Proximo – the Future of Downtown Dining is “Next”
Jun12

Proximo – the Future of Downtown Dining is “Next”

Downtown Fort Wayne has been growing exponentially and the restaurant scene is no exception. When The Golden closed its doors last November, rumors started flying as to who would come into the new space. I was incredibly excited to hear it would be none other than restaurant entrepreneurs James Khan, Pete Shuey, Lysa Pelkington and their amazing culinary team. You may know them from Baker Street, Hoppy Gnome, and Gnometown Brewing. Proximo means ‘next’ in Spanish and this is the next endeavor in the team’s growing restaurant empire. The restaurant is Latin inspired and will be open at 6 AM seven days a week, which will step up Fort Wayne’s brunch game. Having been an avid fan of its predecessors, I was thrilled to be invited to Proximo’s soft open this past weekend. The dinner menu was extensive and filled with so many items that I wanted to try that I was very glad I brought reinforcements that were willing to share. From five different ceviches, a variety of salad options, tantalizing appetizers, and entrees like street corn filet, my advice is to come hungry! I quizzed the group I brought and hands down our favorite appetizer that we tried was the Sope. Made with shrimp, Spanish chorizo, I’m pretty certain there may have been a fight over the last piece. The Tuna Tiradito was a close second. The combination of firm sliced tuna, fresh avocado, sweet pineapple and spicy jalapenos was truly a delight on the palate. I may have lightly stabbed someone in an attempt to steal all the jalapenos. I asked Khan what he recommended for our entrée choice and he said the Seafood Paella had been a huge hit so far. Initially he was not planning on having a paella option on the menu, but his wife Erika insisted that the menu wasn’t complete without it. Unfortunately, the paella was so popular that night that they sold out before I could sink my teeth into it. We did, however try the Salmon Succotash, Street Corn Filet, Pork al Pastor, and Ribeye a la Parrilla entrees all of which were flavorful and unique. The Patatas Bravas were divine and I could most certainly live on a diet solely comprised of it. You may think at this point that we couldn’t possibly have room for dessert, but if there is anything my dad has taught me, dinner is not complete without dessert! I was so full that I didn’t take a picture of the dessert menu, but I have included pictures of the actual desserts for your viewing/drooling pleasure. There was a hotly contested debate between which...

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The Golden Fort Wayne Prepares for a Bright Debut
Jan28

The Golden Fort Wayne Prepares for a Bright Debut

Wine is great with dinner and beer always brings people together. But there’s something magical about a handcrafted cocktail. In a single sip, a cocktail can transport you to another time and place. It can take you back to a memorable vacation, put you in the middle of a movie scene, or channel a moment decades before your time. Thankfully, a cocktail is no longer just a slug of liquor, shot from the soda gun and a splash of Rose’s syrup. The modern (yet classically inspired) cocktail scene forgoes mixers for mixology, harkening to a time when speakeasies creatively disguised bathtub gin with fruits, herbs and sugar syrups – and the “cats” on both sides of the bar were “dressed to the nines.” Making these handcrafted cocktails is more of a culinary process, as carefully chosen flavors come together to create something that’s are entirely distinct from its individual parts. So when Aaron Butts and Sean Richardson (then head chef and sous chef at Joseph Decuis, respectively) caught the mixology bug, their culinary background fit the bill. Before long – along with Aaron’s wife and then Joseph Decuis manager and sommelier Carmen McGee – Aaron and Sean launched The Golden, a pop-up cocktail bar that made periodic appearances at local events. The Golden pop-ups began in June 2014, as fun side project and way to stretch the team’s creativity outside of the kitchen. But last month, Aaron, Sean and Carmen announced their plans to turn The Golden from pop-up to brick-and-mortar – with a full-fledged bar and restaurant inside the under-construction Ash Brokerage Building. The announcement generated buzz right from the start. After 15 years at Joseph Decuis, Aaron and Carmen have built a loyal following and a reputation for the region’s best farm-to-fork menu and perfectly paired wine list. During that time, Aaron, Carmen and their Joseph Decuis crew earned multiple accolades from the James Beard Foundation, including two guest kitchen stints at the James Beard House. So it goes without saying that The Golden’s menu will shine as brightly as its libations. Whether they’re in the kitchen or behind the bar, the team doesn’t cut corners. Their inspired and from-scratch ingredients give Old Fashioneds a new vibe and bring Sazaracs back to their roots. As the team prepares and their friends and fans wait patiently (mouths watering), I talked to Aaron, Carmen and Sean about their plans and vision for The Golden. Q: What attracted you to bartending? Why craft cocktails? Aaron: Bartending has seen a resurgence in popularity as “new” old drinks were gaining attention. Customers are learning that not all gins are the same and a proper daiquiri is not a frozen...

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