Guadalupe’s picks up where Bandidos left off
Broadway Zesto, Handel’s set to open; GnomeTown, FWCS offer classes
The former restaurant chain Bandidos wasn’t just a part of Jimmie Schindler II’s life. It was his life.
Growing up, his father, Jimmie, was building the Tex-Mex restaurant chain that reached all over Fort Wayne and into Portland, Muncie, Bloomington, and Lima, Ohio.
When his father shifted from Jimmie’s Pizza in 1980, Fort Wayne’s restaurant landscape was evolving as Mexican joints were booming.
The evolution has continued with the final Bandidos closing and Schindler moving on with Guadalupe’s.
Confronted with the closure of the Bandidos on Illinois Road, their most profitable restaurant, Guadalupe’s was born.
“It was an opportunity for me to do something different,” Schindler said. “My wife and I, we made a list of the things that we thought some of the bigger chains did not do.”
He pinpointed fresh fruit juices and got educated on how to provide gluten-free and vegan options. He dug deep and pushed his own understanding.
Sidelined as he battled cancer, Schindler had nearly a year to look over financials, brainstorm ideas, and get a new perspective on the family business and how he worked, physically, in the business.
Ultimately, he pulled the trigger and closed the original Bandidos on Winchester Road at the end of January.
Now you can find Guadalupe’s Mexican Grill at 10345 Illinois Road, 10364 Leo Road, and 545 E. Dupont Road. A fourth location at Georgetown Square is set to open as soon as this week.
He expected a positive response, but he wasn’t quite prepared for what he’s received.
“Our reviews have been phenomenal,” Schindler said. “Better than I could have ever imagined. We almost never get complaints. People are so happy to enjoy the food.”
The menus are the creation of Carlos Zepeda, a native of Mexico, who has crafted authentic dishes, with Schindler giving him the freedom to trust his gut.
“The beauty is just the simplicity,” Schindler said. “I mean, there’s a lot more options. We’re also a lot less expensive than our competitors, which is kind of cool in a lot of ways.”
Schindler boasts there are no cans, microwaves, nor freezers at his restaurants.
“We’re shredding cheese off the block,” he said. “We’re slow cooking our meats, hand-cutting our products.”
He calls it “really, healthy food at a reasonable price that they can get quickly.”
Broadway Zesto set to open
As locals say, the first sign of spring is when Zesto at 2225 Broadway opens. Well, that comes Thursday, March 30.
Handel’s plans opening party
The long-awaited opening of Handel’s Ice Cream, 4916 Illinois Road, is Thursday, March 30.
It is the first of two Handel’s set to open this year, with the spot at 1808 W. Dupont Road coming this summer.
To kick off the opening of the Illinois Road eatery, Handel’s is planning an extended celebration. Following the grand opening on Thursday, they will host princesses from 6-9 p.m. on Friday and balloon art from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday. Then Johnny TinCap will stop by from 1-2:30 p.m. on Sunday.
The celebration includes a chance to win free ice cream for a year.
Craft beer workshop
For those do-it-yourselfers, GnomeTown Brewing is hosting a three-week craft beer workshop through Purdue Fort Wayne’s Continuing Education program.
Led by GnomeTown Director of Brewing Mike Flaherty, the three-week course at Hoppy Gnome covers classic and modern beer styles and gives students an immersive experience in brewing beer.
FWCS offers cooking class
Fort Wayne Community Schools is hosting a half-day cooking class for students on Wednesday, April 5, from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 1:30-3 p.m.
The Amazing Chef class gives students instruction on recipes, kitchen and food safety, and food preparation.
Classes are held at the Wendy Robinson Center, 230 E. Douglas Ave., in downtown Fort Wayne. To register, call (260) 467-7260
Off the Eaten Path is the Whatzup weekly column that covers Northeast Indiana’s restaurant and food news. Send your news items to firstname.lastname@example.org.