Restaurant Notes: Ivy’s Jerk Joint opening Saturday; Aldi opening first Auburn store

Ivy's Jerk Chicken opens  Saturday at 2836 S. Clinton St. (Photo courtesy of Ivy's Jerk Chicken)

Ivy's Jerk Chicken opens Saturday at 2836 S. Clinton St. (Photo courtesy of Ivy's Jerk Chicken)

Willie Ivy promises the food at his Ivy’s Jerk Joint will taste like you’re on the Caribbean island.

Ivy’s Jerk Joint will have its grand opening Saturday. The restaurant, which will serve Jamaican jerk barbecue chicken, salmon, shrimp and more, is at 2836 S. Clinton St. Its posted hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-5 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

“It’s hot, but flavorful,” Ivy said of Jamaican jerk spice, which is usually a blend of chilies, thyme, cinnamon, garlic and nutmeg.

“I started on the street … with my (chicken) wings cooked off a grill,” said Ivy, who’ll turn 32 next Friday and is a native of Memphis, Tenn., though he’s lived in Fort Wayne since he was 3. He learned to barbecue from his uncle, who passed away about three years ago, he said.

Ivy has moved his grill around to a few places from Pontiac Street to Waynedale to the American Legion on Lewis Street where he’s cooked for Jerk Fridays.

“The demand was so high for my wings,” he said, so he decided to try a restaurant.

He can proudly say his whole wings are award-winning after last summer’s inaugural Lima (Ohio) Wing Festival, where his wings were favored over the other vendor’s. He told the Lima News he braises the meat and then marinates it for three nights to get it nice and juicy.

While he emphasizes that he’s not Jamaican, the home of jerk cooking, he and his wife, Umekia, honeymooned on the island nation, and he insists his jerk “tastes like theirs.”

While Fort Wayne has a lot of barbecue restaurants, he says he’ll be introducing into the city jerk turkey ribs, which will be a special Saturday.

He’ll have five family members helping at the restaurant, including his wife, mother, brother and nephew, Marcus “Jerk King” Ivy.

All dinners come with Jamaican hard dough, two sides with jerk sauce or Jamaican barbecue sauce. A jerk leg-quarter dinner is $8.99, 4-wing dinner is $10.99 and a jerk chicken dinner is $14.99. Other choices and platters available. See www.facebook.com/ivysjerkjoint or call 260-999-6133.

ALDI OPENING IN AUBURN

Aldi plans to hold a grand opening Thursday for its first store in Auburn.

The new store, 207 Touring Drive, has bright colors, high ceilings and natural lighting, according to a news release.

Aldi touts its lower costs compared to traditional grocery stores, along with its organic produce and liveGfree gluten-free line and its SimplyNature products. Part of its cost-saving is a 25-cent cart rental system so employees don’t need to haul back carts, and requiring customers to bring their own bags.

It will hold a ribbon cutting for the new store at 8:25 a.m. Thursday. The first 100 customers will receive a golden ticket for gift cards in varying amounts.

The store is part of Aldi’s $3.4 billion investment to increase the number of its stores to 2,500 by 2022. Last March in Fort Wayne it opened a new 18,397-square-foot store at 4750 Coldwater Road to replace one nearby on Lima Road. Aldi also has stores at 10007 Lima and 7325 S. Anthony Blvd.

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

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