New ideas

110 Craft Meatery all about creativity

110 Craft Meatery's Strawberry Fields salad, photography by Neal Bruns
110 Craft Meatery's Wildflower mixed drink with Farmhouse burger, photography by Neal Bruns

People who dine at Jason Brown’s 110 Craft Meatery in Warsaw probably change an idea – or two or three – about things during their first meal there. And they probably decide to come back for lunch if they are there for dinner or for dinner if they are there for lunch, just to complete the full experience of the place.

“It’s a sandwich shop by day and a steak and wine bar by night,” Brown said. A fire pit out front is lighted on Friday nights, and he is working on permits to turn the alley on the building’s north side into a summer beer garden. Indoors, you can watch your food being prepared in the open kitchen, see it plated and then enjoy it from one of the 11 bar stools or 48 table seats. Groups might be dining in The Vic, the adjoining banquet space that also has a room suitable for meetings with really great lunches.

110 Craft Meatery can change diners’ thinking about how food should be prepared and presented, without a doubt. It can also reset ideas about cocktail mixology, how big a wine list or beer card needs to be to qualify as fantastically interesting and about Warsaw.

Brown claims pride of place for 110 Craft Meatery (which has been open for a year and a half) as northeast Indiana’s second farm-to-table restaurant. A map painted on the main room’s wall shows the area from which he sources the food. He orders from 48 different small farms on a weekly basis. Hamburger, for example, comes from a farm owned by his own relatives, but many of the suppliers’ names on the menu and the market board will be familiar to people who are already shopping local.

When people ask him why he didn’t open in Fort Wayne, he tells them he prefers to make his difference in his hometown.

He isn’t trying to change people’s thinking, he said, but he is very clear about his own thinking, based on what he has learned about food since he began working in restaurants more than 15 years ago when he was 15 for Scott Woods at Noa Noa in Winona Lake.

“He took me under his wing and taught me why to love food and love the interaction between food and people,” Brown said.

The restaurant business was not his first job after he graduated from Indiana University with a business management degree, but it didn’t take him long to realize food was, as they say, his passion.

“There are only three major necessities of life: food, shelter and water. I joke that I could never find water in the desert and admit that I am not that great at construction, but I’m pretty good over the grill,” he said.

He also has amassed a lot of experience in many different restaurants and knew what he wanted to do and why: “Not big, very tight, very controlled, very quaint and have a lot of personality behind it, a very personal place,” he said.

The idea is not what he sees much of his generation doing: Cooking, if you could call it that, out of bags and cans and boxes and “not investing the time so you can appreciate what you are about to eat,” he said.

He is confident his customers can tell the difference. The menu changes seasonally every four months. Right now he is carrying four recipe books in his satchel bag as he prepares for the changeover from spring-summer to the summer-fall menu, which may be his personal favorite, he said.

Winter, given that it is ideal steak and wine season, has been 110 Craft Meatery’s busiest season so far, he said. The staff cans and pickles plenty of local produce to get them through the cold months. Think heirloom tomato sauce in winter, he suggested.

The menu always has chicken, pork and steaks offered in a variety of appetizers, entrees, salads, small plates, steaks and burgers plus creative sides, sandwiches and desserts. Try a Block, a cutting board full of combinations of meats and/or vegetables and/or cheeses with focaccia toast and artisan crackers. The restaurant is friendly to vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free diets.

“This business is based off creativity,” he said.

110 Craft Meatery

110 N. Buffalo St., Warsaw
(574) 267-7007 • www.110craftmeatery.com
Hours: Open for lunch Tuesday-Friday and dinner on Thursday-Saturday
Specialties: Farm-to-table food from sandwiches to steaks with creative, seasonal flair backed up with a wine bar, craft beers and craft cocktails, too.

110 Craft Meatery’s Focaccia Herb Bread

Makes two loaves

3 teaspoons dry active yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
5½ cups very warm water
½ cup olive oil
Fresh herbs of choice, chopped
Roasted garlic, chopped
Cheeses (Parmesan or Asiago), grated or shredded
6½ cups unbleached baking flour (all-purpose will do)
3 teaspoons kosher salt

1. Put yeast in large bowl with sugar and water. Allow to bloom for 10 minutes.

2. Add herbs, roasted garlic and cheeses. Then add flour and mix thoroughly. No need to knead.

3. Cover loosely with cloth or parchment paper. Allow dough to rise and double in size for about 25 minutes.

4. Sprinkle with flour, and pinch dough into two equal pieces and shape into loaves, rolls or traditional half-sheet pans.

5. Bake at 375-400 degrees F.

First appeared in the July 2016 issue of Fort Wayne Magazine.

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