Restaurant Notes: Flanagan’s, Red River, Window Garden among Bill Bean remodels

Fort Wayne developer Bill Bean hopes to reopen the former Flanagan's in the coming months. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
Nawa has opened on The Landing. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
Ziffles Rib Bar now will have a second Ziffles Zip n Go food truck. (Photo courtesy of Ziffles Zip n Go)
Ziffles spin-off Catering Fort Wayne provides freshly made food. (Photo courtesy of Ziffles Zip n Go)

We learned that Fort Wayne developer Bill Bean is the owner of Flanagan’s, which closed in September when the previous owners retired. Bean gave us an update on his plans for that and other restaurants he has around town.

The goal is to have Flanagan’s, 6525 Covington Road, reopened by St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, but he knows he might need the luck of the Irish to make that date. Remodeling of the Irish pub – with its carousel horse and artifact-filled walls – hasn’t started yet.

“I did hire a couple of former employees that I have working at my other restaurants,” he said. He might move them back to Flanagan’s, where he isn’t sure of what concept he’ll have for the restaurant. Its previous menu included burgers, chicken dishes, shepherd’s pie and Irish nachos incorporating corned beef. What we remember best is the French onion soup and the tall sundae dessert.

With an updated pub-like decor – without huge blaring TVs, please – and less of a hodge-podge of knick-knacks, this might return as a nice family restaurant. The proof will be in the soda bread pudding – or whatever menu items are incorporated.

Meanwhile, Bean knows where Red River Steakhouse is headed. The restaurant is on the former Marriott Inn property at 305 E. Washington Center Road that Bean bought in 2013. The 222-room renamed Hotel Fort Wayne is now getting $2 million in upgrades as a Ramada Plaza full-service hotel.

He’s giving Red River a smokehouse concept. While it will still have steaks and seafood, it will emphasize that more and “raise the bar” in what it serves, he said.

We’ve been waiting to see what’s going to happen on Spy Run Avenue. The former Bill’s Bistro spot should be open in two to three months, he said, which might be about the time he opens what last was the Window Garden Cafe on the 13th floor of the Indiana Michigan Power Center downtown at 101 E. Washington Blvd. SIRVA has moved 400 employees from its former U.S. 30 location into the 27-story building that Bean owns, and they’re hungry.

The Window Garden may return in its cafeteria-style form – or maybe not. We’ll keep checking. He believed it should reopen in the next 60 days.

Whatever the concept, it will draw folks interested in a panoramic view of Fort Wayne that those of us in low-to-the-ground offices don’t get.

Things are going well for the former Bar 145 location on North Clinton Street, said Bean. What we thought would take the old Bill’s Bistro name at 4910 N. Clinton St. is Hamilton Public House. It started having live music Friday nights and has craft beers and trivia Tuesday nights. According to its Facebook page, it’s named for Allen Hamilton (1798-1864), who in addition to being a former Allen County sheriff, state senator and Fort Wayne’s first postmaster, donated his land for use by amateur baseball teams.

Last year, Bean revamped and renamed another of his restaurants. Main Street Bistro and Martini Lounge became Park Place on Main, 200 E. Main St., a throwback to another of its incarnations, Park Place Grill.

NAWA AND SWEET LOU’S OPEN

We’re torn about what to do for lunch today because two new spots have opened that look really tempting.

We told you in September that Nawa planned to bring its Asian fusion taste to The Landing, and it rang in the New Year with regular lunch and dinner service. Judging from the crowd who braved the cold after work Friday evening, downtown employees, residents and visitors are interested in trying what’s new whatever the weather.

It looks like a great place for cocktails and Thai, Chinese and Japanese selections. The Hawaiian fried rice with shrimp served on a pineapple sliced in half exudes flavor from its Facebook page where we hear someone enjoyed a dessert of mangoes in coconut milk and warm rice.

Nawa, which means “new beginning” in Thai, leases space in an existing building at 126 W. Columbia St. and kept the existing brick wall exposed behind the bar.

