Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Churubusco diner honors service members

Patriotism in abundance at Heroes

Churbusco diner Heroes is run by an Air Force veteran.

Dean Jackson

Whatzup Features Writer

Published October 12, 2022

Traveling through Churubusco, you are likely to speed right past Heroes Family Bistro and Pub in the appropriately named Turtle Town Plaza on Indiana 33.

A few years ago, after operating as a franchise, owner Tim Fensler opted to go it on his own as an independent pizza joint, saying they kept most of the menu and added a few of their own things, includes a subtle but full bar.

In the dining room is a table in the corner that is set off to honor those Missing in Action, service members who were never accounted for after forces returned, a solemn reminder that many wars aren’t over for families. 

In the middle of the dining area is a mantle of honor for family members or those with a close connection with the owners and the staff of the restaurant, some in military fine dress, some posed with their weapons, and others from a wedding decades and decades ago. Finding its way to the display is a local police chief.

Other walls offer tributes to other heroes from wars past.

Fensler, who is an Air Force vet, tells me about the local people on the mantle. One was his father, the other his grandfather, then one by one he tells me of their service and connection to the staff and community. I pause to reflect and keep a tear from rolling too far down my cheek.

Service is the keyword at Heroes after I’ve been here a couple times in the last couple weeks. One time I was given a tour of the joint, showing off the bar. Let me tell you, this is about as family friendly of a bar as I’ve ever seen. 

Another time, he saw me come, and even before he knew me he personally invested the time to talk to me while a young worker was taking the order for carryout. The owner also ambled through and asked me a few questions and genuinely cared to listen. 

And even better than that was the constant checking in on me and my order: An order they purposely told me they could make any way I wanted. 

This is one of those places that I now seek out when I have time on my travels around Churubusco. I’ve eaten here even when I am not hungry, because it’s so comfortable.

Winner, winner, some great options for dinner

The Northeast Indiana Local Food Network announced the winners of their second annual Food Throwdown, where local chefs and mixologists gathered for a friendly competition on Sept. 26 at The Summit with the emphasis on local ingredients from farms in the network.

Samantha Kim and True Kimchi won for best appetizer, while Aaron Butts of the Cooper Spoon took home best entree, Spencer Maule of Mercado was awarded best cocktail, and Grace Kelly May of GK Baked Goods got the best dessert. 

The Northeast Indiana Local Food Network is a nonprofit focused on growing and connecting local growers, restaurants, and producers. 

Come for the kimchi

Speaking of True Kimchi, the restaurant will host a grand opening Friday, Oct. 14, at 2805 E. State Blvd. 

The Korean cafe features soups and kimchi made onsite. We’ll check it out and tell you what all the fuss about kimchi is about. 

It’s all happening downtown

On Monday, Oct. 17, Proximo at Ash Skyline Plaza is hosting a special Vietnamese Cocktail Dinner with a six-course dinner from 6-9 p.m. Entrees include roasted alligator, marinated steak, squid, shrimp, and cocktails at a communal table. Tickets are required by calling (260) 422-0080.

Also downtown on Monday, The Hoppy Gnome is hosting Stranger Things trivia night. You can participate as a team or individual, but you must purchase a ticket, which includes beer and food. To take party, register at gnometownbrewing.com/events. The Hoppy Gnome is at Berry and South Clinton streets.

O’Charley’s is partnering with the Folded Flag Foundation to help spouses and children of U.S. military and government personnel who died as a result of hostile action or an accident related to combat operations. For every $5 donated, you’ll receive a coupon for $5 off your meal. The company says 100 percent of proceeds go to families. The promotion applies to online contributions or in-person payments at a participating restaurant. Locally, O’Charley’s is at Jefferson Pointe.

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