Spring has sprung, bringing with it a season of change for downtown diners.
•Since opening in 2011, Pembroke Bakery & Cafe has seen a steady increase in business, added an Espress outlet and recently landed a new wholesale account for gluten-free pastries.
Now the café in the Auer Center for the Arts, 300 E. Main St., is bringing in a chef de cuisine and baker to help continue its growth.
Chef Johnny Bojinoff recently joined the Pembroke team, bringing with him an “emphasis on fresh, whole food ingredients, local produce and making everything from scratch,” says Angie Quinn, co-owner of Pembroke Bakery & Cafe.
The café menu will remain familiar, with daily vegan, gluten-free soup and vegan sandwich options, along with the signature Chicken-Apple Salad sandwich spread. But Quinn says the café will offer more pickled vegetables, sauces and toppings on the deli side and new breads and pastries – regular and gluten-free – on the bakery side.
“And, we’ll soon be expanding our evening options with hot entrées in addition to the deli offerings,” Quinn says.
•After much anticipation, Fortezza Coffee has opened at 819 S. Calhoun St. The second coffee shop for Sean Wang, owner of Trionfale Espresso on Dupont Road, was expected to open in late 2013 or early 2014 but hit delays.
Fortezza offers pour-over coffee, espresso drinks, teas and baked goods. Brunch is available from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the menu includes two types of quiche and two breakfast sandwiches.
Hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday.
•Sweet Violets Tea & Antiques, 503 W. Wayne St., announced that the boutique tea house and gift shop has closed.
Debbie Woodroof bought the restaurant and retail shop, formerly Peony Tea House, in 2012 and opened it under the new name. She cited personal reasons for her decision to close the store.
“This has been a wonderful experience,” Woodroof says. “But several other factors are requiring my time outside of running the restaurant and shop. The decision to close was not easy, but it is for the best.”
Sweet Violets Tea & Antiques will have a public sale to liquidate its commercial restaurant equipment, store fixtures and remaining merchandise May 23 and 24 at the store.
Gift card refunds
Carlos O’Kelly’s fans, listen up!
If you still have gift cards for the Tex-Mex chain that closed its doors locally last month, a reader shared how to get a refund. Send an email to email@example.com and the company will reply with instructions to receive a refund.
Lutheran Health Services Society is hosting its 28th annual Festival of Wines on Friday to benefit Hospice Home.
The event, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Fort Wayne Country Club, will feature wines and microbrews from Andy Lebamoff of Cap n’ Cork. There will also be an hors d’oeuvres buffet and chocolates for dessert.
Tickets, which cost $50 a person, are available at Visiting Nurse, 5910 Homestead Road, or by calling 435-3222. Cash, check or credit cards are accepted.
•Lighted Gardens Banquet & Event Center, 10794 N. Indiana 1 in Ossian, is hosting a Mother’s Day Buffet from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 11.
The menu for the event includes soup and salad buffet, Belgian waffles, rotisserie roasted chicken, broiled cod in lemon butter and a carving station featuring prime rib and herbed pork loin. There will be homemade pies, parfaits, trifles and shortcakes among the many desserts.
The cost is $19.95 for adults, $18.95 for 60 and older and $7.95 for children 4 to 10. Younger than 4 dine free.
Reservations are suggested; call 260-622-4023.
•Don Hall’s Guesthouse Hotel & Restaurant will host two Mother’s Day buffets.
From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Don Hall’s Guesthouse Grille Restaurant will serve a brunch buffet featuring carved ham, an omelet station, malted waffles, fresh fruit, hot breakfast favorites and dessert. The cost is $19.95 for adults and $7.95 for children ages 2 to 10.
From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom, there will be carved hickory ham and Montreal beef with horseradish and mushroom sauce, Italian chicken, Creole parmesan whitefish, vegetable and potato side dishes, seasonal fruit, chilled salads and assorted desserts. The cost is $24.95 for adults and $7.95 for children ages 2 to 10.
Reservations are required; call 489-2524, ext. 413.
•Dicky’s Wild Hare, 2910 Maplecrest Road, is hosting a Founders KBS Tapping Party at 5 p.m. May 7.
•Save the date: Fort Wayne Food Trucks has announced that the third annual Food Stock will be from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. July 26 at One Summit Square. Follow the group’s Facebook page for updates.
•It seems as if the West State Boulevard Pizza Hut location is moving to Wing Street. Felderman Design-Build has been awarded the construction contract to add the chicken chain at the 1233 W. State Blvd. restaurant.