New downtown restaurant set to open in March

Local News

Conner’s Kitchen + Bar is taking shape where Champions used to be in the Courtyard Fort Wayne hotel in downtown.  

Champions closed back in October and since then work has been underway to transform the restaurant into the new establishment.

It will be the second Conner’s, with the first having opened in downtown Indianapolis in 2018. The Fort Wayne Conner’s is set to open in March. 

The restaurant is described as being bright and airy by day and colorful and warm by night, the décor is built around an open bar centering the restaurant. One side of the restaurant will offer soft-seating with low-lying lounge-style couches and chairs perfect for socializing with friends. Seating also will include oversized banquettes along the windows. A private dining room will be available for groups of up to 30. 

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“Comfort food, craft beer and craft cocktails, we’re going to serve food and drinks that everyone loves – only better,” said Barry Jenkins, general manager. “We’re aiming to offer our guests the best happy hour and weekend brunch spot in Fort Wayne. It’s a high bar, but we’re up to the challenge.”
Jenkins is an army veteran and joins Conner’s Kitchen + Bar with more than 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry, including his most recent experience as the general manager of Tucanos Brazillian Grill.
The menu will be directed by Executive Chef Brandon McCarthy, who joined Conner’s Kitchen + Bar from the Tippecanoe Lake Country Club in Leesburg, Indiana, where he served as executive chef for the past three years. He previously worked in culinary roles at the Oak Hills Country Club and Hilton Hotels in Omaha, Nebraska. He is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Arts. 
Nosh from Sun Up to Sun Down
Starting from sun up, Conner’s Kitchen + Bar will offer Lemon Buttermilk Pancakes that are sweet, but not too sweet, and topped with fresh blueberries and lemon syrup. Feeling nostalgic? Try the thick-cut Bacon, Egg and Cheddar – a twist on your classic drive-thru breakfast sandwich with aged cheddar and peppered bacon.
House-made Cornbread Muffins, Lump Crab Hushpuppies and Smoked Chicken Wings will make the weekend brunch buzzworthy. The must-try Fried Chicken and Waffles come complete with honey butter and bourbon maple syrup. 
For a lighter lunch fare, Conner’s Kitchen + Bar will offer its Green Goddess, complete with kale, snap peas, celery, avocado, pistachios and herb dressing. Or for the mightier appetites, guests will be able to try the P.I.G., an in-house smoked pulled pork sandwich with thick-cut bacon, aged Swiss, Carolina gold sauce and bread and butter pickles.      
Guests will find comfort at dinner with Hickory Smoked Baby Back Ribs or Southern Fried Chicken with a hot-honey drizzle. Not to be undone by the favorite Baked Mac and Cheese, complete with cavatappi noodles, thick-cut bacon, English peas and a parmesan crust. Lighter dishes include the Grilled Salmon with brown butter mustard glaze, snap peas and quinoa pilaf, and Fish Tacos topped with pico de gallo, guacamole, baja sauce and elote-style creamed corn.             
Crafted Cocktails
Happy hour and brunch are nothing without something to clear the palate. Conner’s Kitchen + Bar will offer expertly crafted cocktails alongside craft beer and old standbys. Try a Blackberry Pineapple Sidecar with Starlight Bourbon (distilled in Starlight, Indiana), lemon juice, pineapple and blackberries, or maybe the Toasted Apple with mescal, toasted cinnamon syrup and apple cider soda.
Conner’s will be holding a hiring event from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, January 23 at Fortezza Coffee, 819 S. Calhoun Street. Check out all current job openings at or  
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