This article was written to mark the restaurant event, Savor Fort Wayne, being held January 9-20, 2019. Over 50 of Fort Wayne-area restaurants will be offering 12 days of menu deals. To browse some of the participating restaurants’ special three-course Savor Fort Wayne menus, hit up the website: SavorFortWayne.com. Scroll down the entire list.
It was funny because it was true. Jerry Perez, the cook side of Solbird Kitchen & Tap, said the ingredients for his Mexican and Asian-fused cuisine have to be fresh because his refrigerator, for one, isn’t even that big and his freezer back in the back isn’t even plugged in. So the elevated tacos, quesadillas, and burritos get made, get gone.
In addition, the ingredients are organic fresh, including the protein. Almost all of their menu items are fortified with vegetables purchased fresh from local farmers and vendors. Their meats come direct from certified organic Woods Farms off Indianapolis Road, just two days from the butchering. “It’s pretty exciting to know that we can tell you where we’re getting [our ingredients],” Perez said.
Solbird Kitchen & Tap, 1824 West Dupont Road, Fort Wayne, IN 46818 serves up a mixture of tastes and is a business combo of Perez’s Tex-Mex food truck, Sol Kitchen, and Birdboy Brewing Company, run by Ben Thompson, who started self-brewing about three years ago. “The beer matched us nicely,” Perez said, who cooks a few of his dishes with it.
The Sol Kitchen Food Truck, still out there, was the necessary stepping-stone; the master plan all along was to open the physical restaurant. It boasts an expansive “really nice” cement counter and a space small enough to still be manageable and feel intimate, that friends-around-a-food-truck kind of feel. “In the beginning. I didn’t know if anyone was coming because we were different,” Perez said. The neighborhood has really responded, he said; the restaurant is walking-distance close to the homeowners behind it.
Sol Kitchen, started in 2012, rolled out downtown, “when all the fun stuff just started to happen with the food trucks,” Perez said; he met Thompson last summer and decided to combine destinies. It took a little longer than they wanted to open, from the concept phase. The November opening was well earned.
Perez is pretty upfront about his Asian influences. The popular Korean Beef (beef, soy, kimchi, etc.) is very good. Burritos were never on the food truck but at the kitchen, the first offering on their menu is the Thai Shrimp made with red cabbage and Thai dressing. Vegetarians are considered with dishes like The Grilled ‘Shroom quesadillas.
But his real heart and soul are tethered to memories of big feasts with his family and his Hispanic heritage. “I can go back to when my mom and everyone were making tamales during the holidays, or when my uncles and my grandfathers were cooking steaks on Saturdays,” he said. “Did I know I was going to be doing this? No. [But] all that stays with you.”
Like music, food is memory based; Perez takes comfort in that. “When you eat something really good, it triggers something in your brain…a beautiful memory of something you’ve eaten already. That’s what we hope we are doing every time.”
Perez lived and worked in the culinary industry out of Texas and Wisconsin before setting roots here.
Solbird Kitchen & Tap, 1824 West Dupont Road, Fort Wayne, IN 46818
This content is sponsored by Visit Fort Wayne/Savor Fort Wayne.