Jukebox Ice Cream Parlor Open on East State
Jul27

Jukebox Ice Cream Parlor Open on East State

If you are looking for great hand-dipped ice cream, visit Jukebox Ice Cream Parlor. Take my word for it, and go- it’s worth waiting through the construction on the State/Clinton area! The parlor is in between Art Werks Bike Shop and Hall’s Prime Rib on East State, across the road from Parkview Hospital. Jukebox makes their vegan- yes VEGAN- ice cream on-site, and the hand-dipped ice cream comes from Ashby’s, in the Ann Arbor, Michigan area. The menu is easy to navigate, clearly priced, and the staff is welcoming, friendly, and every other positive word you can think of. Sample flavors like Peppermint Oreo, Indiana Pothole, and the classic Superman before trying them, and get a cup, cone, or have them put your scoop in a cup of coffee! Vegan flavors include chocolate chunk, cashew bourbon vanilla, and chocolate peanut butter. The sugar cookie flavor ALMOST tastes like a certain local and VERY popular cookie company’s frosted sugar cookies- and that’s coming from an employee with a long tenure with the business. Shake and malt choices are available too! Make sure to take some time out of your day to sit on their patio, or hang out inside listening to the restored digital jukebox. Get a selfie with the life-sized Elvis carboard cutout, and step back in time to the 1950’s! If you don’t have time to stay, swing by and grab a pint (or a quart for larger cravings) to...

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Blue Nile Coffee – Keeping Fort Wayne Roasted
Mar08

Blue Nile Coffee – Keeping Fort Wayne Roasted

Indiana winters makes me turn to coffee more and more. Maybe it’s the endless days of bitter cold and no sun, but there’s something about that warm brew that jump starts my day and makes me feel that spring is just around the corner. I love supporting local brews, so I was excited to hear more about Blue Nile Coffee Co that was started here in Fort Wayne. Michigan transplant Ciera Love (Director of Operations), Foster Park dweller Phil Snodgress (Managing Director), and Fort Wayne native, Zach White (Director of Marketing/Sales), started Blue Nile Coffee Co in September of 2017. They are all self-proclaimed coffee-o-holics and have an innate passion for craft coffee. A chance encounter with an impassioned local coffee shop owner at an obscure town in Michigan gave Ciera the idea to bring this craft coffee concept to Fort Wayne. When I asked, “Why choose Fort Wayne to start this venture?” the group from Blue Nile noted that “Fort Wayne is a unique city in that it offers the amenities of a big city with the hometown feel. It has a vibrancy and a sense of life to it, while other cities are still struggling to find their heartbeat. The community members want to see Fort Wayne prosper, and small businesses have a fighting chance to flourish here.” The three wanted to roast their own coffee and create flavors that are unique to what is currently on the market– Blue Nile does just that. They are quick to point out that they are not just about selling coffee, but their bigger passion is to help people elevate their morning routine. It’s true that most people drink only for necessity, which means they may be hitting up that delicious (insert sarcastic tone here) gas station coffee, which often translates into pouring on mounds of cream and sugar to cover up the bitter taste. Trust me, I’m guilty of having done that a time or two! What Blue Nile does that is so refreshing is that they roast their coffee in a way that brings out the harmony of flavors that many coffee drinkers miss out on. “We create an experience with premium coffee that doesn’t need any additives.” Ciera noted. “The Blue Nile is a major river that runs through Ethiopia, a country in Africa and the birthplace of coffee. For us, Blue Nile stands for uncharted territory and endless discovery. It is a symbol of where we have been and where we are going.” I asked the team how they determined who to partner with in sourcing their coffee, and the team brought up their partnership with...

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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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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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Hobnobben Film Festival Review
Jun21

Hobnobben Film Festival Review

After 13 movies and a handful of other events, my time at the inaugural Hobnobben Film Festival came to a close Sunday evening. It was a long, full weekend made enjoyable by a bustling and energetic community of film lovers coming together to champion a shared passion for the movies. Cinema Center Executive Director Jonah Crismore noted “how far along we’ve come” on opening night. I couldn’t agree more. Independent theaters across the country are on a steep decline, but if you managed to make it out to Hobnobben this past weekend, you’d see that’s not the case in Fort Wayne. Before Thursday night’s showing, Bill Brown, President of the Downtown Improvement District, addressed the sold-out crowd. Brown talked about Cinema Center’s role in the resurgence of the area, as well as the importance of continued support for the city’s only locally run movie house. On his involvement with Hobnobben Brown said, “[Crismore] had me with Film Festival,” followed by the applause of everyone in the theater. You could hear and feel the outpouring of support. As is the case for any inaugural event, Hobnobben had a few minor hiccups that were swiftly and carefully fixed along the way. The voting process was incredibly awkward for passholders like myself during the first two days. Rather than cast a silent ballot, I was asked if I’d like to vote for each film upon exiting. Saying “no thanks” or “yes please” felt out-of-place. My biggest issue came down to the steep $200 price tag for festival passes (which granted access to any and all events). General admission tickets were $10 and the awards ceremony was $15. I saw as many films as time afforded me, but when you do the math, I basically paid an extra $55 to get into movies 20 minutes early even though that never mattered. Had I attended the most events possible over the course of the four days, the numbers still don’t add up. I was happy to pay though, especially considering the surprising quality of movies the Cinema Center was able to schedule through partnerships and outside sponsors. Crismore mentioned that he and his staff had traveled to other established festivals across the country to help build Hobnobben, particularly drawing inspiration from Michigan’s Traverse City Film Festival. What I think worked best about Fort Wayne’s first film festival is that it urged moviegoers to stay downtown and walk around. You could swing by the block party and try Mad Anthony Brewing’s very own Hobnobben Shandy (a welcome cool down in the weekend’s blistering heat). Friday night found moviegoers pulling up chairs at the Arts United Plaza for a free outdoor screening...

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