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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, February 08, 2017 12:39 pm

New chef among Chappell's big changes

Kimberly Dupps Truesdell | For The Journal Gazette

Gary Chappell is "old school."

The owner of Chappell’s Steaks and Seafood, 6828 W. Jefferson Blvd., has been in the restaurant business for 33 years. But when he decided not to retire last year, he also made a decision to move his business into the future.

It started with merging the jazz club and restaurant and taking on extensive renovations. Now, after 28 years, he’s put a new chef in the kitchen.

Chris Zimmerman, who most recently was executive chef at Parkview Mirro Center and has worked at Pine Valley Country Club and Memorial Coliseum, began working at Chappell’s at the first of the year.

"He’s so creative, so talented," Chappell says. "It’s what we wanted" to move the restaurant forward.

Zimmerman has helped redesign the kitchen of the restaurant, which is getting new hoods, stoves, convection ovens and flooring. "It’s being made Chris’ way," Chappell says.

To get the work done, Chappell’s is currently closed for lunch and will see a full shutdown from March 21 to April 10.

It’s a lot of work to get done in three weeks, Chappell admits, but he’s hopeful it will get done in time for the restaurant’s re-grand opening.

The finished restaurant will have a new entryway, fireplace, bar room and oil paintings.

There will also be a new menu from Zimmerman, who is known for innovative dishes featuring ingredients sourced from local farmers.

"He’s a great addition to what success Chappell’s has had and to where we are going in the future," Chappell says.

Decuis chef leaves

After just more than a year in the position, Adam House is stepping down as executive chef at the famed Joseph Decuis restaurant in Roanoke.

House will takeover the kitchen at Main Street Bistro in downtown Fort Wayne in mid-February.

Main Street Bistro is currently undergoing a renaissance with Bill Bean assuming full ownership and striving to make the night spot into a dining destination for the downtown crowd. 

The Main Street menu had seen many iterations since opening three years ago, and then operating owner Todd Smith struggled to find the right leader for the kitchen.

When discussing Main Street with me a few weeks ago, Bean said he hoped to bring more stability – for diners and staff. He said that the menu would become more focused, likely with an emphasis on good steaks, pasta and seafood.

House, who has worked at Joseph Decuis for a number of years, became executive chef at the beginning of 2016 when James Beard-nominated Aaron Butts left to open The Golden.

Around town

• You know who loves you best? Your gal pals. And Trubble Brewing is honoring them this weekend with a Galentine’s Day Brunch. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, the brewery on Broadway will serve up its regular brunch menu as well as waffles, frittatas and drinks of the female persuasion.

• Have you seen the permit notices on Main Street as you wait in line at Yummi Bunni or Coney Island? Have you been hoping one will be an addition to the downtown dining scene? Well, I’m here to disappoint. According to permits filed with the Allen County Building Department, the vacant spaces next to Yummi Bunni are simply being renovated. The space at 133 W. Main St. between Coney Island and the Allen County Republican Party headquarters has permits filed to be renovated to house offices for Fort Wayne’s Famous Coney Island.

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