Empyrean Cafe – Bringing Event Level Food to the Streets
Oct03

Empyrean Cafe – Bringing Event Level Food to the Streets

Fall is here, and though I’m happy about cute suede booties and the start of football season (Go Pack Go!), I’m bummed that Lunch on the Square is done for the year. There is just something about walking around downtown and eating outside that adds to my sense of Fort Wayne community. So, I was thrilled to discover Empyrean Cafe in the Foelinger-Freimann Botanical Gardens! They have indoor and outdoor seating, and their indoor seating is in an atrium, giving you the feeling that you are outside an surrounded by water, flowers, and ample natural daylight.   You may be familiar with Empyrean, the creation of Julia Fiechter (President, Co-Owner), Gary Probst (Owner), Renee Miner (Chief Event Designer) and Jeremy Miner (Director of Operations) located in the former Summit Club. I first tasted Empyrean’s culinary creations at a charity event I attended, and I was hooked immediately. Deconstructed potato salads, gazpacho shooters, and desserts made with liquid nitrogen – say what?! It was more than delicious – it was a culinary experience. The name “Empyrean” stands for the highest level of heaven, and they certainly didn’t disappoint. The only downside was that you could only experience this heavenly culinary experience if you had them cater your event or befriended people solely for the purpose of attending their wedding held in the event space at Empyrean. (Don’t judge. It happens.) I literally spent years stalking them on Instagram and liking each and every picture and accepting every invite to an event they catered. So imagine my excitement at discovering they had an actual cafe where you could walk in and order whenever you wanted! (It was the same level as when I discovered that there is a wine for your cat, which is saying a lot.)   I chatted with Jeremy Miner about the concept behind Empyrean Cafe. Jeremy has been in the food and beverage industry for over two decades and started out as a dish washer. At the age of 14, he was second in command in the kitchen. By age 15, he was running a kitchen that served 400 people in a day and had the restaurant owner’s grandmother call the school for him and pretend he was sick so that he could prep the kitchen for the weekend. It was there that he devoured his first medium rare steak and realized that there is more to food beyond basic nutrition. It’s an experience that transcends mere digestion. Just like a song can bring you back to a particular moment of time, taste can unlock memories and create narratives of its own.   “If you can think it, we can create it,”...

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WOW Factor Catering – Bringing the Party to You!
Aug01

WOW Factor Catering – Bringing the Party to You!

Summer is upon us as evidenced by the long hot days, children (okay, and me) playing Pokémon Go in the streets, and endless festivities. Between weddings, backyard parties, baby showers, birthday parties, and dog adoptions parties (yes, that is a thing) it oftentimes seems like there are not enough hours in the day to get anything done. That’s where Waiter on the Way comes in. You most likely have heard of Waiter on the Way, Fort Wayne’s locally owned restaurant food delivery service, that brings over 150 restaurants directly to you. Owner Derek Berkes prides himself on excellent customer service and delivering beyond expectations. Having been with the business 15 years, he has has seen it expand from food delivery, an acquisition of local dessert staple Vanilla Bean Unique Cookies (can I just tell you how addicting the Lemon Ricotta cookies are?!), and a change in locale. The business exploded in popularity and demand until it literally ran out of space. Berkes made the decision to move downtown to be more central to the city and create better visibility with an actual storefront, WOW Factor, that serves quick grab-and-go boxed lunches that include delicious sandwiches, salads, and, of course, the aforementioned cookie. In typical fashion, Waiter on the Way is expanding once again with the addition of WOW Factor Catering. This new venture has Berkes partnering with General Manager, Brandi Schorey, to custom-make creative culinary concoctions for anything from bridal showers to dinner parties, baby showers, weddings, and more. I was especially intrigued by the brunch option in which you can design your very own backyard brunch (or indoors if you prefer!) for you and your friends. They deliver everything to your specifications, including utensils, and can even bring the beer and wine as long as you give them advanced notice! Its like Uber for your party! While you have the ability to order pre-designed items online, Brandi recommends that you contact her directly so that she can work with you on custom-designing your event. She has been working with Waiter on the Way for 13 years and has organized numerous events. She can help you navigate through your event menu and make sure everything matches your specifications. When I met with her she was overflowing with ideas from custom-designed cupcakes to mouth watering entrees. You can even schedule time for a tasting to see what flavor profiles you prefer. Nakia, formerly the in-house baker at Vanilla Bean, designs many of the desserts on their menu and enjoys the creative challenge. I peeped her Hello Kitty cupcakes that were custom-made for an event and they were beyond adorable! You will be able...

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