GnomeTown Brewing Co. – Custom Beer Coming Soon to Downtown Fort Wayne
Jun10

GnomeTown Brewing Co. – Custom Beer Coming Soon to Downtown Fort Wayne

If you’ve visited the Hoppy Gnome on the ground floor of the Anthony Wayne building downtown recently, you might have noticed some construction in progress across the hallway. I am excited to report that Fort Wayne will be home to its very own brewery – GnomeTown Brewing Co. – brought to us by partners James Khan, Pete Shuey, and Lysa Pelkington. It will be a “Brew on Premise” concept and will be the first commercial brewery to offer its guests the opportunity to create their own beer with the added expertise of a professional brewing instructor.   I sat down with Khan, who I’m pretty certain never sleeps as he is also involved with The Hoppy Gnome and BakerStreet Steakhouse, to ask him about this new addition to downtown Fort Wayne. Khan stated that the vision was to create something unique to Fort Wayne that would draw people downtown. Khan’s partner Pete Shuey lived in Southern California for 15 years and experienced first hand the explosion of the craft beer scene. The popularity of craft beer naturally progressed into an increase in home brewing.  While home brewing is incredibly popular, it takes up an inordinate amount of space and uses quite a bit of specialized equipment…not to mention the weird smells and mess. This is where the “brew-on-premise” idea has come into play, which will allow Gnometown’s guests the opportunity to customize and brew their own beer without any of the hassle.   Khan mentioned that brewing beer is an artistic science. While there is the creative piece of what notes, flavor and color you wish your beer to have, there is a distinct science to it, such as the timing of steeping the grain, adding the hops, and even the temperature for the mash.  There are many chemical and technical reactions that must take place within a degree of perfection. In designing their facility and process, a tour was made of the Saugatuck Brewing Company to determine best practices to ensure quality beer craftsmanship, while still providing the guest-centered focus that Hoppy Gnome and BakerStreet are famous for.   GnomeTown Brewing Co. will have a brewing instructor on staff to help you craft your beer as well as the ability to create custom labels for your beer bottles. While you will need reservations to brew you can also choose to rent a room or rent the whole brewery if you wish to accommodate more people for a brewing party. You can brew anything from 5 gallons to a full keg of beer. There will be multiple options for brewing depending on your skill level. If you know nothing (raises hand),...

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Baan Thai Joins North Anthony Corridor
May16

Baan Thai Joins North Anthony Corridor

Recently North Anthony Corridor gained some delicious and exotic cuisine by way of Baan Thai Restaurant. The restaurant has been a foodie favorite in Fort Wayne for 14 years and had previously been at a smaller location in the Jo-Ann Fabric shopping center on Coldwater Road. While Baan Thai is my favorite Thai restaurant, I am certainly not biased…it has won Fort Wayne Newspapers Reader’s Choice for Best Thai in Fort Wayne for the last seven years in a row! Owner Pete Rugsaken has cooking in his DNA. His dad was a chef and his mom was a chef, so of course he attended Ball State University to be a ….engineer. Bet you didn’t see that coming. But while Pete was attending college he worked at restaurants to support himself. For three years upon graduation he worked in engineering and absolutely hated it. His true love was in the restaurant industry and, lucky for us, he chose to move to Fort Wayne to start up the beloved Baan Thai. In a town that has no shortage of restaurant options, the thing that makes Baan Thai stand out is its combination of fresh ingredients, fragrant dishes adorned with carved vegetable art, a flavor profile that dances on your tongue, and the friendliness of the staff. The restaurant is home to 15 employees who are from all parts of the world including Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, and Burma. According to Pete the secret to getting good quality service from your employees is to treat them like family. By caring for them, they in turn care for the restaurant and want to see it succeed. This is showcased in the way they care for their customers. Every time I visit for my dose of garlic tilapia (Thai hot, natch) I am greeted by name with a huge smile..its the little things, but it truly makes you feel like family. Being of Sri Lankan descent, I am always curious to know if ethnic food that is served in Fort Wayne is authentic or if it is Americanized. I asked Pete and he said that similar to most countries Thailand has distinct regions, which prepare food differently. Southern Thailand serves very spicy coconut-based curries, Northeastern Thailand serves spicy yet simple fare, Northern Thailand serves boiled foods with little coconut but lots of herbs, and Central Thailand serves refined dishes often infused with Chinese ingredients and a mixture of sweetness versus only spiciness. The food of Central Thailand is that which is served most predominately in American Thai restaurants and what Baan Thai serves as well. Pete said Baan Thai’s food is authentic, but oftentimes there...

