A number of restaurants are opening, reopening and switching things up with their menus or hours just in time for the holiday season:
•The McDonald's location near St. Joe and St. Joe Center roads will reopen Thursday. It had been closed while the building was demolished and rebuilt to include two drive-thru lanes.
•There is a sign for Noodles & Co. next to Kay Jewelers near Target on Illinois Road. Noodles & Co. is an American, Asian and Mediterranean chain with restaurants across the country. Find out more about the restaurant at Noodles.com, which lists the Fort Wayne eatery as "coming soon."
•Casa Ristoranti Italiano (4111 Parnell Ave.) has added to its menu seven chef's features, two wines and a beer. Included in the features are a traditional Italian wedding soup (zuppa di nozze), a meat-loaded pizza (pizza amante) and a baked apple dumpling (fagottino di mele).
•Eddie Merlot's (1502 Illinois Road South) is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays through Dec. 21 to accommodate an influx of holiday shoppers, sous chef Bret Frank says.
The one-page lunch menu includes a range of items from burgers to salads, including items that aren't on the restaurant's dinner menu. One of Frank's favorite dishes that is special to the lunch menu is the tuna noodle salad – a mix of sweet and spicy Thai noodles, green and red shredded cabbage and tuna seared in sesame oil.
Dishes range from $12 and $13 for the burgers to about $30 for the filets. Reservations for lunch and dinner are available online by calling 459-2222.
•Casa Grande Mexican Grill (6035 Stellhorn Road) is now open for breakfast daily from 6 to 11 a.m.
Don Hall's Takes the Cake & Catering Services launched a new website last month that accepts online orders.
The new design, HallsCatering.com, is more mobile-friendly, says Elizabeth Woenker, marketing and events coordinator for Don Hall's Guesthouse Hotel. Plus, the site includes updated cake designs and new flavors, including banana, banana chocolate chip and chocolate chocolate chip.
The design is also more user-friendly, Woenker says, making it easier for users to find catering menus.
"We didn't offer any cakes online before," she says. "Now we can ... People can order any size or flavor they like. (Before, they) would have to come into the sales office or have to call in their order. Now they can do it straight from (a Web-equipped) phone or home computer."
I received a note from reader Phil Clelland of Fort Wayne, who shared that Espresso Gallery on East State Boulevard has closed. As of at least Nov. 27, the store has been bare, with no furniture or counters, he writes. The phone number was no longer accepting calls as of Monday afternoon.
The Espresso Gallery at 10357 Illinois Road is still open.
A local cookbook author will be doing a book signing at 5 p.m. Saturday at Shorty's Steak House, 127 S. Randolph St., Garrett.
Janie Ebinger's books include "Janie's Simply: Entree Salads for Two," "Live Well Eat Well" and her newest book, "Simply Vinaigrettes: From Ancho Chili to White Wine."
Free sake, edamame
As part of Hawaiian Luau Night, Sushiya US (2882 E. Dupont Road) is giving a complementary order of edamame or a small house sake to anyone who wears Hawaiian attire to the restaurant Saturday.
The event will also include a variety of specials and live tableside ukulele music.
To celebrate the 55th anniversary of the Whopper sandwich, Burger King is offering any Whopper for 55 cents from Thursday through Sunday if another is purchased at regular price.