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The Journal Gazette

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Junk Ditch Brewing Co. will be in this building on West Main Street.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016 6:37 pm

Affine owners working on local brewery

Kimberly Dupps Truesdell | The Journal Gazette

Two weeks. From start to finish, it takes two weeks for a batch of home-brewed beer to be ready for bottling.

But for the owners of Affine Food Truck, the process of opening their own brick-and-mortar restaurant/brewery has taken a lot longer.

Jack May, an Affine co-owner (there are three), says the idea for Junk Ditch Brewing Co. came about a few years ago.

"We always wanted (to open) a restaurant, and we’ve always had a passion for beer and locally crafted things. We thought, ‘Why not wrap that into the restaurant?’ " May says. "At that time, there was only one local microbrewery in Fort Wayne."

The team spent time looking for a space and found it nearly two years ago at 1825 W. Main St. The two-story brick warehouse, which sits on 2 acres of land, is nestled behind a row of houses just before West Main intersects with Leesburg Road.

"It’s a sturdy building. It’s been there forever," May says. "It’s got that nice industrial (look) that we like."

But there were problems, specifically with the soil. It had to be cleaned and tested, and it took another year before the Affine owners could buy the building. They did so in November.

And it was just last month when construction began for Junk Ditch. It’s hard to picture how the space will look – the concrete floor was in pieces the day I visited. An original carriage door, once hidden in brick, was leaning up against the wall.

May and his co-owners have the vision, though. The dining space will have an open feeling, with a two-story-high space and three walls of exposed brick.

As for the menu, like the space, it’s under construction. May says it will have the same spirit of the food truck – well-thought out food using local and minimally processed ingredients.

But that’s where the similarities end. The focus will be on shareable plates – small appetizers with diners ordering three or four for a table of two and large entrées that can be split between two people.

"We’re definitely going to move the menu toward a community, sharing style," May says.

As for the beer, the brewery will focus on quality not quantity, maintaining a relatively small tap list of 10 to 14. Half of the brews will be Junk Ditch, and the other half will be from producers as "close to home as possible."

May says they will make a full spectrum of beer – IPAs, stouts and lagers.

Owners are hesitant to set a timeline for opening – understandable given the journey so far.

Octoberfest buffet

The Venice Restaurant, 2242 Goshen Road, will celebrate Octoberfest on Friday.

The buffet, which will be available 5 to 9 p.m., will include Wiener schnitzel, beef rouladen, sauerbraten, brats and sauerkraut, cabbage rolls, potato pancakes and German potato salad.

The cost is $19.95 for adults and $7.50 for children.

There will be Bitburger and St. Pauli Girl beer and riesling wine available. Entertainment will also be provided.

For reservations, call 482-1618.

The Dish features restaurant news and food events and appears Wednesdays. Fax news items to 461-8893, email or call 461-8727.