A welcoming story

With fine Midwest food

TW Fable's Crab Cakes, photography by Neal Bruns

TW Fable's Crab Cakes, photography by Neal Bruns

TW Fable, a farm-to-table restaurant in Bluffton, is a dining destination that’s definitely worth the trip.

Owner Tiercell W. Schwartz (the “TW” of the restaurant’s name), opened the “casual elegant” restaurant in 2010, at the height of the economic recession.

“Bluffton needed an upscale restaurant,” Schwartz said, recalling how he and his family – and plenty of other Wells County residents – once had to travel to Fort Wayne to dine at a high-end eatery. Now, all they have to do is cross over the Wabash River just north of the downtown district.

Schwartz, a theater kid, went to New York City after school with dreams of making it big on Broadway. Like so many aspiring actors, he found himself working in the restaurant industry, which is where he found a new passion: food and beverages. He worked for B R Guest Hospitality, which runs a number of New York restaurants and bars. While working there, he learned the ins and outs of restaurant management and the importance of providing a superb experience for guests.

“They want you to know everything,” he said. “It’s almost like college!”

While he was there, he learned he doesn’t really like working for other people. So he began to dream. Upon returning to his native Bluffton, he developed the concept that would become TW Fable. His family has experience in the catering business, and his grandmother, Edna Moser, bakes the cakes served up in the restaurant.

“The concept is all mine,” he noted. “I’m in this for the long run.”

That concept, Schwartz explained, is that people dining at TW Fable should feel that they are in his home. Thus, the restaurant is designed to feel welcoming, with deep wood finishes and changing decor. A lounge area provides the comfortable seating, while an open room offers various permutations of seating for varying size dinner parties. A new outdoor dining area sits above the Wabash River and overlooks the outdoor amphitheater where live music is performed in Kehoe Park.

“I want families to be back together, sitting down for a glass of wine,” Schwartz said. “People get home at 5 p.m., and they want dinner. But I don’t want them to work. Let us work for them.”

And about that food: TW Fable is all about bringing an upscale twist to classic American favorites. Thus, there’s chicken on the menu, but it’s chicken that’s been brushed with Parmesan cheese and nestled on a bed of Yukon potatoes with heirloom carrots. There is the requisite New York strip, but it’s paired with tomato confit and fingerling potatoes. There is pork, but it’s a shank, not a chop, and it’s matched with those creamy potatoes. Hearty fare, but with a unique spin.

Then there are the crab cakes. Let’s pause for a moment to honor TW Fable’s crab cakes. Sure, you can get crab cakes on a lot of menus these days, but TW Fable’s crab cakes are made with lump crab and very little else but a bit of seasoning and something wonderful to bind them together. They’re perfectly cooked, with a delicious crunch that gives way to pillowy softness and a taste of the sea.

“We’re giving Bluffton a feel-good restaurant,” Schwartz said. “This is my passion. Either you go big, or you go home.”

 


TW Fable’s Cali Cobb Salad
Serves 4

20 cups leaf romaine lettuce, torn
1½ cups bleu cheese dressing
2 cups halved grape tomatoes
2 cups diced red onion
4 boiled eggs, chopped
2 avocados, sliced into bite-sized pieces
12 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1 cup bleu cheese crumbles

In four separate bowls or plates, lay a bed of romaine leaves tossed with bleu cheese dressing. Beginning at the left, on top of the greens, place a row of sliced tomatoes, followed by neat rows of avocado, egg, bacon, onion and bleu cheese crumbles. Drizzle with remaining dressing.

First appeared in the September 2014 Fort Wayne Monthly.

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