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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, March 28, 2018 1:00 am

'Big Rick' rolling out truck, restaurant

Kimberly Dupps Truesdell | For The Journal Gazette

Rickey Jordan is taking a leap of faith.

The barbecue pit master, who created a legion of fans when he operated Big Rick's BBQ on Hobson Road, is back in the restaurant business with a new venture – and food truck.

Thanks to a pair of business partners, the mobile unit of Big Rick's Smokehaus is set to hit the streets this week, and a brick-and-mortar location in downtown New Haven will open in time for Canal Days in early June.

When Big Rick's on Hobson Road closed in November 2016, Jordan wasn't sure whether he would operate another restaurant. He was happy to have found a home smoking meats and creating barbecue at the Acme on East State Boulevard.

But a persistent customer with a business partner gave Jordan an opportunity he couldn't turn down. Jordan, along with Ted Raney and Jason Voelck, found a truck complete with smoker and then the former Carousel Ice Cream location.

The restaurant at 717 Broadway St. in New Haven will serve the traditional barbecue items that snagged fans – wings, ribs, brisket, rib tips. On the food truck, there will be big barbecue flavor with a twist. Jordan will debut a chicken and waffles dish with the waffle made with cornmeal, as well as a barbecue-style poutine.

There will also be the ability to do fried, appetizer-style dishes – something he wasn't able to do before.

Jordan says he is particularly excited about releasing the chicken and waffles, and he says he will see what customers respond to. Customers can find out where the truck will be on its Facebook page.

Conjure on list

Food & Wine magazine says there is no better time to be a coffee drinker (although if you ask me, it has always been a good time to drink coffee).

The magazine says that the coffee scene has seen a “cosmic transformation” and, with it, brought elevated coffee to every part of the country.

To celebrate, it created a list of the best coffee spots in the country and Conjure Coffee, 701 Columbia Ave., was the pick for Indiana. The magazine cites owner Corey Waldron when talking about the roaster/cafe operation. Waldron was a founding partner in Modbar, a high-tech espresso system that is manufactured in Fort Wayne.

Veg'n Brew Fest

Fort Wayne Veg'n Brew Fest will host a fundraiser at 816 Pint & Slice from 5 to 9 p.m. April 14.

The restaurant at 816 S. Calhoun St. will donate 10 percent of the proceeds to the nonprofit festival, which will host its inaugural event Oct. 6 at Headwaters Park.

During the event, Pint & Slice will serve two specialty vegan pizzas by the slice, a first for the restaurant. You can also order off their entire menu, including their everyday vegan options, which include create-your-own pizza and calzones with vegan cheese and many of the pasta dishes.

Easy sub ordering

Penn Station East Coast Subs, the fast-casual restaurant known for its grilled sub sandwiches, lemonade and fresh-cut fries, has added online ordering to its app, mobile website and desktop website.

With the new online ordering feature, customers can browse the menu, place their order and pay via the app, which is available for Android and iOS. Then, they simply pick up their food at the restaurant without having to pay at the register.

Olive Garden adds

Olive Garden is adding four dishes to its menu next week as part of its Big Italian Classics promotion.

Debuting Monday, the Giant Meatball & Four Cheese Manicotti features a 12-ounce Italian meatball on top of a portion of manicotti filled with four cheeses, topped with homemade marinara and Alfredo sauces starting at $17.99. The meatballs are hand-prepared, so limited quantities are available daily. The Giant Manicotti with Meat Sauce is also available starting at $12.99.

Fun fact: The weight of the jumbo meatball is equivalent to six tennis balls.

The Stuffed Fettuccine Alfredo features large fettuccine pasta stuffed with four Italian cheeses and topped with Alfredo sauce, starting at $14.49. Also available is the Stuffed Fettuccine Alfredo with Grilled Chicken (starting at $16.49) or Shrimp (starting at $18.99).

Around town

• Sweet Monster Ice Cream, 6421 Lima Road, celebrated its grand opening over the weekend. The shop, which serves Thai-style rolled ice cream, is open from noon to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; noon to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Umi Fort Wayne debuted its spring features menu this week. The sushi restaurant, 2912 Getz Road, will be showcasing dishes such as taco flights, tuna tataki and spicy albacore tuna.

Skyline Chili, 4021 Ice Way, will celebrate the Cincinnati Reds' opening day with free coney day. On Thursday, customers can receive one free coney per visit with the purchase of a drink.

Master's Hand BBQ at Jefferson Pointe has closed.

Easter brunch 

Oyster Bar, 1830 S Calhoun St., will have a traditional menu brunch with a variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner items on Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Reservations are recommended for the Easter brunch; call 744-9490.


Because of a reporting error, an item in last week's Dish was incorrect. Don Hall's Triangle Park will be open with its dinner menu from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday for Easter. A brunch menu will be available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Also, an Ossian ham meal will be served for $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and $6 for children.

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