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The Dish

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If you go
800 Degrees – 10020 Lima Road
800 Degrees Three Fires – 5215 Illinois Road
Courtney’s Bakery – 10812 Coldwater Road and 5625 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Yogurt on Your Own – 10015 Lima Road and 9930 Illinois Road
Phoenix Dragon Hibachi Buffet – 3011 Bluffton Road

Some opening more shops amid tough times

In a time when the go-to response for just about any financial difficulty is, “Well, with this economy …” accompanied with a knowing head shake, it can be refreshing to know some area restaurants are not only successful, but so successful that they’re opening second locations.

At least three restaurants in the northern part of Fort Wayne – 800 Degrees, Yogurt on Your Own and Courtney’s Bakery – are opening or have opened second locations in the southern part of the city.

In August 2009, 800 Degrees opened on Lima Road and immediately found success. General Manager Matthew Rogers says it’s because of the authenticity of the product: the pizza is wood fired in an oven imported from the Tuscany region of Italy; Caputo flour is imported from Naples, Italy; and everything except the cheese and pepperoni is made or cut in-house.

In March, Rogers says, 800 Degrees Three Fires will open on Illinois Road. Still under construction, Three Fires (Rogers says he’s not sure how and if customers will choose to shorten the name) will seat nearly twice as many people as 800 Degrees and will feature, yes, three fires: two Tuscany-imported refractory ovens, like the Lima location, and one hearth. Rogers took a trip to South America in October to study how people there use a hearth for cooking, and Three Fires will incorporate an Argentinean-style grill in its cooking.

Courtney’s Bakery on Coldwater Road opened three years ago, and the second location is nearly complete. Owner Courtney Hamm says she hopes the second location will open Jan. 25.

The new bakery, on West Jefferson Boulevard, will offer more walk-in-type goodies – bagels, cupcakes, breads, cookies and pies – though Courtney’s specializes in custom cakes.

She attributes part of her success to shows such as “Ace of Cakes” on Food Network and “Cake Boss” on TLC.

“People expect more than what they have to offer at grocery stores,” Hamm says. “People want more elaborate cakes and cooler cakes.”

Yogurt on Your Own – or YoYo for short – opened shop on Lima Road in April and Illinois Road in December, and a third Fort Wayne store is in the works, but owner Ty Bello is mum on the details.

Bello works fast: He first got the idea to bring a DIY frozen yogurt shop to Fort Wayne in September 2010 on a trip in Oklahoma. He went home, told his family about his idea and opened the Lima shop seven months later and the Illinois shop eight months after that.

He had always planned to make YoYo a chain, and the success of the first store only solidified his resolve to open multiple shops. Even in the midst of winter, the frozen yogurt shop is busy.

Saturday night, there was a crowd at 8 p.m. at the Lima store as folks stood in line to make one of the 1.3 sextillion possible concoctions of dessert. (That, for the non-mathematically inclined, is a 13 followed by 20 zeros.)

Awards

Eight culinary arts students from Ivy Tech Community College will have an opportunity to study in France this summer.

Students competed this month in the Mystery Basket Competition, where students were given four hours to write a menu devised from three ingredients in the mystery basket. They had to cook the food and serve it to three professional chef judges.

Twenty-four students competed, and the winners who get to study in France are Liza Aldrich, Michelle Aschliman, Jeremy Blakely, Brian Goshert, Chris Kellum, Mercedes Lockhart, Ryan Messman and Liat Peters.

New restaurant

A new Chinese buffet opened in Waynedale at 11 a.m. Monday. Phoenix Dragon Hibachi Buffet has takeout and $4.50 lunch specials in addition to the buffet, located on a 20-foot-by-6-foot boat in the middle of the restaurant.

This is owner Mike Chen’s first restaurant in town – he moved to Fort Wayne recently from Boston – but his family has a history in restaurants; his uncle owns A1 Kitchen in Decatur.

The Dish features restaurant news and food events and appears every Wednesday. Fax news items to 461-8893, email jyouhana@jg.net or call 461-8462.

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