Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Village Tap reopens after car hits building

Stacy's in Leesburg closing; Laz's Cuban Cafe and Benji's Caribbean Spot open

It did not take long for The Village Tap to reopen after a car crashed into it.

Dean Jackson

Whatzup Features Writer

Published December 21, 2022

After closing for about a week due to a car slamming into the side of the building on Dec. 9, The  Village Tap on East State Boulevard has reopened. 

The vehicle had attempted to avoid a collision near the East State Boulevard and Crescent Avenue intersection when it crashed into the building. No one was injured in the car or inside the building. 

Despite severe damage to the building, The Village Tap was back at it eight days later, welcoming patrons back for some beef stroganoff, chicken pot pie, and pork belly eggs Benedict on Dec. 17. 

To make up for lost time, they had rare Monday hours this week, but will be closed for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

After 50 years, Stacy’s closing in Leesburg

It is the end of the line for Stacy’s in Leesburg. 

After 50 years, the Haines family is closing the restaurant. A Facebook post this month heralded the news. In 1972, Stacy and Colleen Haines, with little restaurant experience, purchased the eatery. 

No word on new ownership, but current owner, Tyler Haines, says they will “work to make sure gift certificates are redeemed or honored.” Their last night is Dec. 31.

Haines says they plan to bottle their popular salad dressing for sale. 

Cajun spot set to open at Jefferson Pointe

There’s been plenty of talk of Yats coming to town, and now we are being told it’s close to opening in the Jefferson Pointe Shopping Plaza. 

With a New Orleans-style — Cajun Creole to be precise — Yats is a quick-serve eatery, much like Chipotle or Subway with a chalk menu board. 

On that board, as you might expect from a Cajun restaurant, are red beans, sausage, white and black chili, and their etouffee (eh-too-fey), a stew-like dish smothering rice and often paired with crayfish, along with classic gumbo and jambalaya. Plus, they have vegan and vegetarian options.

All dishes are served on rice with a slice of Cajun butter baguette. Paying is easy, since there are just two prices.

Yes, it’s spicy. There are about a dozen Yats locations around Indianapolis, where it was founded, as well as one in Ohio and one in Tennessee.

South-side market closer to reality

Last week, the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission gave the green light to a full-service grocery store at 918 E. Pontiac St., known as Pontiac Street Market.

The city has long made a grocery story in the area a priority, calling it an underserved area. 

The project, with the city partnering with Parkview Regional Medical Center and Affiliates, is expected to top $4 million, will include a pharmacy in the 6,500-square-foot building. 

If everything goes according to plan, construction could begin in February and the store could open in the fall. 

Rescue Mission sets mark for free meals

The Fort Wayne Rescue Mission says they set a record by serving more than 5,000 meals for Thanksgiving. 

Officials say Christmas could be another record, and they are planning for about 4,000 meals. Cold weather could push it even higher. 

Meals are free, but served as carry-out only this year. You can contribute to the Mission’s meal programs at fwrm.org.

Worth a road trip? 

I don’t typically spotlight news from outside northeast Indiana, but this one requires investigation.

Less than two hours away, Artisan in Elkhart has been called a “once-in-a-lifetime meal’’ by the website EatThis.com, which looks at restaurants in all 50 states and picks one joint from each that they say is “actually worth traveling for.” The article makes the distinction that it has nothing to do with the price or the atmosphere. It’s all about food that stands out. 

Located at 505 S. Main St. in Elkhart, Artisan was opened in 2015 by chef Kurt Janowsky, who set out to create a “warm and inviting modern American restaurant that delivers an uncommon hospitality experience.”

In 2019, the restaurant was honored by Open Table as one of its top 100 restaurants of the year and received AAA’s Four Diamond Award and Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence.

Open for business

We teased this a few weeks ago, and now it’s official. The popular food truck Laz’s Cuban Cafe opened a brick and mortar store on Dec. 16. The eatery is serving up coffee, sandwiches, and pastries in the shopping center near Lima and Dupont roads in the space formerly occupied by Pastor’s Place. 

A grand opening for Benji’s Caribbean Spot was held Dec. 10 at 5978 Stellhorn Road in the old Mandarin restaurant near Arby’s. You can try authentic Haitian food, including fried pork, goat, red snapper, jerk chicken, and pumpkin soup, to name a few.

Off the Eaten Path is the Whatzup weekly column that covers Northeast Indiana’s restaurant and food news. Send your news items to info@whatzup.com.

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