JK O’Donnell’s Irish Ale House – Let It Pour
Mar15

JK O’Donnell’s Irish Ale House – Let It Pour

When Irish eyes are smiling, they are usually up to something and JK O’Donnell’s Irish Ale House has some smiling eyes as they are getting ready to kick off their annual St. Patrick’s Day bash on Saturday, March 17. They will be open all day and all ages are welcome until 7PM so be sure to bring the littles for some family fun under the tent. There will be live music from 12 to 11 PM and admission is only $5! For those of you wanting to check out the bar and toast St. Patty with an Irish brew, the pub will be 21 and over only. And if you are in desperate need of a kilted bagpiper, be sure to check out The O’Tooles, who will be dropping in for a few performances. Check out all you need to know about the upcoming celebration here. While JK O’Donnell’s will be full of Irish cheer this Saturday, they have a lot more to offer than St. Patty’s Day shenanigans. One of their most recent changes is a newly vamped menu. Check out our interview! What inspired you to choose these dishes?  We have to change it for us and the customer.  There are dishes that will always be standards here but there’s a desire to keep things fresh and interesting. How often does the menu change? About every 6 months. It used to be that we would change the menu once a year, but I would like to see us on a more predicable timeline to provide heartier, comfort food in the colder months and then provide more lighter options during the warmer months. What are the gluten free/vegan/vegetarian options? Our hummus is gluten free and vegan.  Our veggie burger is now served on a pita which makes the dish both vegetarian and vegan.  We offer gluten free buns as an option on any of our sandwiches. Several of our other dishes can be made gluten free or vegetarian with minor adjustments. Are there any other changes you’d like to highlight? What precipitated the menu change? We have been getting a great response from all of our new dishes.  The mussels are a great addition as well as the lamb meatloaf.  The chicken bacon mac and cheese has been a huge hit. Any new drinks to highlight?  We specialize in a providing a wide variety of craft beer along with ciders and meads. Our large selection of drafts and bottles is designed to provide an option for almost everyone, while highlighting some of the more unique craft beer creations. Check out the menu and hours on their website. May your...

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Getting into the St. Patrick’s Day Spirit
Mar15

Getting into the St. Patrick’s Day Spirit

Saturday, March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day and we are hoping to bring a little luck o’ the Irish to you when it comes to finding somewhere to celebrate. While the rivers run green and the Irish pubs are full, many of local establishments are serving up some great deals, festive treats, and awesome entertainment to keep you in good spirits. Three Rivers Distilling Company St. Patty’s Day at the Distillery March 17, 12pm-11pm What to expect: Drinks $5 – Emerald Isle: Summit City Gin and crème de menthe $7 – Pot of Gold: Harvester Vodka with a touch of elderflower, splash of ginger beer $6 – Irish Eyes: 122 Unaged Corn Whiskey, crème de menthe, and heavy cream $6 – Irish Lady: melon infused Harvester Vodka with OJ and sparkling grape juice on draft $7 – Sparkling Shamrock: Cucumber and pear infused Harvester Vodka, touch of elderflower, lemon juice and simple syrup served on draft Food Corn beef and cabbage Shepherd’s pie Irish stew All of their other amazing food options. Pedal City Starting at 8am for Mad Ant’s Pub Crawl Pedal City is having live music and a free tasting on St Patrick’s day! The tasting starts at 8 am with a free Irish whiskey sampling and lots of giveaways! The live music starts at 1 pm with Blake Blurry until 5 pm then again with Dan Smyth starting at 10 pm!! What to expect: Drinks $3 Paddy’s Irish Whiskey $4 large (22 oz) Green Beer $4 Irish coffee $4 Coffee with Irish Cream Food Shepherd’s pie Twice baked potatoes Reuben sandwich Corn beef and cabbage HT2 March 17, 3pm-12am While they aren’t having a party like other local bars, they are sticking to their signature craft drink charms! What to expect: HT2 will be serving a special drink called Magic Milks. This drink is a Lucky Charm Marshmallow infused vodka with almond milk Hamilton Public House March 17, 8pm to 11pm Hamilton Public House is hosting the Summit City Saints among other wonderful things tonight to celebrate that little Irishman in us all. What to expect: Green beer Live music Various food and drink specials “The Black Stuff” Guinness 16oz Cans. We’ll have the patio open to those ages 21 and older. Two EE’s Winery March 13-21st While most people are out looking for green beer, Two EE’s is putting a green spin on one of their popular items! What to Expect: $7 Green, vanilla slushies! Hop River Brewing Company March 17, noon – 12:30am Great, Not Green: Know What’s in Your Glass! Learn about beer on the day you enjoy it most. Interactive brewhouse tours...

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Banh Mi Pho Shop- Your New Fave Ramen Spot in the Fort!  🍜
Aug29

