Thirty local food vendors will be set up along Main Street on Saturday for the fourth annual Taste of the Arts festival.
Sponsored by Arts United, Taste of the Arts invites local restaurants and vendors to set up shop between Lafayette and South Clinton streets on Main Street. The first year the event was sponsored by Arts United, it attracted 5,000 people, says Tena Woenker, who runs the festival. Last year, the turnout was closer to 20,000.
“The nice thing is, it’s not a crowded event,” Woenker says.
The event is spread out among Freimann Square, the Auer Center, Arts United, the History Center and the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, and the food vendors will be set up beneath tents.
New vendors to this year’s festival include Chrome Plated Diner, Shigs in Pit, Vanilla Bean Unique Cookies & Cupcakes and Dicky’s Wild Hare. After hearing that people wanted coffee last year, Higher Grounds will also be set up at the event. Last year, favorite vendors included BakerStreet and Purple Mountain Cheesecake, and The Venice was the first to run out of food.
The vendors are encouraged to sell their food in sample sizes between $2 and $4 so festival-goers can try a little bit of everything, Woenker says.
The event will run from noon to 7 p.m., though a handful of vendors will stick around until 10 p.m., when Dessert, the after-party concert, has concluded.
•Fort Wayne will gain another frozen yogurt stop starting at 11 a.m. Monday. Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt (6408 W. Jefferson Blvd.) will open in the former Blockbuster in front of Covington Plaza, in the same strip as Peerless Cleaners, Verizon Wireless and Great Clips.
Menchie’s features 14 rotating flavors, co-owner Beth Whitacre says, and the lineup will always include two sorbets for those who are lactose-intolerant, one no-sugar-added option and one low-carb option. It will also have up to 100 rotating toppings.
Whitacre’s favorite combination is peanut butter yogurt topped with gummy bears.
The store will celebrate its grand opening for one week, starting Sept. 1 with free T-shirts given to the first 50 customers and free yogurt for everyone between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
•El Salvador Restaurant (515 E. Jefferson Blvd.) opened Aug. 11, and business has been great, waitress Mariana Ocana says.
The specialty at the Salvadorian restaurant, which is just east of Clay Street downtown, is pupusas, a taco-like dish made with a tortilla filled with meat or cheese. The most popular pupusa dish so far has been a mix plate, which comes with cheese, pork and squash.
Vanilla Bean turns 2
Vanilla Bean Unique Cookies & Cupcakes (3410 N. Anthony Blvd.) will celebrate its second anniversary Friday by giving back and giving out.
The bakery will provide a free coffee or lemonade, with no purchase necessary, and 15 percent of the day’s sales will go to the Fort Wayne Fire Department/Fort Wayne Police Department Fallen Hero Fund, which is dedicated to police officers and firefighters who are killed or severely injured in the line of duty.
The fund is one of 12 local charities supported by LendingAHand.net, and Vanilla Bean will kick off its partnership with the website Friday. Pick up a LendingAHand.net card at Vanilla Bean to get discounts at participating businesses.
Lone Star Steakhouse on Coldwater Road will close its doors Saturday, says Drew Lee, a manager who has been with the restaurant 18 years, since it opened.
The landlord wanted to increase rent by 50 percent, Lee says, and the restaurant owners instead made the call to close the doors, “which a lot of us are very angry about it,” he says. “We didn’t think it was right.
“We just been calling around and trying to place our employees somewhere else.”