It's a new month and seemingly a new season in dining for local restaurants. While operators and owners cautiously navigate the new restrictions, some who were conservative moving forward are starting to open dining rooms and patios to accommodate hungry Hoosiers.
Taking time to protect staff and reorganize dining rooms, saying sometimes you just have to wait it out, several of Hall's restaurants reopened for dining in this week.
The Deck was the first to begin service at the end of last month. Don Hall's Gas House, Takaoka of Japan and Hall's Tavern at Coventry opened on Monday. Hall's Prime Rib, 2005 E. State Blvd., will open Thursday.
Opening dates have not been set for Hall's Original, 1502 Bluffton Road; Triangle Park Bar and Grille, 3010 Trier Road; and Factory Restaurant, 5811 Coldwater Road.
At the Factory, the COVID-19 downtime has allowed for the restaurant to undergo a face-lift. The space has had a deep-cleaning and a fresh coat of paint. A new audio system and outdoor signs were installed. The Halls hope to open the Factory this month or in July.
Diners at the Hall's restaurants will notice that employees will wear masks, there are fewer tables that are farther apart and increased cleaning measures.
The Tavern at Coventry has an updated menu, as well.
Open for dinner
For 76 days, the staff at Welch's Ale House documented their time in quarantine, sharing vlogs on the restaurant's social media channels.
And in that time, the 1915 S. Calhoun St. spot saw its following increase dramatically, doubling on Facebook, as the staff found a new way to engage customers, restaurant manager Christine Douglas says.
But the diaries are over as Welch's Ale House has reopened at 50% capacity with temporary hours – from 3 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 3 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. Welch's is not open for lunch but the hope is that will happen as regulations ease and business builds.
Douglas says restaurant management wanted to give themselves a two- to three-week cushion before resuming business to see where the COVID-19 statistics were and make sure it was safe to reopen and mandates didn't change.
To keep diners safely distanced, there will be a host and reservations are encouraged; call 456-6542. Those who need to wait for a table are encouraged to wait outside or in their vehicle.
Welch's also has a patio, which many guests enjoyed on the first day back in business. The outdoor space saw improvements while Welch's was closed – the deck was re-stained and new tables were added. Inside, the kitchen was remodeled.
Douglas says the restaurant did projects that can't be done when it's closed only one day a week.
Repair bake sale
Cottage Flowers was among the businesses damaged in the weekend protests. The space is also home to Zinnia's Bakehouse, so Krystal Vega wanted to do something to help the 236 E. Wayne St. shop.
She's going almost old school with a bake sale that will take place this week, selling mini cookies for $1 each.
The cookies will be available in various flavors, in dairy and vegan varieties.
Order online at www.zinniasbakehouse.net/featuredmenus.
Vega says some money has been raised already, but she hopes to help some other small businesses that were affected over the weekend.
One of the city's popular summer spots has reopened.
Conner's Rooftop has revised its operations, serving about 50 people in its open-air and indoor-seating areas. Open-air seating dependent on the weather.
Safety measures include touchless menus via QR code or single-use menus, staff wearing masks, bartenders wearing gloves, frequent disinfection of high-contact areas and social-distanced check-in and waiting procedures.
The rooftop bar, which offers views of downtown Fort Wayne, has fire pits, stadium seating, cocktails and snacks.
The temporary hours for Conner's Rooftop are from 5 to 11 p.m. Thursday, 5 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, and 1 to 8 p.m. Sunday.
Clyde spots hiring
The Club Room at The Clyde and Crescendo Coffee & More are hiring for more than three dozen positions including managers, servers, bar workers, hosts and kitchen staff.
The Club Room's expansion project across the existing alley into the building to the east will double its capacity for dining and special events at the venue at 1806 Bluffton Road.
Crescendo will also operate in the updated facility with coffee from Utopian Coffee and ice cream, pastries, grab-and-go sandwiches and pizza.
People interested in applying can go to www.clydetheatre.com/careers.
• The Bagel Station, 3009 E. State Blvd., has closed.
• A new food truck rally is taking place from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays. The trucks will be parked at Christ's Hope Ministries and Church, 2828 Carroll Road. There will be several trucks that will be in rotation each week, according to CaSandra Arthur of King Arthur's Trolley.
The Dish features restaurant news and food events and appears Wednesdays. Fax news items to 461-8893, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 461-8304 at least two weeks before event or desired publication.