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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, May 22, 2019 1:00 am

General manager exiting BakerStreet

Kimberly Dupps Truesdell | For The Journal Gazette

James Bashir A. Khan is returning to his roots.

The managing partner of three of the city's most popular restaurants – BakerStreet Steakhouse, The Hoppy Gnome and Proximo – will soon take over the day-to-day operations of the steakhouse.

BakerStreet general manager Lysa Pelkington, who started at the upscale steak restaurant in 2008, is stepping down to spend more time with her family, according to an email sent to BakerStreet newsletter subscribers. Pelkington had worked her way up from server to management at BakerStreet before partnering with Khan to buy the North Clinton Street restaurant in 2014.

“After much consideration, and in order to enjoy more time with my children, I have decided to pursue new opportunities and adventures,” Pelkington says in the email.

In addition to leaving the management role, she will no longer be a partner in the restaurant. Her last day at BakerStreet will be May 31.

Khan says he and Pelkington had been discussing the transition for more than a year and a half. Although he had hoped to have a new general manager by this time, he's looking forward to assuming the responsibilities.

The entrepreneur has been a hands-on leader, one who will roll up his sleeves to wash dishes, deliver food or make a drink.

“I do not anticipate any real deviation from what we have done over the last 10 years, as BakerStreet is always something I have been actively involved in, either weekly (for the last 31/2 years) or daily (the first 61/2 years),” Khan says. His holdings also include Gnometown Brewing.

Khan got his start in restaurants at Biaggi's, working as a food runner and server before moving to management.

Portillo's official

Portillo's has officially announced it is bringing its menu of iconic Chicago-style favorites to Fort Wayne.

The Fort Wayne restaurant joins the brand's largest market outside of Chicagoland, with five other Portillo's concepts in the Hoosier State (Avon, Indianapolis, Fishers, Merrillville and Mishawaka).

The restaurant, which is expected to open in late 2019, will be near Glenbrook Square at Coliseum Boulevard West and Speedway Drive.

“Portillo's is excited to expand to northeast Indiana's booming retail and economic hub,” said Michael Osanloo, CEO of Portillo's. “Indiana has become a second home to our brand, and we look forward to joining the Fort Wayne community.”

The menu features Chicago-style hot dogs, Italian beef, char-grilled burgers, fresh salads and Portillo's Famous Chocolate Cake.

The 7,800-square-foot restaurant will include seating for more than 190, a seasonal outdoor patio with seating for 48, draft beer, a double drive-thru and adjacent parking lot. The restaurant will feature a diner-themed interior, drawing décor inspiration from the 1950s and 1960s.

Fans can sign up at portillos.com/fortwayne for a chance to attend a sneak peek meal before the opening. They will also receive updates on Portillo's Fort Wayne development.

Geek move update

Sweets So Geek has shared some more details about its upcoming move.

The bakery will move into 6722 E. State Blvd., next door to Tangles Salon & Spa, directly across from the Georgetown branch of the Allen County Public Library. The new space will be larger, affording Chad Seewald and his team the chance to take on more orders.

Seewald hopes to have a grand opening celebration June 1, assuming inspections are complete. If not, he will still host an open house that day to show off the space.

“I wish we could stay on North Anthony but I'm looking forward to expanding and growing,” he says. “Though it'd be wonderful to have Hermoine's time-turner from Harry Potter to make getting it all done easier. But it will all be worth it when we're done.”

The going-away sale at its current location, 3410 N. Anthony Blvd., will be this weekend, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. There will be a sale on in-stock items and some special items, as well as special projects to help make the new space special.

The business is hiring another baker and several servers for the new location. Go to its Facebook page for information on how to apply.

Grilling hotline

The Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and LongHorn Steakhouse is again opening its GRILL US Hotline.

The public can get expert advice from one of LongHorn's expert Grill Masters at 1-855-LH-GRILL from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday.

The Grill Masters will be able to recommend the perfect cut of steak, guide at-home grillers through techniques for any cut of meat and navigate through tricky grilling scenarios.

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.