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Dating Your City With Amber Stone: Table For One
Feb10

Dating Your City With Amber Stone: Table For One

I figured this month’s adventure would be topical because of what some people would feel is a dreadful holiday: Valentine’s Day. The reason I chose to write about this topic is that Fort Wayne, like I’ve said in past articles, has amazing restaurants. That in itself is how you get to know your city. From figuring out who the owners are, what their food visions might be, to the ones that come highly recommended. A few weeks ago, I took myself out on a date. I know you are probably thinking, “going out alone in public?? On a Thursday night to dinner?? Who would do such a thing?!” You won’t believe how many people were shocked that I took myself out. One friend even said, “Some people might think you’re lonely.” I think quite the opposite. It shows I’m confident enough to enjoy an evening alone, and be happy doing so. If you can’t spend time alone with yourself, nobody else can. Relocating to a new city, and being single, can be difficult. If you’re the opposite, it might be a bit more challenging. Either way, take yourself out once in a while! That evening I decided to dine at Asakusa, which has quickly become my favorite sushi restaurant in the city. That place will put you in a sushi coma! Whatever style or taste bud it is that evening, you’ll have plenty to choose from around the city. Living in a new adventure can be lonely at times. I guarantee there’s always someone close by wanting to hear your story, of why you changed up your life. People who live here, are extremely friendly. Try a new restaurant, meet a stranger at the bar and say hello, or get to know you better and go on a solo date with yourself. It’s not that scary, just focus on how good that meal tastes! I challenge you…pick a restaurant…and go ahead…say those three scary words….”table for one”…it won’t be so bad.  Meanwhile, I would love to pick your brain on new places. If you think of a great restaurant I should find, visit my page at facebook.com/AmberStoneRadio, and inbox me....

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Ethnic Food Series: Caliente
Feb01

Ethnic Food Series: Caliente

We have been lucky enough to have an assignment where we go out and find local ethnic restaurants and write about them. It has given us an opportunity to try new places and have new experiences. We’ve found another tasty place to share and hope you check out a few of our suggestions! Our next adventure took us to an authentic Cuban restaurant, Caliente. Caliente is hidden and easy to miss if you are out and about. It’s located off State Street, to which you can find parking behind the building. We were immediately greeted as we walkee through the door. The menu was a little confusing to us since we didn’t know exactly what all was in the meal. Luckily they were able to provide us a detailed menu including all the ingredients. If you try out this local restaurant, go on an empty stomach. The sizes of the sandwiches are massive which is good because they tasted great and were a nice snack for later. Also be prepared to wait a few minutes as everything is made to order. No need to worry about being served a cold sandwich. We ordered the Ropa Vieja, which is lean beef in a garlic marinade, onions and lemon, served with shredded mozzarella, lettuce and jalapenos on toasted bread flavored with garlic butter. Since some individuals might not like the added spiciness of the peppers, the lady who took our order was nice enough to make sure I wanted it on my sandwich. I think once you start taking things off the sandwiches, you start to lose the real taste of Cuban food. I had to order the true authentic sandwich of the Cuban culture, the Cuban. This sandwich is like no other; the meats and toppings complement each other so well that it’s hard to realize just how much you have eaten. As we finished our meal, feeling stuffed and content we sat and decided what we would try the next time around. We hope you give this place a try as we promise you will not leave...

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Ethnic Food Series: Queen of Sheba
Dec02

Ethnic Food Series: Queen of Sheba

This week we are introducing you to a very unique Ethiopian restaurant, Queen of Sheba. Located off of State Street, this little gem of a restaurant is quite a delight. This is the first time we ever tried Ethiopian food, so we weren’t too sure what to expect. We were a bit overwhelmed by the menu, but the waiter was extremely helpful answering all our questions about certain foods. We decided to start off with two appetizers, Falafel and Katagna. Falafel is a little pastry filled with chick peas and spices, very filling and enough to share between a few people. The next appetizer was Katagna; this is where we needed a little guidance. There are three levels of spiciness when it comes to Katagna. Since we both like spicy foods, we opted to bypass the mild and medium and go all the way for hot. It was hot, but nothing like anything I have tried before; the spices, the special butter and injera were a delicious combination. There were so many items we wanted to try for our entrées but we went with recommendations from our waiter: Siga Tibs and Chicken Tibs. You have to try their coffee. If you have never had Ethiopian coffee, it is worth watching the coffee ceremony. The beans are roasted and prepared right in front of your eyes. As we patiently waited, the aroma of the coffee beans filled the air. In all, the portion sizes are plentiful and the atmosphere is warming. Before we left for the evening we chatted with the owner about our experience, so if you are ever in the area please check the food out this wonderful restaurant and say “Hi”. Their website queenofshebafw.com has their menu and some great...

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