It's not anything new, in a way. Bistro Nota, the latest eatery to open in downtown Fort Wayne, is serving lunch.
But the approach that Cam Kaminski and Jake Koczergo are taking with the restaurant takes the midday meal from standard to something special.
Their French-American concept opened Monday after a soft opening last week. It serves the standard soups, salads and sandwiches – all with a fine-dining twist.
The hot ham and cheese features gruyere and spicy honey. The signature salad, the Nota, has iceberg lettuce and ranch dressing but also charred corn, roasted red peppers, Parmesan and cherry tomatoes.
There are entrées, too, such as braised beef short ribs and grilled Farroe Island salmon.
Koczergo says that menu might feel small, but the emphasis for the new restaurant operators is to focus on taking comforting flavors, elevating their profiles and creating dishes that are easy to execute.
Because it is lunch, after all, and Kaminski and Koczergo are mindful that the patrons will likely need to be in and out in less than an hour.
There's a lot of work on the “front end,” preparing ingredients and dishes before opening for business, but the reward is the nearly surprised look on the faces of diners at the plates coming out of the kitchen.
But it's not just about what's being eaten at one of the sleek tables. The Bistro Nota chefs are also creating grab-and-go meals that require little preparation, if any, for people to enjoy outside the restaurant at 620 S. Calhoun St.
Nota@Home dishes can be reheated, whether in the microwave, skillet or oven, and can be served for dinner. Koczergo doesn't want to take away the joy of cooking from people but offer a quick option for busy weeknights.
And unlike a meal-delivery kit service, patrons can ask the chefs questions about preparation, service or pairing and even get wine or beer to take home. (Bistro Nota has a two-way liquor license and serves beer and wine.)
Lunch hours are from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. The storefront will be open until 5 p.m. for those who are buying Nota@Home items.
No Yummi Bunni?
Has an ice cream shop that opened with such loud fanfare slipped quietly into nonexistence?
Yummi Bunni has seemingly closed. All social media accounts for the shop have been shut down, the phone number has been disconnected, and the windows of the Main Street building have been papered over.
Just weeks ago, neon lights in the windows cast a pink glow on Main Street and lines of people could be seen waiting for a “bun,” as the shop's infamous doughnut ice cream sandwiches were called.
But we've heard that hours were inconsistent and at 7 p.m. Saturday, when downtown was bustling with Taste of the Arts traffic, the storefront was closed.
Yummi Bunni drew crowds from the beginning when it opened in November 2016. Owner Makenna Click wanted to bring a big-city culinary experience to Fort Wayne, complete with selfie walls and Instagram-worthy creations.
It was even so popular that investors bought in for a second location in Indianapolis, which was announced in 2018. Indianapolis Star food columnist Liz Biro tells me that location never opened.
Click could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Bagels on campus
Purdue Fort Wayne isn't just expanding its dining options for students and faculty on campus but the general public as well.
The university will be home to the city's first Einstein Bros. Bagels location. The shop will be in Kettler Hall and open to the public.
The spot will also serve Caribou Coffee – another first for Fort Wayne.
Einstein Bros. has a number of locations in Indiana, with most in the Indianapolis area. They also operate shops on campuses such as University of Notre Dame and Indiana State University.
• Dairy Queen is turning the page on summer, releasing its seasonal Blizzard menu for the fall. The five autumn flavors are Harvest Berry Pie, Heath Caramel Brownie, Pumpkin Pie, Snickerdoodle Cookie Dough and Snickers.
• LongHorn Steakhouse has a new menu building on the idea of a cookout. The dishes include Smoky BBQ Mixed Grill with Fire-Grilled Asparagus; Outlaw Ribeye with Fire-Grilled Corn on the Cob; and Baby Back Ribs with Steakhouse Mac & Cheese.
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