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The Dish

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Community on their mind

As they prepared to open their first restaurant, Derrick and Annette Dufor wanted the place to be more about flavorful barbecue and homemade dishes.

The couple wanted it to do some good.

“We want to help lift the neighborhood back up,” Derrick Dufor says. “That’s why we called it the Neighborhood Smokehouse. We want to strengthen the community.”

The restaurant, 1403 Winter St., opened in mid-December. The Dufors have always cooked and entertained and were encouraged by friends “to take the show on the road.”

The show includes pulled pork, chicken wings (smoked or fried), ribs, rib tips and turkey tips. Available side dishes are green beans, baked beans, fresh-cut french fries, fried okra and homemade macaroni and cheese.

Though they had been cooking on their own, the Dufors did employ the help of a North Carolina man they call “The Pitmaster.” He helped develop the rub recipe and taught them how to smoke meat.

“He taught us how to make the meat fall off the bone.”

Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

Savory empanadas

Krystal Vega has been keeping her ears open since buying Yum-Mee’s Bakery on East State Boulevard in August.

When customers of the now Zinnia’s Bakehouse found out Vega had Hispanic heritage, they requested she bring in those traditions. And so came the empanadas – pumpkin and fruit flavors.

Now, the flavors are diverging from the sweet side.

“Our customers have been asking for more of our savory lunch items,” Vega says. “We’re doing deli sandwiches and cups of soup. … We’re also doing a hot torta – a Mexican hot sandwich.”

The tortas, which have beans and vegetables, are available in ham, turkey and milanesa – a breaded tenderloin. They cost $6.50 and come with a cookie. Deli sandwiches are $7.50 for a half, and it includes soup and a cookie.

The bakehouse, 1320 E. State Blvd., is also experimenting with its baked goods. The case will feature fewer cupcakes and more brownies and gourmet rice cereal treats (think chocolate ganache with M&M’s).

Tour of ethnic food

It was a little bit of jealousy that sparked Mark Meyer’s imagination.

While his youngest daughter traveled the world, Meyer wanted to take his own tour but without the cost. He needed to find a way to travel the world without leaving Allen County.

And he did. Through his taste buds.

The World Says Eat Me takes folks to locally owned and operated ethnic restaurants in the area.

“(The restaurants are) out of way places that I assume people have not found or may not go on their own,” he says. “Some people find these places intimidating – they don’t know what’s on the menu or don’t know how to pronounce the dishes.”

The tour makes its first stop of 2014 at 5:30 p.m. today at Paper Lantern, 4610 Coldwater Road. Upcoming stops include Tacos Arandas El Amish and JT’s Soul Food.

For more information, go to, or email Meyer at

Meyer is also hosting a bus tour of ethnic grocery stores in Fort Wayne on Jan. 11. Information is also available on the Facebook page.

The Dish features restaurant news and food events and appears Wednesdays. Fax news items to 461-8893, email or call 461-8462.