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Friday, April 28, 2017
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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

Potbelly Sandwich Shop heats up as opening nears

Three Rivers Distilling Company's Harvester Vodka, seen here, and Summit City Gin earned bronze medals recently. (Photo courtesy of Three Rivers Distilling Co.)
Three Rivers Distilling Company's Harvester Vodka, seen here, and Summit City Gin earned bronze medals recently. (Photo courtesy of Three Rivers Distilling Co.)
Justin Rowe stands Monday next to the refurbished antique potbelly stove in his Potbelly Sandwich Shop, 501 E. Coliseum Blvd., which opens Friday. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of The News-Sentinel)
Justin Rowe stands Monday next to the refurbished antique potbelly stove in his Potbelly Sandwich Shop, 501 E. Coliseum Blvd., which opens Friday. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of The News-Sentinel)
This plaque on the potbelly stove at Potbelly Sandwich Shop's Fort Wayne location explains its significance. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of The News-Sentinel)
This plaque on the potbelly stove at Potbelly Sandwich Shop's Fort Wayne location explains its significance. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of The News-Sentinel)
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

Refurbished antique stove arrives as finishing touches, inspections get done.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017 01:37 am

What's a Potbelly Sandwich Shop without the potbelly stove? A non-working refurbished antique stove sat near the shop's front door Monday as owner Justin Rowe oversaw construction for the restaurant, 501 E. Coliseum Blvd., ahead of Friday's opening.

Rowe was overseeing a flurry of work from tiling and plumbing to inspections. When all the tables are in they'll seat 50 inside and 10 outside. He's spent the last few months training and hiring 21 employees. The buzz around the shop opening has been good, he said, so he's got a couple of other people on standby who he can pull in if needed. The first week he'll have a team of managers from the company come in to make sure things go smoothly.

Customers who enter the front door will be able to pick up online orders at the counter to the right. The company three weeks ago released an app for ordering, but Rowe didn't know if his store would be included in the ordering process on opening day. Other customers coming in to order can walk to the far end of the store where they can grab cole slaw or drinks from a refrigerated area, place their order, grab chips and then move farther down to choose their sandwich toppings or get shakes before paying. The shop's decor includes an Indiana flag motif on a table, TinCaps baseball and Komets hockey jerseys, and Fort Wayne police, fire and building photos and patches framed on the walls.

Rowe has a restaurant management background. He spent time in Fort Wayne as a manager for the Yum Brands family of concepts, which includes Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC. He also worked for Fort Wayne Community Schools as a substitute teacher, something he hopes to get back to once the shop is up and running.

The shop will be open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Potbelly Sandwich Shop first opened in Chicago in 1977 in an antique store. A couple of photos of the original owner, bushy mustache and all, hang on the walls in the Fort Wayne store.

Each shop has a potbelly stove, provides space for local bands and gets involved in fundraisers. Rowe's shop is already sponsoring an event the day before the opening with Big Brothers Big Sisters, which will also benefit the Real Men Read Program.

A toast to success

Three Rivers Distilling Company's Harvester Vodka and Summit City Gin took bronze medals during the craft spirits' 2017 award season.

The American Distilling Institute awarded Three Rivers Distilling Company a bronze medal for its Harvester Vodka and Summit City Gin on April 4 at the annual conference in Baltimore. The contest had 680 spirit entries throughout the categories.

The American Craft Spirits Association awarded a bronze medal for Three Rivers's Harvester Vodka on Feb. 17 at the annual conference in Nashville, Tenn. The contest had 599 spirit entries throughout the categories.

Co-founder and CEO, Stephen Blevins said in a news release, “It is an honor to have been recognized by these amazing industry professionals. Our hard work and dedication in this first year has shined in these spirits. It is humbling to see our team awarded so early on in our career. We will continue to strive for excellence in spirit production right here in downtown Fort Wayne.”

The company is in a 7,108-square-foot industrial building on Wallace Street between Lafayette and Clinton streets. The building has a lounge with seating and tables that overlook the distilling area.

The Harvester Vodka, made from Indiana-grown, organic, and non-GMO wheat, is named for the former International Harvester plant in Fort Wayne.

The Summit City Gin has a juniper flavor with other botanicals. It is named in honor of Fort Wayne.

Easter brunch, more

The Oyster Bar will serve 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Easter Sunday. The restaurant at 1830 S. Calhoun St. will feature a special menu of brunch, lunch and dinner entrees with some drink surprises. Reservations are recommended by calling 744-9490.

Have restaurant news? Call Lisa M. Esquivel Long at 461-8244 or send email to notes@news-sentinel.com or write Restaurant Notes, C/O The News-Sentinel, PO Box 102, Fort Wayne 46802.

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