It was just a Thursday night. For most of the city, it was not a particularly special evening. But for me, my best friend was visiting from Nebraska and I was showing her around town.
We made a stop for dinner, shopping and more shopping before deciding we needed dessert. The easy option was soft-serve, the quintessential summer treat, but then I remembered a place that would give her something new and unique in the area – Yummi Bunni.
And on that night, at a seemingly non-peak hour, we entered the West Main Street doors to find a line of people and tables full of happy ice cream eaters. There were grandparents with their grandchildren, parents with little ones in strollers and us – two ladies who are too old to be millennials but feel too young to be Gen Xers.
If you have been to Yummi Bunni in the six months since it opened, you probably aren't surprised. The shop that taught Fort Wayne that ice cream does in fact, belong between halves of a doughnut has proved to be popular among all ages and walks of life. Drive by on the way home from work and you can see people filing by. Pass it on a weekend and you will discover a line out the door.
On a weekday, the downtown lunch crowd clad in suits and heels try to open the doors – only to find them closed.
Makenna Click, owner of Yummi Bunni, says she is surprised – in a humbled way – by the way the city has received her shop. But it's what she pictured the experience to be.
On a recent afternoon, as Click strolled outside, she said that had she looked into a crystal ball when drawing up her business plan, she would have predicted the brisk business.
“It's a dream came true that they enjoy it as much as we wanted them to,” Click says. “To see (the concept) make sense to Fort Wayne has been great and reassuring.”
Part of her goal with opening Yummi Bunni was to appeal to the late-night crowd as Click didn't think there were enough options in the city. It's why the hours of the shop are 3 to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and noon to 1 a.m. Saturday.
“As a new business owner, you can't have everything at one time,” she says when asked about expanding hours. “In the first 12 months, we want to see what makes sense.”
Her goal, she says, is to be intentional about things she does, such as teaming up with local GK Baked Goods for a post-Mother's Day dessert: a churro ice cream treat. There are plans to continue the collaborations and Yummi Bunni fans might see GK items on a more regular basis.
Click is also exploring things that would satisfy the sweet cravings of folks with special dietary needs. A gluten-free bun (aka doughnut) is being tested but “we're not there yet,” she says, adding that Yummi Bunni does offer vegan ice cream.
As for the hours, there might be a change for summer, so stay tuned.
German fare back
After spending the weekend indulging in bratwurst, sauerkraut and fried pickles, fans of German food still have a reason to celebrate.
Chef Cornell Taubert, who owned Das Schnitzelhaus on West Main Street, is back in town and ready to get back into the restaurant business.
Old European Schnitzelhouse will likely open in late summer or early fall near East State Boulevard and Crescent Avenue. The goal is to be in the swing of business before Oktoberfest.
Taubert, who sat next to me as we judged desserts at Germanfest, says the restaurant will offer more parking and the interior looks more spacious than his previous location.
Taubert grew up in Germany but also has Hungraian heritage, and the new restaurant will play into that. Diners can expect to see goulash and chicken paprikash on the menu in addition to German favorites such as rouladen and Black Forest Cake. The name for the new restaurant reflects the wider culinary base, he says.
Das Schnitzelhaus closed nearly two years ago after opening in 2013. Taubert and his wife moved to Florida for a time for her work but have returned to the area.
Buffet for dads
The Lucky Moose, 622 E. Dupont Road, will have two buffets on Father's Day on Sunday. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., a brunch buffet will be available with omelets made to order, scrambled eggs, bacon, ham, sausage, biscuits and gravy, French toast, pancakes, dessert crepes, barbecue (possibly pork, chicken and brisket), shrimp, fried fish and a salad bar. Chocolate cake will also be available for dessert.
In the evening, from 4 to 8 p.m., a buffet with wings, pizza, pulled pork, fish, shrimp and salad will appeal to dads who don't want to barbecue. The restaurant will also rotate through chocolate cake and bread pudding.
Each buffet costs $11.11. Call 490-5765 for more information.
The Dish features restaurant news and food events and appears Wednesdays. Fax news items to 461-8893, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 461-8304.