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The Journal Gazette

  • Corey McMaken | The Journal Gazette Main Street Bistro in downtown Fort Wayne will soon be known as Park Place again.

  • Courtesy Jeff Grothouse is opening the city’s first Skyline Chili location at 4037 Ice Way.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 10:02 pm

Downtown bistro adopting former name

Kimberly Dupps Truesdell | For The Journal Gazette

Bill Bean is not messing around.

The Fort Wayne businessman, who recently assumed full ownership of the Main Street Bistro and Martini Lounge, has expanded the restaurant’s hours, brought in a new chef and corporate restaurant team and is now making another change.

The 200 E. Main St. spot will return to its former name, Park Place, according to Brian Shreffler, who has worked as an executive chef at Chop’s, Chop’s Wine Bar and Hideout 125. He was also a partner in Hideout 125 but sold his share after suffering a back injury.

"Park Place is a name that tells everyone what we want to do with (the restaurant)," Shreffler says, adding that there is a certain amount of nostalgia associated with Park Place. It was a restaurant where people had first dates, got engaged, celebrated family milestones.

Shreffler has been brought in to oversee Bean’s food and beverage interests – among which is the former Bar 145 and the Spy Run Avenue property that was once Bill’s Bistro.

The Toledo-based Bar 145’s North Clinton Street location closed abruptly at the beginning of the year amid rumors of a staff walkout and poor management. Shreffler says that Bean and the team plan to turn the restaurant into a sports bar where food and service are taken seriously. He says the market can struggle to get both right.

The Spy Run Avenue restaurant will lend itself to a more hip crowd, offering craft beer, small plates and American fare, he says.

Neither project has a name as of right now.

For now, though, the focus is on downtown.

The name change is expected to take place in early spring, along with a new menu, created by former Joseph Decuis chef Adam House, and further expanded hours. The wine selection will be revamped as will the beer and cocktail menu. Shreffler says that the restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Friday and for dinner Saturday.

Shreffler doesn’t want to rush the changes by announcing a specific date. As Main Street had seen a number of chefs and menu changes in recent years, he wants to make sure it’s done right this time.

"We only have one chance at this point to capture the audience," he says.

Skyline opening this summer

In the years that I have been writing this column, there has been no other piece of news that has garnered such a response than one I shared a year ago.

Fort Wayne was to be home to a Skyline Chili, maybe more, thanks to franchise owner Jeff Grothouse’s love for chili and in part because of the Cincinnati restaurant’s aggressive growth plan targeting 2020.

Even as the days, weeks and months passed with little news to share, people still wanted to know about Skyline. Readers would send me regular emails. Coney fans would corner me at church. Friends would send me Facebook messages. I would shrug and tell them I had nothing to share, but I was regularly checking in with Grothouse to be sure.

Now, we have that answer. The city’s first Skyline Chili location will open this summer at 4037 Ice Way, just off Lima Road.

Grothouse says finding the right location was what took so long. He and Skyline wanted a place that would be able to serve people coming from the north and south ends of town, as well as downtown. They also wanted to find an end cap location at an existing shopping center.

The location, which will be on an end cap of new construction, will feature 2,500 square feet of space, seating for more than 70 guests, featuring counter seating, flat-screen TVs and a drive-thru.

"For more than three decades, my family and I have spent time in Fort Wayne to enjoy the great shopping, dining and sporting events that the city offers," says Grothouse, who lives in Van Wert, Ohio. "I’m thrilled to be able to bring Skyline Chili to the members of this community and introduce people to the unique and delicious flavor of our signature coneys and ways."

Cincinnati-style chili differs from others in its use of warm spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg, and a traditional way has spaghetti, chili and cheese.

Grothouse, who is currently in Dayton for six weeks of training, is saying the restaurant won’t be open until this summer because there are so many factors that can affect the timeline – the construction of the building, the training of management and employees and getting in equipment. He did say that a general manager has been hired and she will begin in April but will need eight weeks of training.

Even more exciting – for him, at least – is that his 23-year-old daughter, Kristen, will go through training, too, as she will be an assistant manager.

St. Patrick’s Day

It’s time to break out the green shirt and red wig – St. Patrick’s Day is Friday.

Curly’s Village Inn, 4205 Bluffton Road, has been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day since 1969. On Friday, they will have Reuben sandwiches and made-from-scratch whiskey cake. Beginning at 9 p.m., there will be Irish-themed drink specials and karaoke. The bar will open at 1 p.m. Friday and food service begins at 5 p.m.

The Venice Restaurant, 2242 Goshen Road, has been hosting a St. Patrick’s Day party for 35 years and this Friday will be no different. They will have corned beef and cabbage ($9.95) and Irish stew ($6.95) beginning at 11 a.m. Green beer and Irish cocktails will be on tap, as well. Paul New Stewart will perform Irish favorite songs from 2 to 9 p.m. Bagpipers will be on site at 5 p.m. A $3 cover charge applies when the music starts.

Chapman’s brews come to Wabash

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, Chapman’s Brewing Co. will be opening its Wabash taproom on Friday.

The remodeled space at 233 S. Miami St. is across the street from the Charley Creek Inn and will begin serving craft beer at 3 p.m.

The taproom will have seven beers on tap, including Undaunted IPA, Enlighten Kolsch, Valiant Stout, Wry American Imperial Red Rye, RIOS – Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout, Harvester Blonde Ale and the small batch release of our Belgian Bitter Brown Ale.

Decuis special

Joseph Decuis is offering diners a chance to enjoy the restaurant with a special three-course menu this month.

The Devour Decuis menu is three courses and is available for $45 a person. It features a shrimp and grits starter with blackened gulf shrimp, smoked gouda grits and basil oil. The main course is a Wagyu Bra­ciole di Manzo that features rolled Wagu beef, Mangalitsa prosciutto, ricotta cheese, farm greens, tomato sauce and Parmesan over pasta. For dessert, there is a choice of chocolate bourbon cake or gelato.

Reservations preferred though not required.

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