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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, December 06, 2017 1:00 am

Big changes to Bandidos' cocktail menu

Kimberly Dupps Truesdell | For The Journal Gazette

Made with grapefruit juice, Jarritos grapefruit soda and tequila and served in a clay pot, the new cocktail at Bandidos Mexican Restaurant is sure to create a buzz.

And that's exactly what the management staff is hoping for.

“We wanted something that we could call our signature and create a little fun and festivity as our guests come into the restaurant,” says Bruce Dodge, director of operations for the local restaurants.

The drink is 32 ounces and served in a pot that Bandidos found at an import store in Chicago.

Dodge says the Paloma should be something different than what's found on other local drink menus – “it's a really unique drink.”

The Paloma is just part of an overhaul of the Bandidos cocktail menu, which now includes a grande margarita, hand-squeezed margaritas with fresh lemon and lime juices and a Texas margarita.

The Texas margarita was designed in response to guests, who wanted more of a tequila flavor. Dodge says that in the Texas drink, the triple sec is removed and replaced with more tequila.

“It definitely added some zing,” says Dodge, who recently returned to the Bandidos family after working for Applebee's for the better part of the past two decades. He previously ran the Northcrest store in the mid-1990s.

The drink menu and change in upper management is all in a push to improve the guest experience. Owner Jimmie Schindler II has worked to improve the quality of the food over the past couple years, cutting veggies in house and making as many products from scratch as possible.

Now, Dodge says, the focus is on upgrading the front-of-the-house experience and lifting service.

Pizza anniversary

Nick Ford's family doesn't just like pizza – they love it. The Ford family is in its second and third generation of ownership of Lexy's Pizza – which was founded in 1957 by the late Lexy Demetroff and his wife, Caroline – and will celebrate the chain's 60th anniversary.

To mark the occasion, Lexy's Pizza will offer a special Tuesday at its three locations – 908 Spring St., 3031 W. Washington Center Road and 10346 Leo Road in Leo Crossing. Customers can buy one pizza and get one of equal or lesser value for 50 percent off (excludes deep dish).

“Fort Wayne has shown us nothing but love for 60 years, so this is our way to show appreciation for the support,” Nick Ford says.

Ford and his five siblings grew up in the pizza shop, which is known in part for its sauce made from a secret family recipe, and says that many of his family members are still involved in the business.

“Growing up there helped my family form a tight knit bond and that goes for the employees as well,” he says. “When you're here, you are family.” 

German on hold

It appears that Chef Cornell Taubert's plans to open a German restaurant on the east side of the city have fallen through.

I wrote in June that the owner of Das Schnitzelhaus, which was on West Main Street and closed in 2015, was planning to begin serving German fare out of a space near Crescent Avenue and East State Boulevard. The goal was to open in October. However, the location did not work out and plans are on hold.

Ragin' takes roost

Continuing the tradition of food trucks establishing more permanent digs, John Maxwell is setting up shop in the Chapman's Tap Room in Columbia City.

Maxwell is serving the Creole favorites found on his food truck Ragin' Cajun. Guests can order dishes such as jambalaya and po' boys at the back counter.

There will also be New Orleans twists on bar standards such as blackened shrimp tacos and blackened steak salads. Maxwell says he plans to give dishes an Indiana flair with Ossian smoked bacon crumbled on top.

Hours are 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Sol/Bird update

Speaking of food trucks and restaurants, work is continuing on the Sol Kitchen-Birdboy Brewing collaboration.

Sol Kitchen recently posted photos of newly painted walls and interior work in the space on Dupont Road near Lima Road. No word on when Sol/Bird will open.

Buffet back in biz

The Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health gave the green light for Fujiyama Buffet, 285 Coliseum Blvd E., to reopen after the restaurant was red tagged for pests.

The health department received a complaint of live pests last week and after a follow-up Thursday, the restaurant was shut down.

But a follow-up inspection conducted just a day later showed the restaurant management had completed all items required for reopening. The health department approved the restaurant to operate and accept deliveries.

Another follow-up inspection Monday showed no evidence of live pests.

According to the report, “The inspector will return for a follow-up inspection in 1 week. If any live, dead, or dying pests are observed upon follow-up, the establishment may be CLOSED.”

BakerStreet series

BakerStreet Steakhouse has announced the dates for its 2018 dinner series.

The 4820 Dinner Series includes a menu created by the chef paired with carefully selected wines, beer or spirits.

The dinners, which require reservations and often sell out, will be March 5, April 23, June 4, July 16, Aug. 27 and Oct. 15.

The dates for the patio dinner series will be June 10, July 22 and Aug. 19.

Land-sea combos

LongHorn Steakhouse recently introduced three new dishes for its menu.

Offering three takes on the classic surf and turf, LongHorn is now serving a Crab Cake Filet that features a center-cut filet topped with a baked lump crab cake and lump crab meat, finished with a lemon-garlic cream sauce. Flo's Filet and Citrus Grilled Lobster Tail includes a filet and fire-grilled cold-water lobster tail drizzled with citrus butter, as well as Flo's Filet and Lobster Tail with a filet and choice of grilled or crispy cold-water lobster tail.

The Nashville Hot Chicken has hand-breaded fried chicken breasts that are finished with a housemade sweet and spicy honey sauce and topped with pickles. Also added to the menu are Fried Pickles Bold Bites.

LongHorn has one restaurant in Fort Wayne, just off Lima Road near Costco.

Around town

Pho Indy, 4634 Coldwater Road, is now open for business. The Vietnamese restaurant is in the former Baan Thai space in the JoAnn Fabrics plaza.

• A rep from Samuel Adams will be at Dicky's Wild Hare on Dec. 14, starting at 5 p.m. Seasonal beers will be available, as well as some swag.

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.