Junk Ditch Brewing Company
We’ve been enjoying quite the culinary renaissance in Fort Wayne these days, and that has given rise to a culture of food fanatics. A handful of top-notch restaurants have opened in the past year, and one of my favorites is Junk Ditch Brewing Company from the folks who brought us Affine Food Truck.
If you’ve lived in Fort Wayne at any time during the past few years, you are likely aware of our booming food truck culture. What began a few years ago with the Bravas Hot Dog cart parked on the corner of Wayne and Calhoun streets has exploded into a scene with dozens of food trucks scattered throughout the city on any given day. Because I try to eat (mostly) healthy, Affine became my go-to mobile lunch because they will make any of their sandwiches into a salad – an extremely fresh and delicious salad.
When I heard they were opening a brick and mortar establishment, I could not wait. The wait was worth it. Junk Ditch does not disappoint. Located in the old Korte Paper Company warehouse on West Main Street, it serves up some creatively refined dishes in an industrial warehouse setting. People from larger cities might feel like this theme is played out, but it works well in Fort Wayne which hasn’t yet been saturated with the warehouse-turned-restaurant trend. It is casual and comfortable, yet simultaneously elegant. I always feel special dining there.
The dinner menu, designed to encourage sharing, offers a nice selection of small and large plates. It also changes often, so what you savor today, may not be available tomorrow. For some, this may be unsettling. People like consistency, but for adventurous eaters this is a dream come true. I don’t check the menu online before my visit because part of the experience for me is being surprised and delighted when I get there. If that’s not your style, you can always check the website for the latest menu. They updated it regularly.
Junk Ditch boasts an “everything from scratch” philosophy, and that is certainly evident in the final entrees. Highlights from a recent trip for dinner include Strawberry & Beets Salad with fennel, arugula, nasturtium and sesame seeds; Crispy Veal Sweetbreads with charred cauliflower, tomato, lemon, thyme, pepitas and white anchovy; and Duck with broccoli, corn, onions, arugula, mint, cherries and pistachios. Junk Ditch certainly stretches one’s comfort zone by mixing flavors and ingredients you may not have thought to mix. The result is simply splendid.
Perhaps the best thing about the new(ish) restaurant is the brunch. Junk Ditch is open for brunch on Saturday and Sunday, and my hands-down favorite dish is the Shrimp and Grits, served with polenta, scallion, fried egg, bread crumbs and shrimp gravy. Another must-try is the cinnamon roll – best I’ve ever had. I suggest getting the pastry board to share. All pastries are made in-house by GK Baked Goods, and the assortment is always changing. I have ordered it three times, and I have loved it every time.
Of course, what would a Brewing Company be without beer? Last time I visited, Junk Ditch was serving five of its own house beers as well as a nice selection of guest beers. I am particularly fond of the Camelote, a dry saison.
by Amber Foster
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Josh Johnson — Comedy at Calhoun Street Soups, Salads & Spirits, Fort Wayne, 7 p.m., $10, (260) 456-7005
Vince Gill — Country at Embassy Theatre, Fort Wayne, 7 p.m., $39.50-$79.50, 424-5665
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Community Orchestra — Mussorsky's Pictures at an Exhibition at Auer Performance Hall, Rhinehart Music Center, IPFW, Fort Wayne, 7:30 p.m., $4-$7, 481-6555
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41st SOCA Student Exhibition — Works from students currently enrolled at USF’s School of Creative Arts, daily thru April 30, Weatherhead Gallery, USF Rolland Art Center, University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
Fort Wayne Artist Guild Exhibitions — Works by Alice Siefert at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Jennifer Caudel at Allen County Retinal Surgeons, Anita Trick, Citizens Square (2nd and 3rd floors), Darlene Selzer Miller at The Einhaus Group for Women’s Health, Patricia Weiss at Heritage of Fort Wayne, Emily Jane Butler at Ophthalmology Consultants (Southwest), Linda Binek at Ophthalmology Consultants (North), Carolyn Stachera at Rehabilitation Hospital of Fort Wayne, John Kelty at ResCare Inc. Adult Day Service, Wiletta Blevins at Town House Retirement, Karen Bixler at Visiting Nurse Hospice and Barb Yoder and Karen Harvey at Will Jewelers, thru April 30, fortwayneartistguild.org.
Glass: A Medium in Art and Automobiles — Dale Chihuly blown glass and fiberglass auto, daily thru Sept. 8, Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum, Auburn, $7.50-$12.50, 925-1444
Outdoor Sculpture Invitational — Fifteen outdoor sculptures from regional artists, daily thru April 30, School of Creative Arts campus, University of Saint Francis North Campus, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
Rhoda Gerig: The Hope of Eagles — Photographic images of eagles, daily thru June 4, Clark Gallery, Honeywell Center, Wabash, 563-1102
Spring 2017 BFA Exhibition — Exhibition of works by IPFW graduation seniors, daily thru May 3 , Jeffrey R. Krull Gallery, Main Library, Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, 481-6709
Spring 2017 BFA Exhibition — Senior thesis projects from Bachelor of Fine Arts candidates Brenda Drayer (sculpture), Derek Hibbs (printmaking), Ellen Mensch (painting), Nathaniel Morris (sculpture) and Kyle Snodgrass (sculpture), daily thru May 7, Visual Arts Gallery, IPFW, Fort Wayne, 481-6709