BJ’s Brewhouse is set to open its doors in just a few weeks.
The California chain, which as more than 190 restaurants, will begin service at 11 a.m. April 10 at the 245 Coliseum Blvd. W. restaurant. There will be a reservations-only soft opening the week prior.
Hours of operation will be 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
The Fort Wayne restaurant, just in front of Glenbrook Square, will be one of four BJ’s to open this year. BJ’s operates casual dining restaurants in 24 states under the BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery, BJ’s Pizza & Grill and BJ’s Grill brand names.
Known for an extensive menu, the restaurant serves deep-dish pizza, salads, appetizers, sandwiches, soups, pastas, entrees and desserts, including the Pizookie dessert, which is a large cookie in a variety of flavors.
The restaurant will seat about 270 people.
Golden chefs don’t make Beard cut
The James Beard Foundation recently whittled its list of regional nominees for best chef to five finalists.
Aaron Butts and Sean Richardson of The Golden were co-nominated as semifinalists for the award but did not advance. Still, the nomination was a coup for the chefs as their downtown restaurant is less than a year old and they were the only chefs from the city to make the list.
Butts had also been a semifinalist for the award in 2011 when he was executive chef at Joseph Decuis.
The James Beard finalists for the Great Lakes region, which includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, are all from Chicago.
DeBrand Fine Chocolates will host public tours over spring break.
From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 4 and April 6, guests can get a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the gourmet chocolates at the 10105 Auburn Park Drive location. Tours will begin every half-hour and last about 35 to 45 minutes.
Chocolate samples will be offered along the way while guided videos explain the different processes which take place in each of the chocolate-making kitchens.
Tours are $5 a person, with each guest receiving a $5 rebate off a purchase of $10 or more, combinable for extra savings. No minimum group size or reservations are required.
Don Hall’s Guesthouse, 1313 W. Washington Center Road, will be hosting an Easter buffet April 16.
Reservations will be available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with seating in the restaurant and Grand Ballroom.
The buffet will feature prime rib, hickory ham, pecan chicken, penne, white fish, red potatoes, an egg frittata Lorraine, red potatoes, assorted vegetables and salad, pastries and desserts.
The Easter bunny will also be on hand for visits and photos.
The cost is $22.95 for adults and $7.95 for children ages 3 to 10. Call 209-5366 for reservations.
Through May 21, participating Subway restaurants in Indiana will be a part of the "Buy a Hero, Be a Hero" campaign.
During the promotion, customers are encouraged to purchase the new Italian Hero sub. For every Italian Hero sold at participating restaurant locations, Subway will donate 10 percent of the purchase price to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Participating Subways have collectively committed to a total maximum donation of $29,500.
Customers can also donate directly to the cause at any participating restaurant until May 21.
Q. Great update last week about Skyline Chili’s progress in opening a restaurant here in the Fort. Do you ever see the iconic White Castle Hamburgers following in the same way? I grew up in Detroit having them all around and yet when I relocated to Fort Wayne in 1980 there were none. It always perplexed me that they were in (Indianapolis), Anderson, and other places south of here yet Fort Wayne, the second largest city in the state has never had any. It would seem a metro area this large would be able to support at least one location. – Dave Sedestrom
A. Good question! As a Cincinnati native, I, too, grew up with White Castle. The fast-food chain is 100 years old and the country’s oldest burger restaurant. In recent years, according to a 2014 Forbes article, the restaurant has struggled to keep up in the ever-changing market and its efforts to stay relevant (such as tacos) have flopped. The White Castle website does say that it is looking to expand but within its current operating areas. While I’m no expert, I’m guessing it would take a dedicated person with a lot of money to bring it here.
Q. Any rumors of P.F. Chang’s coming to Fort Wayne? – Brian Armstrong
A. There are always rumors about P.F. Chang’s coming to the city. When I began this column several years ago, it was one of the first things I looked into. When I did, I got an underwhelming email that basically said "thanks for your interest, but no." Of course, the rumors have persisted and I heard months ago that a location near the hospitals on Dupont Road was in the works but very hush-hush. Well, it was so hush-hush that I haven’t heard anything from the company or anyone since.
Q. I’m an avid reader of The Dish, and I was wondering if you have heard anything about Jason’s Deli coming to the Fort Wayne market? I have been to Jason’s in Florida and (Indianapolis) and love their salad bar and giant deli sandwiches. I would love to see a franchise here. – Bob Smith
A. The Texas fast casual chain has 260 delis in 29 states, with three locations in Indiana. Last year, it ranked No 42 on a list of the top 50 most profitable restaurant chains in the fast-casual category for its 2015 sales, according to QSR Magazines. The ranking was based on average sales per location.
With the fast-casual sector being one of the few restaurant categories seeing growth, I wouldn’t say that it would never come here. In fact, the upcoming addition of Potbelly Sandwich Shop to the market will be a good gauge as to whether the market can support more business in that category.
Meals for Mom
Do you have a favorite meal tradition for Mother’s Day? We want to hear about it for an upcoming story.
Send your recipe or restaurant ideas to assistant features editor Corey McMaken at The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, Ind., 46802 or email firstname.lastname@example.org by April 26.
The Dish features restaurant news and food events and appears Wednesdays. Fax news items to 461-8893, email email@example.com or call 461-8304.