Related story: Restaurant Notes: Nawa Asian-fusion restaurant opening in November on The Landing

As we first reported in mid-December, Sweet Lou’s Pizza is operating where the Rib Room served a couple of generations in East State Village.

We and a co-worker in the neighborhood have been keeping our eyes and nostrils open, but it appears the Chicago-style pies got by us at a soft opening. Sweet Lou’s, owned by Lou and Anna Henry, planned to officially open at 4 p.m. today.

RELATED STORY: Restaurant Notes Extra: Fort Wayne’s Rib Room to become Sweet Lou’s Pizza

ZIFFLES ADDS SECOND FOOD TRUCK

Ziffles Rib Bar, which celebrated 30 years in business last year, plans to have a second Ziffles Zip n Go food truck by spring, it told us.

“This will be an actual truck easier to get around the city,” wrote Autumn Dennis, whose father, Todd, is co-owner of Ziffles, “and (we’ll) delegate the first one to wineries and out-of-town events. (We even attended Oktoberfest in Nashville, Tenn.) We are going to keep the same exact menu and follow the same blueprint we did on the first truck. We are going to do random food features based upon customer request via social media contests and votes. We really want to engage our loyal customers, who are all considered family.”

The truck sells items including the Notorious P.I.G., a one-third slab of ribs with hand-cut fries for $10.

Also, Dennis wrote that she recently started Catering Fort Wayne, where she is chef, delivering a live, on-site gourmet menu.

She does corporate catering and private events including rehearsal dinners and weddings.

“Food doesn’t sit (in) warmers waiting to get served,” she wrote. “It’s served fresh to order … We have broken down all the ethnic barriers by serving all ethnicities of food from Jamaican, Indian, Thai, Soul Food, Mediterranean, Italian, Cajun, Cuban, Spanish, Vietnamese, BBQ, you name it we create it!!”

You might be tasting her work at Embassy Theatre or Salomon Farm Park events.

A check of her menu page, www.cateringfortwayne.com/menus, has us wishing for an invitation to an upcoming event. There’s the Southern Charm featuring Ziffles Rib Bar’s ribs, pork and chicken with fried green tomatoes, macaroni and cheese and other Southern favorites, and the Asian Fling with curried chicken or shrimp, pad Thai, vegetable somosa, papaya salad and coconut carrot soup. Each comes paired with a drink, including horchata for the Spanish selection.

You can contact her at 1-260-417-7233.

CHEERS FROM IVY TECH

Ivy Tech Community College’s culinary students will be preparing and serving weekly special cuisine dinners.

The spring multicourse meals feature international tastes for $20 per person, plus wine available for purchase.

Dinners are 6:15, 6:30 and 6:45 p.m. Feb. 1, 8, 15 and 22 and March 1 in the Hospitality Room of the Coliseum Campus, 3800 N. Anthony Blvd. Park in the north lot that faces Coliseum Boulevard and enter through Door No. 24. Reservations are required at least 24 hours in advance by calling 1-260-480-2002.

CEREAL CHILLERS

A co-worker spotted the cereal shakes at Steak ‘n Shake. If you love Frosted Flakes, Honey Smacks, Cocoa Krispies and Cinnamon Crunch, why not pair these sugar bombs with ice cream? Reminds us of Burger King’s Froot Loops milkshake we had last summer.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Our co-worker, Kevin Leininger, dished last week on the combined Hardees and Subway restaurant planned for the corner of South Calhoun Street and Rudisill Boulevard. Plans call for two existing buildings to be demolished, including one that currently has a Subway, to create a drive-through, greenspace and a landscaped patio area.

RELATED STORY: New Subway-Hardees restaurant could replace south-side office buildings

Have restaurant news? Call Lisa M. Esquivel Long at 1-260-461-8354, send email to lesquivel@news-sentinel.com or a fax to 260-461-8817 or write Restaurant Notes, C/O The News-Sentinel, PO Box 102, Fort Wayne, IN 46802.

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