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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, August 15, 2018 1:00 am

Facade grant temporarily shuts Saigon

Kimberly Dupps Truesdell | For The Journal Gazette

Plywood covered the windows and the sign was turned off.

To a passer-by, Saigon Restaurant looked shuttered.

But the Vietnamese restaurant at 2006 S. Calhoun St. is only closed temporarily for renovations, having secured a facade grant from the city.

It has anticipated a reopening date of Aug. 23.

Mayor Tom Henry's office announced in April that Saigon would be one of 10 local businesses to receive commercial facade grants.

The city's facade grant program is designed to help business owners make improvements to the exterior of their commercial properties, including new siding, architectural features, signage, lighting, awnings and parking improvements.

According to the information posted, work at Saigon includes new storefront windows and doors, new signage, repaired brick, a fabric awning, lighting and sidewalks.

But peeking inside the windows of the restaurant, where chairs were placed upside down on tables and ladders were near the cash stand, it looks as if the work is continuing inside.

Paneling and paper appear to have been removed from the walls and the subfloor is exposed in areas.

The city requires applicants to provide a dollar-for-dollar match in order to receive the grant.

Don Hall's nearly open

A three- to four-week renovation turned into three months, but it looks as if Don Hall's Original Drive-In is inching closer to a reopening date.

The Don Hall's location on Bluffton Road shut its doors in May so the business could make extensive improvements, including adding a drive-in area where the back dining room once was.

The restaurant is hosting open interviews today from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., hiring for all positions, full and part time.

A post on the restaurant's Facebook page invites applicants to “be part of the team of this historic reopening of our Original location!”

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

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-1980s.

SolBird preview

Teds market will host a preview night for the soon-to-be food truck turned restaurant – SolBird Kitchen & Tap.

SolBird is a venture between Jerry Perez, owner of Sol Kitchen, and Ben Thompson of Bird Boy Brewing.

The preview night will be from 5 to 11 p.m. Aug. 28 at the 12628 Coldwater Road market, which has become a hot spot for the local food truck scene, hosting mobile units on Thursday nights and for special events.

Tacos and other SolBird fare will be available on the Sol Kitchen Truck. Birdboy beer will be available on draft inside teds.

Plans for SolBird, which will occupy the former Friends location at 1824 W. Dupont Road, were announced late last year.

Perez joins other food truck operators who have opened restaurants, including Bo Gonzalez of Bravas and the team of Affine, which operates Junk Ditch Brewing Co.

Charity event

Visiting Nurse will host its 10th annual “A Toast to Life: Specialty Beer and Food Pairing Dinner” from 3:30 to 7 p.m. Sept. 9 at Walb Union Ballroom at Purdue University Fort Wayne.

The event includes a six-course meal prepared by Club Soda, with each course paired with a select specialty beer from Revolution Brewing chosen by the experts at Five Star Distributing.

This event also features a live and silent auction of experience-based items donated by area businesses and individuals.

“A Toast to Life” supports Visiting Nurse, a community-based, nonprofit hospice and palliative care provider.

Tickets are $125 a person, and seating is limited. Call 435-3222 or visit to purchase tickets or to make a donation.

Reservations are requested by Aug 31.

Around town

• Qdoba, 4716 Illinois Road, has closed.

Potbelly Sandwich Shops has released two sandwiches for summer: the Classic BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich and the Spicy BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich. There is a Potbelly at 501 Coliseum Blvd. E. in the Coliseum Shoppes plaza.

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