduced hours so the family can travel between locations.

Toscani might not be finished, though. Mike Harris says the closure is not what he and his wife want and they hope to find a new location. The couple announced the decision Monday night on the restaurant's Facebook page and sent a written statement.

“We greatly appreciate the love and support our customers have shown and hope you will visit us before we close,” the couple says in the statement.

Girl Scouts trucks

Fridays just got a bit tastier on the north side of town.

For the fifth year, Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana-Michiana will be hosting food trucks from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its 10008 Dupont Circle Drive E. office, just behind Dupont Hospital.

Food trucks may vary, but will include Pizza Diva, Bravas, Affine, iGrandma's, Sol Kitchen, Whip & Chill, Pizza Bomba and Vietnummy. The lineup will be updated on the Girl Scout council's website,

After school ends in May, Girl Scout troops set up their lemonade stand with the food trucks and get a taste of competition, learn from others and hone their entrepreneurial skills.

Participating troops choose how to use the money they earn – for a trip, camp or community project.

Trubble additions

With a branded wooden paddle in one hand and a beer in another, Trubble Brewing announced on social media that something new is coming soon.

The brewery and restaurant that serves dishes such as Dad Bod (french fries with beer cheese sauce and an egg) and Kale-A-Fornia (a kale salad with carrot and cumin seeds) has expanded into brunch and lunch since it opened in 2015 in the old Chappell's restaurant at 2723 Broadway.

Now, Chad Hankee and his crew are setting their sights on pizza to be served late at night. After all, what goes better with beer than pizza? There is still testing and tasting to do, but the pies could be on the menu in a month or so.

Trubble will release a new brew the first week of August for its Fernando Tarango music night. The Habitual Line Stepper is an IPA.

Lounge open

Craft cocktail lounge HT2 had its grand opening Tuesday.

HT2 is owned by Wolf Lake native Nick Ladig and features liquor produced by friend Travis Barnes, who operates the Hotel Tango distillery in Indianapolis.

In addition to cocktails, beer and wine, the lounge will offer a limited menu including muffaletta sandwich wedges, pickled shrimp and sweets from Hetty Arts Pastry. A list of beverages and menu items is available at

The bar at 10212 Chestnut Plaza Drive near Sycamore Hills Golf Club will be open from 2 to 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and noon to midnight Friday and Saturday, according to its Facebook page.

Corey McMaken of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

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