It has been four years since I talked to Cindy Henry. It's been four years since I heard the infectious love and passion she has for the tight-knit neighborhood just north of downtown.
And it has been four years since we talked about the Green Frog Inn. But all that time ago, she was getting ready to say goodbye and retire from the place she had owned for 15 years.
But on Monday, when the gray clouds and chilly rain made for a dreary day, Henry was excited.
The Green Frog had passed its final inspections from the Fort Wayne-Allen County Board of Health, and she was set to go back to work as the owner and matriarch of the Spring Street bar.
If all goes as plan, the Green Frog will reopen today.
The bar closed in September seemingly out of the blue when the former owner chose not to renew the liquor license. It was the first time since 1933, Henry says, that the Green Frog had closed.
Almost immediately, friends called Henry to see if the rumors were true. And when she couldn't get an answer on the phone, she went to the bar and found the doors locked.
Because of how the sale contract was written, Henry was able to reassume ownership.
“I did it as quickly as I could,” Henry says of reopening the bar.
“There were so many extenuating circumstances in this situation. It took awhile to get everything back up and running.”
She says “it was all hands on deck” with family, friends and customers helping. Even Henry's grandchildren helped on weekends and during their holiday break.
Some of the work included installing LED lighting, bringing insulation up to code so beer could be properly chilled and removing some of the booths to add table seating – an effort to accommodate bigger parties.
But one of the biggest changes was a surprise even to Henry, who has frequented the bar since the 1970s – original maple flooring.
“It's beautiful. It's been refinished,” she says.
Also with a nod to the original, Henry is bringing back the menu from her days. There will be frog legs, loaded fries, Swiss steak and walleye. Some dishes from the previous owners will remain, such as pretzel sticks with beer cheese.
“I'm looking forward to bringing back my recipes – stuffed green peppers, lasagna, ... my cabbage rolls,” Henry says. “All those yummy things that you can't just find anywhere in Fort Wayne.”
Henry, who is the wife of Mayor Tom Henry, says many staff members have worked with her in the past.
The bar will open at 10 a.m. Monday through Friday and at noon on Saturdays. Closing times will vary day to day, but Henry, a self-professed night owl, says it will be open until midnight – at least.
Gnome bar honor
Architectural Digest recently named The Hoppy Gnome “the most beautifully designed bar” in Indiana.
An article highlighted an establishment in each of the states, noting they don't just serve drinks but do so in spaces that are inviting and interesting.
When it came to The Hoppy Gnome, 203 E. Berry St., the magazine said, “Dangling Edison bulbs above the bar help to soften the industrial space, which was designed by Design Collaborative.”
In addition to gourmet tacos and a global-inspired menu, the restaurant serves a variety of craft beer, hard ciders, sangria and craft cocktails.
Coney stand move
The Covington Coneys stand is no longer on Covington.
The tiny drive-thru had occupied the spot at the five-points intersection at Time Corners for more than eight years, but a construction project, with a chain-link fence cordoning off the area, prompted its removal.
The trailer now sits on West Main Street, across from the former location of the Recovery Room. There are signs posted in the windows that it is closed, and a phone number is no longer in service. The website domain is also up for sale, according to GoDaddy.
The stand was owned and operated by Woodie Klepfer, and he had been looking to sell the business in recent years but had not found a buyer.
Timmy's Pizza & BBQ in Garrett has new owners.
Tim Johnson, who has made the rounds at local festivals with his chicken feet, is going to focus on catering, fundraising and festivals.
The restaurant at 105 N. Randolph St. was purchased by Donald and Beth Mosley.
The Mosleys assure customers that it is business as usual, and they have also added delivery after 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
New Jimmy John's
A Jimmy John's sandwich shop has opened in Columbia City. The store at 289 E. Walker Way is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Delivery is available; call 260-234-2211. The store is currently hiring.
• Olive Garden has added a menu item to appeal to restaurant-goers hoping to stick to a New Year's resolution to eat better. The Shrimp Scampi Mini Pasta Bowl is available on Olive Garden's Lunch Duos menu Monday through Friday before 3 p.m.
• Penn Station East Coast Subs will give customers a free small fresh-cut fry with any sandwich purchase through Jan. 14 for the “Happy New Year from Our President” promotion. The promotion is available at all restaurants.
The Dish features restaurant news and food events and appears Wednesdays. Fax news items to 461-8893, email email@example.com or call 461-8304.