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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, April 17, 2019 1:00 am

Auburn Tap Room getting spring update

Kimberly Dupps Truesdell | For The Journal Gazette

It's the season of change, and Mad Anthony Brewing Co.'s Auburn Tap Room is getting a new look for spring.

The pub, which opened in downtown Auburn in 2002, closed after business hours Sunday for the project.

Josh Volz, marketing manager for Mad Anthony Brewing, says the pub will get new seating (and new seating layout), flooring and lighting and a new bar. More beer taps will be added as well.

“We're making improvements to the pub that will continue our quality food and service well in to the future,” Mad Anthony Brewing said in an email.

According to Volz, the renovations will take place this week and the pub should reopen next week.

“We're confident in the construction teams to be able to finish in a timely manner, but there's always a chance for delays (although none happening at this point),” he says. “It's best to stay tuned to our Facebook page for updates.”

The Auburn Tap Room's renovation is the second major project for Mad Anthony Brewing, which remodeled its flagship restaurant last year. Volz says they have updated the locations in order of opening dates.

Mad Anthony Brewing made news this winter with its application for a permit to open a Shigs In Pit location in southwest Fort Wayne. There's not much to report on the location right now, he says.

“We're still in the development stage with our contractors and hope to have more info in the next month or so,” Volz says.

Zinnia's taking orders

Zinnia's Bakehouse, 236 E. Wayne St., is preparing for a busy week with Easter on Sunday.

The bakery, which recently moved from East State Boulevard to East Wayne Street, is taking orders for seasonal favorites such as hot cross buns and challah.

Krystal Vega says there will be extras on hand but customers are encouraged to order in advance.

There will also be baguettes, dill loaf and other items depending on requests and baker's choice, of course. Call 483-4765 to place any orders.

Interested in other Easter treats? Enjoy these Easter and springtime menu items while you can.

• Baskin-Robbins has a Bunny Face cake and the Speckled Egg cake.

• Celebrate spring at Panera with frosted Tulip cookies.

• Special spring menu items at Starbucks include the Cloud Macchiato, Matcha Green Tea Latte and Lemon Cake Pops.

• Through Easter, enjoy the seasonal Cadbury Mini Eggs doughnut at Tim Hortons. It's a doughnut topped with white fondant, green sprinkles and three Cadbury Mini Eggs.

Restaurant report

In my column last week, I shared how local restaurants are growing their menus to fit health-conscious diners.

Well, the National Restaurant Association's State of the Industry report shows that “eight in 10 say their customers are paying more attention to the nutrition content of their food than they did two years ago.”

The report was released the same day as the column, and it delves into how restaurants look and operate in 2019. The findings continue to support what local restaurant owners have said, while other things are a bit surprising.

Here are the highlights:

• Hiring continues to be an issue. Just drive around Fort Wayne and you'll see “now hiring” signs at many restaurants. According to the report, 35% of restaurant owners have positions that are difficult to fill. A shrinking teen workforce is partly to blame, but so is the prolonged economic expansion.

“Older employees are becoming an increasingly important labor source: The number of adults age 55 or older working in the restaurant industry jumped 70% from 2007 to 2018 – an increase of 400,000 people,” the report says.

• Social media marketing, self-order kiosks, tablets at the table and other technology will continue to grow in response to the demands of tech-savvy diners.

• Millennials will be a driving force in how restaurants adapt to the changing market – just read that last item. But the generation is also looking for restaurants that deliver, more breakfast options and ways to incorporate restaurant-made items into a meal served at home.

• Think CBD is already everywhere? Think again. The report says CBD could be the next big food trend, with chefs using it in dishes.

Around town

Masters Hand BBQ has opened in the food court in Glenbrook Square. The family-owned barbecue restaurant, which once had a storefront in Jefferson Pointe, has pulled pork, barbecue meatloaf and nachos among other dishes. Masters Hand is no stranger to the mall, often setting up shop to sell rubs and sauces during the holidays.

• On May 2, Culver's will host its Scoops of Thanks Day, which will go to local agricultural education efforts. Guests can stop by Culver's, donate $1 to agricultural education and receive a single scoop of fresh frozen custard. Since the first Scoops of Thanks day in 2015, Culver's has donated more than $230,000 from the fundraiser to agricultural organizations.

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 at least two weeks before event or desired publication.