Banh Mi Pho Shop- Your New Fave Ramen Spot in the Fort! 🍜

2017 has been my year of ramen. From Momofuku in New York City, some side street vendor in Vietnam that I can’t pronounce, to High Five Ramen in Chicago, I have been obsessed with the noodles of my college days. (And who am I kidding, most of my 20s as well!) And now we have this amazing creation in Fort Wayne at a local business called Banh Mi Pho Shop)! Although the word ramen comes from the Chinese, there is a heated debate as to whether the dish itself originated in Japan or China. Regardless, instant ramen was invented by the Taiwanese-Japanese Momofuku Ando, and was named the greatest Japanese invention of the 20th century. The main component of any ramen is steaming hot noodles served in a rich and salty soup broth, but that is where the similarity between our college dorm hot pot ramen and the ramen of today ends. From the broth, to the spices, to the meat, and toppings ramen is vastly different from shop to shop…but that’s what makes it fun for both chefs and diners alike! Banh Mi Pho Shop is located at the former Tom’s Donuts on 1925 Fairfield Avenue and opened this past June. Don’t let its newness fool you, however. It is the sister location of the popular Vietnamese shop, Banh Mi Barista, which opened August 2012 on 5320 Coldwater Road. The original restaurant started with owners Will Le, his sister Thao Le, and niece Hien Le. Thirty-nine-year-old Will has been working in the food industry since high school (including Fort Wayne’s beloved West Coast Grill) and loves to cook. While 30-year-old Thao worked at a pharmaceutical lab in Indy, she always had a love for food and eating out as did her foodie niece, Hien. The original Banh Mi Barista is well known for its phenomenal customer service, amazing bubble teas, and Vietnamese staples such as pho and bánh mì sandwiches. One year ago, Thao took a break to travel. While she grew up in Fort Wayne, she wanted to experience the culinary trends and staples in various parts of the world, including her homeland of Vietnam. Co-owner Hien joined her for a month in Vietnam (as did yours truly for a much shorter stint!). I sat with Thao to ask about her experience in Vietnam this past April. “I was born in Vietnam and still have family in southern Vietnam,” said Thao. “I have always appreciated the unique flavors and textures, but this trip made me expand my taste buds to appreciate northern Vietnamese food as well. I also learned how to make bánh mì (bread) from scratch when I...

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07 Pub – Your New Favorite Place to Hang Out!
Jul26

07 Pub – Your New Favorite Place to Hang Out!

When I first moved to Fort Wayne, I found it interesting that people refer to their neighborhoods by zip code. The ’05, the ’07, etc. It was one of those quirky things like “going to the lake” (which I assumed was one massive lake considering how many people went there) that I never truly understood until I became a fellow “Citizen Wayne” myself! The pride and passion with which people identify their neighborhoods is remarkable to see and as Fort Wayne starts to witness a revitalization of the downtown area, the residents of the ’07 are certainly a huge part of that.   If you live, work, or drive through the ’07 you will have noticed a recent addition that graces the streets of Broadway. The new, aptly named 07 Pub opened with little fanfare in early June and has been hopping ever since!   I popped into the pub to chat with owner Marcus Spillson to get the scoop on the Pub. Marcus grew up in Fort Wayne, his parents both went to South Side High School, and he was a ’99 graduate of Bishop Luers, where he played football with his co-owner and partner in the pub, Clancy Shank (’97 graduate of Bishop Luers).  Marcus has always had a passion for the south side of Fort Wayne and although he left for ten years, when he came back for a wedding in town, he was drawn to a bar (the former Lombardo’s Lounge) that was for sale. The oil and gas company he worked for in Houston had just been sold and he was intrigued by this new possible venture. “I kept thinking about it and the next day I went and put an offer in. They countered, and the next think I knew, I owned a bar!”   The food and drink industry is in Marcus Spillson’s DNA. His great-grandfather, Nick Spillson, owned Berghoff Gardens, and was the proud holder of Fort Wayne’s very first liquor license after prohibition ended. A cut out from the newspaper article from April 6, 1933 is prominently on display at the pub. Marcus’ grandfather owned Fort Wayne’s famous 4 star French restaurant, Café Johnell, and his father ran the kitchen at Johnelli’s Pizza. Marcus’ first job was washing dishes at Café Johnell. With his family history, it is easy to see how Marcus came to be the owner of the bar, but he was quick to point out that this wasn’t just any bar. “I wanted a neighborhood bar. I wouldn’t have done this anywhere else but here in the south side of Fort Wayne. We live in this neighborhood,...

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Bandidos – The New Generation
Jun06

Bandidos – The New Generation

If you are from Fort Wayne, you are no doubt familiar with the Bandidos chain of Mexican restaurants with their brightly colored buildings. But, you may not be aware of the recent change in concept of the Fort Wayne famous chain. I am not originally from Fort Wayne, so when I met with current owner Jimmie Schindler II, I asked him about the background of the restaurant.  I was surprised to hear that Bandidos had originally started as a pizza joint called Jimmie’s Pizza that was owned and operated by Jimmie’s dad, Jimmie Sr. It had several locations throughout Fort Wayne. In the ’80s, Jimmie Sr. and his wife went out for dinner at a local Mexican restaurant and took note of the line around the block for what they considered passable Mexican fare. At the time there were very few Mexican restaurant options in Fort Wayne. This gave Jimmie Sr. the idea to start Bandidos in the ’80s and capitalize on the demand for Mexican food in Fort Wayne. After finishing his undergraduate degree at Notre Dame and his MBA at Purdue, he took over the Bandidos franchise from his dad in March 2013. Jimmie had interned for Domino’s in Ann Arbor, which gave him a number of ideas for their own family run business that he was excited to bring to fruition. “I was born and raised in this business,” Jimmie told me. “That lady that just seated us? She changed my diaper as a baby.” Talk about growing up in the family business! So what makes Jimmie tick? “Jesus, family, and tacos. In that order.” He wants something that he, his wife, Katie, and their three kids (Cecilia, Johannes, and Martin) would be proud of. “My wife is a scientist, and I sell tacos.” Just as his dad was many years before, Jimmie is a big proponent of listening to what his guests want and delivering. “The recipes are good, we have a number of Mexican chefs or even employees who get recipes from their relatives for us to recreate in our restaurant. What I kept hearing was our guests’ desire for the ingredients to be more transparent.” When Jimmie looked through the survey results, over 95% of their guests felt that freshness was important. The overwhelming majority were concerned about preservatives, quality, and customization. “In today’s world of so many food intolerances, it is important that we shift to meet our guest’s demands.” This is why they have customizable “build your own” options like the build your own bowl that I created complete with rice, shredded chicken, pico de gallo, bell peppers, and hot salsa. Even...

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