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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, June 20, 2018 1:00 am

Hall's still renovating original spot

Kimberly Dupps Truesdell | For The Journal Gazette

It's been a month since the Hall family temporarily closed the original restaurant at 1502 Bluffton Road.

The goal was to be finished by this time with the extensive renovation of the restaurant, which was built in the mid-1960s. The original Don Hall's opened in 1946 but the building burned down in the early 1960s.

The restaurant had a drive-up dining area until the late '60s, and the last renovation was in the mid-'80s.

The renovation project includes adding a drive-in area where the back dining room once was, as well as a sense of nostalgia.

“We were over-ambitious in our time schedule,” says Jeff Hall, one of Don Hall's sons who works in the business. “We're making good progress, but there was a lot of progress to make.”

Along with the drive-in, the project includes reworking the bathroom, the lobby, east dining room, kitchen and HVAC system.

“Yeah, it will be pretty special once it's all done,” Hall says, adding he expects the work to be done in early July.

But the updates don't stop at the building. Though it is still in development, there will be changes to the menu. Don't worry, all the old favorites will stay. Buster included – I checked.

“That's the legacy. That's legendary,” Hall says.

The remodeling project has been on the books for a while but comes at a time when Quimby Village has experienced a rebirth, in part because of the Clyde Theatre project.

“There's a lot of momentum,” Hall says. “It's bigger than just us. It's the neighborhood, the setting, the parks, the trails – lots of parts involved.

“It's really been a fun, good experience. We're real tickled.”

Conjure adds chef

James Beard-nominated chef Sean Richardson has a new role – leading the kitchen at Conjure Coffee.

The coffee shop just east of downtown has made a name for itself with its artisan beverages and specialty roasts since opening nearly two years ago.

Owner Corey Waldron and his crew introduced a limited cafe lunch menu this year. The menu highlights locally sourced ingredients from area purveyors such as Hawkins Farm and GK Baked Goods and dishes include gourmet toasts, waffles, salads and quiche.

The addition of Richardson, whose résumé includes Joseph Decuis and opening The Golden with Aaron Butts, will create a new menu at the 701 Columbia Ave. shop. According to posts on social media, Richardson begins at Conjure this week.

Another change is afoot, too, as a patio area with garage doors is being added.

Richardson was nominated, along with Butts, for Best Chef: Great Lakes in 2017 for his work at the Golden, which occupied the southeast corner of the Ash Skyline Plaza. It closed in November 2017 after 17 months in business. 

Corral promotion

Golden Corral launched a new promotion this week, offering 99-cent children's meals.

Ages 4 to 12 can enjoy the dinner buffet and a drink for 99 cents. Ages 3 and younger eat free.

The offer is available after 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and after 11 a.m. on Sunday through July 22.

Limit two kids offers per adult buffet purchase.

Around town

The Peach Truck is gearing up for its sixth annual The Peach Truck Tour. Straight-from-the-farm freestone Georgia peaches will be making their way across Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Pennsylvania.

The truck will be in Fort Wayne on July 10 and 31 at Connolly's Do-it-Best Hardware stores: 515 E. Dupont Road, 8 to 10 a.m.; 5221 S. Calhoun St., 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and 10301 Illinois Road, 2:30 to 4 p.m.

Trubble Brewing has rescheduled its Blaze Up BBQ Competition because there were not enough teams registered. The brewery has tentatively set a date of Sept. 15 with an alternate date of Sept. 22.

The Dish features restaurant news and food events and appears Wednesdays. Fax news items to 461-8893, email or call 461-8304.