Two local restaurants' second locations planned to open today.
The Rodriguez family was busy Monday getting ready for the first day of business of its Caliente Cuban Cafe on Wayne Street. As parents Gus and Lily hustled around the kitchen, son Nestor brought in and moved items as needed, while his girlfriend cleaned the front windows.
Gus will serve as chef and Nestor as manager of the new location at 102 W. Wayne St., while Lily will get free rein to operate the original restaurant at 1123 E. State Blvd., Nestor said Monday. It was the first day the State restaurant was closed on a Monday, part of the changes the family, which includes other son Bryan, a North Side High School student, is making to operate at two locations.
Customers of the Wayne Street location will be able to eat breakfast, something not offered on State. It will offer a French-style breakfast, Nestor said, with Gus describing it as omelettes, including a sweet omelette made with bananas, as well as tostadas and latte.
The new location will also serve beer and wine, the latter from area wineries, Nestor said.
The family, which left Cuba in 2000, will continue having their Cuban sandwiches - made with ham, pork and cheese with other ingredients and then grilled – and likely will have a "pick 2"-type of lunch meal along with homemade soups and salads. Customers will also be able to buy customer-favorite Gus's Caliente Sauce, which costs $4.95 a bottle.
The restaurant has three times the space as the original, Nestor said, with about 20 tables to seat 60 customers and three tables for out front on nice days. The bright orange walls are filled with framed images of Cuban sites. Some of the walls are empty to make room for a planned artist gallery of work by neighborhood artists. At the rear, Allen Etter was finishing his mural of a beach scene with bright blue skies, palm trees and the restaurant's new mascot, a bear eating a Cuban sandwich. That touch comes from Etter's house warming gift, a sketch on a wooden board, that stands in the front window. Etter, who works in one of the artist studios a couple of doors down in the Macedonian Tribune building, taught painting for 28 years and now has a day job as a welder and does art on commission.
What will this mural cost the Rodriguezes?
Etter told them he'd take money as a payment, "but if you want to pay me in food..."
The other new restaurant, Shigs In Pit Barbeque & Brew, planned to open at 11 a.m. today at 6250 Maplecrest.
Restaurant staff got a trial run Monday evening by serving contractors who worked on the new building. The restaurant has a bar with 23 Mad Anthony Brewing taps. It will serve a wide variety of fare: a four-bone rib dinner for $11.95, BBQ nachos with your choice of pulled pork, chopped chicken or chopped brisket for $11.99 for a full order, with wings, sandwiches, a BBQ ranch salad, homemade sides including green chile mac 'n cheese and plenty more. Desserts include bread pudding. Online ordering is available at www.shigsinpit.com. Carry-out customers can by smoked meat by the pound.
Hours aren't set in stone yet. That will depend on demand, but the restaurant likely will close at 10 p.m. today, according to a manager.
The original Shigs in Pit plans to keep barbecuing at 2008 Fairfield Ave.
Maplecrest getting a Pizza King
Pizza King will be pumping out pies in the building that also houses a Marathon. The restaurant, with the slogan, “Ring the King,” will go into 1,680 square feet of space at 7203 Maplecrest. No word on when yet. The space formerly was occupied by Petite Bakery.
The news has Zack Zarrilli, managing partner of Green Flash Equity, new owner of the neighboring Maplecrest Shoppes, optimistic. The shopping center has a 4,800-square-foot turnkey restaurant space where Captain Ron's Corral Steakhouse used to be. The company also owns a grassy lot next to the restaurant space
“We're hoping to find someone interested in putting in a patio area,” he said.
The restaurant space was remodeled two-three years ago and has a bar, booths, chairs and tables available. The shopping center has an online 3D walk-through of the property at https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=8CoQUBy9Sho.
Now that Shigs In Pit BBQ & Brew is open and Pizza King is moving in, those niches have been filled. About 123,000 residents live within 5 miles of the shopping center and 29,000 vehicles pass by a day, Zarrilli said.
Have restaurant news? Call Lisa M. Esquivel Long at 461-8244 or send email to email@example.com or write Restaurant Notes, C/O The News-Sentinel, PO Box 102, Fort Wayne, IN 46802.