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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, April 04, 2018 1:00 am

Food trucks forge ahead despite weather

Kimberly Dupps Truesdell | For The Journal Gazette

I am not sure who started it but there was a rumor going around that spring had arrived. I'm not sure I quite believe it as my 6-year-old chided me for buying shorts to wear on Easter, and I was anxious about flight delays for our spring break trip because of snow.

Yep. That four-letter word, which is not supposed to hinder spring break plans.

But as much as I kid, there is a sign that warmer days are ahead – food trucks are rolling out.

As I wrote last week, Rickey Jordan debuted his mobile unit Big Rick's Smokehaus over the weekend (even though it was delayed a day because of less than ideal conditions).

Peace Lutheran Church, at Fairfield and Pettit avenues, is advertising that its food truck Thursdays are coming back.

Area wineries are booking the trucks, as well, which are always a favorite for folks around town.

Head2Hock, which recently partnered with Seven Son to make bone broth, will be at Byler Lane Winery in Auburn on Saturday, Country Heritage in LaOtto on April 14 and Tippy Creek Winery in Leesburg on April 21.

Affine has several events planned this month at Two EE's Winery in Huntington, including the popular Sunday brunches. Look for those on April 22 and April 29.

As opening day nears for its brick-and-mortar spot, Sol Kitchen is also hitting the wineries with an event at Country Heritage on Saturday.

And one of the originals, Bravas, will participate in Record Store Day on April 21 at Neat Neat Neat Records and Music. It will serve up breakfast and lunch dogs outside the shop on Calhoun Street.

Of course, we might still have some time before we line up downtown but these stops are a good start.

Vietnummy for sale

In other food truck news, Vietnummy has announced that it is up for sale.

The food truck, which won best Asian food truck in 2016 from Mobile-Cuisine.com, hit the scene in 2015 and treated fans to Vietnamese fare such as banh mi sandwiches and rice bowls.

Operator Jennifer Watts hopes that someone (or a group of someones) will take over the business and keep serving up her recipes. The sale will include the trademarked name, truck, kitchen equipment and recipes among other things.

Watts says she is selling the business to travel and spend more time with family. 

“Owning a mobile food business has been extremely rewarding and it is with a bit of melancholy that I am giving it up,” she says. “We have spent years developing a brand and product that make us very proud.”

Liberty's features

If you have ever been to Liberty Diner, the restaurant at Goshen Road and Coliseum Boulevard West, you know that the word “small” is not really in its vocabulary.

From the expansive menu featuring Mediterranean and American fare to the hefty portions, the diner has made a name for itself with Souvlaki chicken, French onion soup and pork chops.

The diner, which just recently finished a roof renovation and plans more work this year, is unrolling a menu of dinner features. Eighteen of them, to be exact.

Available from 4 to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, the dinner specials include entree, a cup of soup and choice of one of three desserts for $8.99.

There are also 10 early-bird breakfast specials available between 5:30 and 8:30 a.m. for $5.25.

New diner to open

Featuring a menu of diner classics, Metro Diner will open its first location in Fort Wayne on Tuesday.

The Florida-based franchise that was featured on an episode of “Diners, Drive-In's and Dives” will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner at the 4,040-square-foot eatery at 5525 Coldwater Road in Coldwater Crossing.

“Guests feel at home when they come to Metro Diner because we welcome them as if they are coming to our own house,” Fort Wayne Metro Diner managing partner Richard Cieslinski says. “Metro Diner is known as the place where 'the locals eat,' and we hope to be the new go-to destination where our Fort Wayne diners turn into regulars.”

From fried chicken and waffles topped with house-made strawberry butter and signature sweet and spicy sauce to Charleston Shrimp & Grits, the diner is known for large portion sizes. The diner also features daily blackboard specials,

The restaurant will begin serving the Fort Wayne community with pre-opening charity events. On Saturday, all donations will benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana. On Sunday, donations will benefit the Franciscan Brothers Minor, an organization that supports the local community through their altruism and religious services, helping the homeless and underprivileged children.

Reservations can be made for the fundraisers from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. or 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. by calling the charity reservation line at 260-543-4066.

The diner will be able to seat 130 guests and will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays.

Down to one

Spring is looking a little different for Tom Drummond.

The ice cream maker, who began with Carousel Ice Cream in downtown New Haven and expanded to a shop on East State Boulevard and one in West Central, will be opening just one set of doors this season.

The West Central Microcreamery, 725 Union St., will open between April 20 and April 27, depending on the weather.

The shop in New Haven has closed, and there will be new owners for the place on East State Boulevard near Parkview Hospital Randallia. In the past, Drummond had a partner for the microcreamery but will be operating solo this season.

He doesn't know how the East State store will operate but it will have a new name.

Grubhub grows

Grubhub Delivery expanded its food delivery service in Fort Wayne this week. Grubhub drivers will now deliver food from local restaurants instead of restaurants providing drivers. The move will allow more local restaurants to deliver through the service's apps or website, Grubhub.com. 

Shigs In Pit, Nori Asian Fusion and Red Robin are among local restaurants that can customers can order from. The code FTWAYNEFREE can be used to get free delivery through April 26.

The local market is among 34 that began expanded delivery operations on Tuesday.

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.