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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, April 25, 2018 1:00 am

Restaurateur bringing soul food to Decatur

Kimberly Dupps Truesdell | For The Journal Gazette

Restaurateur Mark Graves made a name for himself when he operated the upscale Marko's on 2nd in Decatur.

But he's been relatively quiet since the restaurant closed. That's all about to change as he prepares to open another spot in downtown Decatur.

Renovations to the building and kitchen upgrades should begin in the next few weeks for Soul Pig BBQ at 135 S. 2nd St. Graves is aiming for a late summer/early fall opening.

He is working with former Marko's dining room manager Chad Silva on the project. Both had been working in other industries.

“It was a nice break, but we are ready to get back to it!” Graves says of getting back into the restaurant business.

Graves says he is returning to his Southern roots with the restaurant, which promises to serve barbecue, soul food and craft burgers.

Soul Pig's logo promises that it will also be a “drinkery.” The bar will feature craft beer and adult beverages with a signature infused moonshine.

Graves hopes the restaurant becomes a place for the community to gather for some Southern hospitality.

“We want Soul Pig to be a place you can bring your family as well hang out with your friends,” he says.

Distillery awarded

Three Rivers Distilling Co. recently added three medals to its trophy case from national and international level competitions.

The Three Rivers Coffee Liqueur earned a silver medal at the 2018 San Diego Distilled Spirits and Cocktail Competition, and a bronze at the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The Franklin B. Rye Whiskey earned a bronze medal from the American Distilling Institute's 12th annual Craft Spirits Competition.

The distillery uses coffee from Utopian Coffee Co. in Fort Wayne to make the award-winning Three Rivers Coffee Liqueur.

The Three Rivers Coffee Liqueur medals were earned in international competitions that have seen record-breaking participation. The San Francisco competition had more than 2,200 entries, the largest number in its 18-year history.

Uncorked event

The Huntington Area Recreational Trails Association and Historic Forks of the Wabash have announced the date for its annual Forks of the Wabash Uncorked event.

The wine and beer tasting event will be July 13 – rain or shine – and it will feature products from Indiana wineries and U.S. breweries. Local food trucks will also be there with plenty of food options available for purchase.

Sampling tickets, which cost $30 in advance, include a souvenir wine glass and tasting program, sample selections at each winery and brewery table, opportunity to purchase bottles and glasses from your favorites, appetizers, live music, silent auction and access to food vendors. A designated driver ticket, which costs $10, includes live music, silent auction, non-alcoholic beverages and access to food vendors.

Tickets go on sale May 19 and will be available at First Federal Savings Bank's Huntington locations, Bottle & Keg in Roanoke and online at Eventbrite.com.

The event benefits the development, maintenance, awareness of trails in Huntington County and the education, history and preservation of the Historic Forks of the Wabash.

Wine debut

Auburn City Steakhouse opened its doors to the public this week and debuted a signature red wine blend commissioned from Satek Winery in Fremont.

The Auburn City Steakhouse red, a near 50/50 mixture of California and Indiana grapes (and almost half of those from DeKalb County), recently won a Silver Medal at the 2018 Finger Lakes Wine Competition in New York.

Steakhouse owner Bob Lebamoff wanted a unique wine that would pair well with the menu, including the prime rib that his father was known for at the Elegant Farmer. He reached out to Satek Winery “because of their experience and dedication to Indiana wines.”

Auburn City Steakhouse, 203 Main St. in Auburn, is open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday; and 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

Cupcakes on sale

The local franchise of Wicked Good Cupcakes is ready to start serving supersized sweet treats out of its food truck.

Owned by Sandi Gratz-Bubb and Amber Quinn-Elliott, a mother-daughter duo, the truck will be at Memorial Coliseum on Friday for Tapestry, A Day for Women, which features Jane Seymour. There are also plans to be at the Three Rivers Festival this summer.

For more information about where to find the food truck, go to www.wickedgoodcupcakes.com/fortwayne.

Gratz-Bubb and Quinn-Elliott have worked together since Amber was 16 and have owned several businesses together over the years. They saw the business model featured on “Shark Tank” and applied to be a franchise.

From more than 200 applicants, they were chosen as the first franchise.

Around town

• Trevor Scovel of Wine Down will be competing in the World Class Bartender National Finals in Las Vegas after placing well at the Midwest Regional Final on April 17. Akin to the Olympics of the bartending world, only three of 12 competitors from the Midwest Regional move on to the finals in Las Vegas.

• Sunday brunch is back at 07 Pub, 3516 Broadway. With a menu of favorites such as chicken and waffles, biscuits and gravy and mimosas, brunch will be available noon to 4 p.m. Sundays beginning this week.

Rise'n Roll's shop at 511 E. Dupont Road will have its grand opening May 18 with doors opening at 6:30 a.m. The first person in line will win a dozen cinnamon caramel doughnuts every week for a year, according to a Facebook event page for the opening. Customers 2 through 25in line will win a dozen cinnamon caramel doughnuts every month for a year, and customers 26 through 100 in line will get a free cinnamon caramel doughnut that day.

Lindi's, the new downtown restaurant by former Deli 620 owner Lindi Miller, is officially open at 256 W. Main St.

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.