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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, September 12, 2018 1:00 am

Cerulean shifting to broaden appeal

Kimberly Dupps Truesdell | For The Journal Gazette

It was the principles of community and communion, coming together over food and drinks, on which Cerulean was founded.

But since it opened 13 years ago, the restaurant at 1101 E. Canal St. in Winona Lake has gradually shifted toward a fine-dining experience, where diners could enjoy dishes such as Heartland Beef Tenderloin and Maple Leaf Duck Breast.

That – at least some of it – is about to change as Cerulean unveils a new menu, a new approach to dining and expanded hours today.

Cerulean will now be open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., serving a single menu for lunch and dinner. It's designed to appeal to a broader diner base, including people with children.

Owner Caleb France says that while the restaurant's revenues continued to rise, the team had to ask themselves, “Are we doing it through our original passion?”

So the team has latched onto things that have been popular and grew the updated menu from there. It includes an expanded selection of sushi and bento boxes, which allow customers to pair an entrée with a variety of sides to create their custom meal. There will also be ramen, steam buns and a full drink menu.

In addition to the updated menu, Cerulean will be renovating the Park Avenue side of the restaurant to create a space designed for families and larger groups. This space will feature an open feel, with booths and large tables. The Canal Street side of the restaurant will maintain its current look and feel, allowing a more formal setting for special occasions and business meals.

“We walk this fine line between pushing the envelope too much, which we've always done at Cerulean,” France says. “We're just excited. We're not scrapping the restaurant. We are building on what we already do.”

Local bar closed?

Something seems to be amiss at the Green Frog Inn, the neighborhood bar at the corner of Spring Street and Sherman Boulevard.

Rumors were circulating over the weekend that the watering hole had closed.

The phone number for the Green Frog has been disconnected, and all of the doors were locked Monday afternoon when they should have been open.

However, no signs have been posted on the doors – or elsewhere – indicating that it has closed.

Matt and Carrie Billings bought the Green Frog Inn in 2015 from Cindy Henry, wife of Mayor Tom Henry.

Landing brewery

Something new is brewing on The Landing.

Plans for a brewery and BBQ restaurant were recently announced for 118 Columbia St. – the former site of Flashbacks on The Landing.

Caleb France of Cerulean and Brendon Maxwell, who owns Utopian Coffee, have been collaborating more than two years on a restaurant concept for Fort Wayne.

Maxwell and The Model Group, the developer for The Landing, previously announced that Utopian Coffee, a local coffee roaster, will open its first retail coffee bar at The Landing.

According to France, work has already begun on the project. The demolition is complete and contractors are now starting the rebuild.

“The plan is to keep it all open,” France says. “We will punch out some of the walls to have an open view of the kitchen and the brewing system.”

In addition, the crew has opened up windows on the facade of the building to allow as much light in as possible.

“It won't be dark and industrial. It will be light and airy,” France says, adding that he wants to create a family-friendly atmosphere.

When the restaurant opens, which is expected to happen in 2019, it will serve dinner.

Maxwell's Utopian Cafe next door will be open for breakfast and lunch.

The Landing redevelopment project includes 70 new apartments as well as retail and office space.

CS3 menu lives

After shuttering the restaurant she owned more than 10 years, Donna Kessler has come up with a menu that combines what customers loved best at Calhoun Street Soups, Salads and Spirits and what she set out to do with D'lightfuls.

D'lightfuls, 1932 S. Calhoun St., opened this spring with a menu of smoothies, breakfast items, salads, sandwiches and baked goods that were healthy but also approachable.

But when she was unable to renew her lease across the street at CS3, Kessler said that she would add some of the signature items to the tea house and deli.

In addition to bringing the salad bar over to the space, diners can choose from the CS3 Club or a vegan flatbread. There's a BBQ chicken wrap and a seitan pizza wrap.

And on the same page as the smoothies are a list of side dishes, including pasta salad, coleslaw and macaroni and cheese.

Around town

• A new restaurant will expand dining options for vegans in the downtown area later this fall. Savery Vegan Grill (that spelling is correct, by the way) will offer vegan comfort food at 1122 Taylor St.

BurgerFi locations, including the store on Coldwater Road, will celebrate National Cheeseburger Day on Tuesday. The franchise will offer $1 BurgerFi Cheeseburgers, with the purchase of a BurgerFi Cheeseburger.

Customers must mention or show offer to redeem.

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