From the community tables to a menu with shareable plates, the team at Hop River Brewing Co. is hoping to create a sense of community.
The brewery, which is in the heart of the city's riverfront development plan on North Harrison Street, will open Saturday. The grand opening, which will be from noon to 12:30 a.m., will feature raffles, cornhole and the chance to check out the brewhouse.
“We want people to be able to create memories and get to know each other and make friends,” says Mary Corinne Lowenstein-DeGood, director of marketing and human resources.
The menu created by Zach Croy, who helped launch Bravas and interned at Joseph Decuis, features shareable plates, soups, salads and sandwiches.
Lowenstein-DeGood says Croy and the team are aware of various dietary needs, and the menu is vegan and vegetarian friendly with gluten-free options. It's also family friendly.
There will likely be two soups on the menu, one of which will be vegetarian or vegan. The salads might include a composite salad with a quinoa base.
But even with a strong craft-kitchen program, Hop River is hoping to fit in a niche in the city, “knowing that we're very beer forward,” Lowenstein-DeGood says.
The brewery has a new system from American Beer Equipment in Nebraska. It's a 15-barrel system that can brew up to 450 gallons of beer. Hop River hopes to can or bottle beer eventually, Lowenstein-DeGood says.
The brewery will have 16 taps, though it will take some time to fill those up.
With a two-way license, Hop River will also have area wines and cider from Kekionga Cider Co.
The steel tanks for brewing are behind windows, allowing visitors to get a look inside the brewhouse.
The team hopes they will “view it as amazing and beautiful as we do,” Lowenstein-DeGood says.
Hours will be 4 to 10:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 4 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Friday; noon to 12:30 a.m. Saturday; and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.
Park Place series
The chef at Park Place on Main and the maestro of Heartland Sings are hoping to hit the right note with their culinary collaboration.
“In the Mix” is a dinner series, which began this week, featuring music from Heartland Sings' principal vocal artists and maestro Robert Nance. Each meal, the next of which is Tuesday, has a unique theme and drink special from the Park Place chef.
The upcoming themes: Cabaret Night, Tuesday; Valentine's Eve, Feb. 13; and Jazz Night, Feb. 20. There will be two seatings each night – 5 and 8 p.m.
Reservations are recommended. Call the downtown restaurant, 200 E. Main St., at 420-8633.
Ex-Golden chefs doing dinner
Aaron Butts and Sean Richardson are back in the kitchen together as they prepare for a special meal at Green Oak Farm in Fort Wayne.
The intimate dinner, which is a partnership with Hawkins Family Farm in North Manchester, will be from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Feb. 9.
Hearthside Winter will celebrate the local food movement that the James Beard-nominated chefs pushed at their downtown restaurant The Golden, which closed last year in the Ash Skyline building.
The two are trying to use storage crops and meats from Hawkins for the dinner, and the menu will feature dishes such as celeriac soup with chicken chorizo, turkey and smoked ham hock terrine and beef brisket with carrot barbecue, rutabaga and lamb fat mayo.
“It's exciting to see the creative process at work when given a limited amount of ingredients only available in the dead of winter from one northeast Indiana farm,” Butts shared.
Tickets are $100, and seating is limited to 18 people.
Cakes at library
Simply Cakes, a custom cake shop, is hosting an open consultation Saturday.
From 3 to 5:30 p.m. at the Allen County Public Library, brides and grooms can meet with Jovon Harvey Jr. and discuss cakes for their upcoming 2018-19 nuptials.
There will be display cakes, samples, information and photos for couples.
For more, go to www.mysimplycakes.com.
With a fizz and a pop, the inaugural Summit City Craft Soda Festival and Winter Carnival will celebrate the days when soda was made with natural cane sugar and came in a glass bottle.
The event will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Feb. 10 at the University of Saint Frances Performing Arts Center.
There will be more than 100 vintage and craft sodas to sample and purchase. The family-friendly event will also feature old-time carnival games and live entertainment.
A portion of the proceeds from Fizz Fest 2018 are going to support Blessings in a Backpack.
General admission is $5. For tickets, go to http://bit.ly/FizzFestTickets. Wristbands will be available for $20 at the door and will allow event-goers unlimited samples.
It will be quite the week for sweets lovers – Fat Tuesday on Feb. 13 and Valentine's Day the next day.
Waynedale Bakery on Lower Huntington Road is gearing up to satisfy those indulging before Lent and the lovers.
For Fat Tuesday, the bakery will have paczkis and King Cakes. The cake will serve 12 to 15 and will cost $15.
For Valentine's, there will be raspberry tortes ($3), iced heart-shaped cookies ($12 a dozen) and heart-shaped chocolate chip cookies ($7 for 6-inch and $13 for 9-inch).
To order, call 747-2992.
Big Easy Feast
With a menu honoring the culinary traditions of New Orleans, the Rotary Club of Fort Wayne will transform the Lincoln Financial Event Center at Parkview Field into the Big Easy.
The Rotary Big Easy Feast will be Feb. 13 and will support the club's riverfront development project to pay for the water jet fountains on the south plaza just east of Compass Pavilion in Promenade Park, which is under construction, says Jeff Krull, head of the Big Easy Feast event.
Krull says the feast committee has worked closely with Parkview Field Chef Scott Kammerer and staff about developing a totally new and sumptuous menu for this year's feast.
“I feel as though the menu has grown and only gotten better,” he said. “We were really glad we could keep the price the same at $30 per person for lunch or dinner.”
There will be a live band and cash bar throughout the event.
Additionally, the feast will feature a custom-made “Rotary Big Easy Brew” from Gnome Brewing Co. This marks the second year The Hoppy Gnome has been a sponsor of the feast, with members of the Rotary Club of Fort Wayne and Rotaract Club of Fort Wayne (for young adults) developing the brew for the feast.
The menu will feature seafood etoufee, andouille- stuffed pork roast, dirty rice, Creole hash, charred Cajun cream corn, smothered okra, crab and corn chowder, gumbo, chicory coffee-infused crème brulee and begniets.
Lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner from 4 to 8 p.m.
A cash bar will be available at both meals, and live jazz music will be there as well.
The cost is $30. To buy tickets, go to www.fortwaynerotarybigeasy.eventbrite.com.
• Conjure Coffee is debuting a new lunch menu this week. The coffee shop just east of downtown, which is known for its house-roasted coffee, will be whipping up waffles, smearing toast with avocado and making salads.
• The time is now to start making Valentines' Day reservations. I'll have some ideas for couples in next week's column. Restaurant owners and operators should send specials to email@example.com.
The Dish features restaurant news and food events and appears Wednesdays. Fax news items to 461-8893, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 461-8304.