Having just finished extensive renovations at its venerable Bluffton Road location, Hall’s Restaurants is bringing a new, albeit replacement, business to Quimby Village.
The Fort Wayne restaurant chain is transforming its Food Factory Express location, next to its old drive-in restaurant at 1502 Bluffton Road, into a bakery and catering center, according to Hall’s officials.
“It’s mostly because of the fact that when we did the renovations next door, we installed a new drive-in,” said Carrie Riepenhoff, Hall’s Director of Services. “There was no need to have two drive-thrus side by side.”
Hall’s current catering business is located at 1313 W. Washington Center Road, at a location attached to the Don Halls Guest House Hotel, she said. That center houses a bakery where confections are made, as well as a separate sales office that takes orders for cakes and catering.
Now, according to Riepenhoff, the Food Factory location at 1504 Bluffton Road will be the epicenter for the restaurant’s catering and cake creations. “This will unify the sales reps with the artists that create the cakes themselves. It will now be a one-stop shop for cake and catering needs,” she explained.
The new business will employ – seasonally – up to 25 people, she said, although she didn’t have exact figures for what percentage of the chain’s income came from cakes and catering.
The new bakery will produce cakes, Danishes, cupcakes, and breads, but no donuts for now, Riepenhoff said. She noted that bringing the bakers and sales reps together in one location will give customers a better experience.
“Customers will now have the opportunity to work with a team versus working with just our sales people,” she said. She also noted that the center may offer more confections in the future. “Our menu is always evolving, and you never know which way the creativity will go.”
The Bluffton Road restaurant is Hall’s original location in Fort Wayne, having opened in 1946, and spawning a host of eateries all over the city, including Don Hall’s Guesthouse on Washington Center Road; the Old Gas House and Bar and Takaoka of Japan on E. Superior Street downtown; as well as the Triangle Park Bar & Grille on Trier Road.
Riepenhoff said the Food Factory’s transformation is good not just for the restaurant and its customers, but for Quimby Village and – by extension – Waynedale as well.
“It’s bringing back what we do to Quimby Village,” Riepenhoff said. “And we only hope it will continue to attract more business to this area.”