5 min read

Bravas celebrates one year in its new location

Bravas celebrates one year in its new location
Siblings and Co-Owners Bo and Becky Gonzalez share updates on Bravas and menu recs.

If you ask Bo Gonzaelz one thing that could take Fort Wayne's food scene to the next level, his answer is more chef- and owner-driven restaurants. 

“Restaurants, like Rune, opening are huge, and the support you see for places, like Chance Bar, is amazing, too,” he says. “To me, those are two places that are really pushing the boundaries of menus in Fort Wayne. When you go to Chance Bar, you know you’re getting Cory’s food, which is unique to his experience in Chicago, and when you go to Rune, you’re getting Sean Richardson’s food, and everything he’s drawing from.”

So it’s no coincidence that as Bo and his sister/Co-Owner Becky Gonzalez have grown Bravas, they’ve drawn more from their own experiences and family traditions as Spanish-Americans. What started as a hot dog cart on the streets of Downtown in early-2010s has grown into not only a favorite local burger and hot dog joint, but also an eclectic full-service dinner establishment, bringing pintxos (a “pinch” or small plate) culture to Fort Wayne with tables covered in tapas to be shared over bottles of Spanish wine or beer. And one year into this new iteration, Bo and Becky are happy about how things are going.

“It was a strong first year,” Becky says. “It helped that we had a following of people excited for us to reopen, so it wasn’t as stressful as the first year of a new restaurant can be. But we’re still growing and seeing areas where things can change.”

As Bravas prepares to celebrate the one-year anniversary of its new location on April 18, we sat down with Bo and Becky to catch up on a few of their favorite menu items and events so far, and what’s next in 2024.

This month, all paid subscribers to The Local get a free order of patatas with any sandwich for dine-in.

Tell us about some of your most popular menu items and events. What’s taking off with customers?

Bo: The eggplant (Berenjena). Our Head Chef Zach Croy and I were just spitballing when we came up with the concept for fried eggplant with goat cheese and honey. And now, it’s probably the most talked about, popular dish on our dinner menu.

Our Burger Nights are popular, as well. We’ve been doing them about once a month, making specialty burgers around a theme, and those have been consistently pretty rad.

Becky: We also did a Kids Eat Free event during winter break that went wild, and this week, we’re doing another one (Wednesday) during Spring Break. We think it will be a hit. 

Bo: With our new restaurant, we’ve found ourselves to be a really great spot for so many different types of people. If you want to come for a nice date night, you can. But you can also come with the family, and your kids can eat chicken tenders while you eat eggplant, so you don’t have to compromise. Everyone can get what they want, and the menu is still small, thoughtful and focused. It’s fun to see people getting hot dogs and an order of mussels in the same meal.

What are some things you’re looking forward to in 2024?

Bo: The coolest thing every spring is working with local farmers, like Dan Flotow at Country Garden. Food is so different when you’re getting ingredients directly from the farm. I’m really psyched for Dan’s strawberries this year. Last year, we bought as many as we could, and they were like candy. We put them in salads and used them to make preserves for our almond tart dessert. I’m excited to sit down with Zach soon and map out our spring and summer menus. Now that we’re in more of our groove this year, we have more time to prepare and utilize more fresh, local ingredients. 

Last year, Dan brought us figs, and we made a fig hot dog that was amazing, so I’m looking forward to getting figs again this summer and fall. We have a tasty BBQ Carrot dish on our menu right now made with carrots from Myron at Berry Hill farm.

There’s a lot of growth happening along Fairfield, with new bars like the Packard Taphouse underway and renovations coming to Packard Park nearby. What’s your take on all the developments?

Bo: To me, Fairfield’s growth is a dream come true. I love the corridor here, starting with Dan Schwarz and Wunderkammer Company, which was one of the first businesses to plant themselves here and invest in the area’s growth. We’re excited for Melissa and Holly now at Packard Taphouse, too. 

Becky: When guests eat here, a lot of them ask us if there’s another bar nearby they can walk to, and so far, we’ve sent them to The ‘07 Pub, which is great and not too far away, but a little drive. It will be nice to say soon: You can just walk across the street and continue your night.

Bo: Becky and I recently bought a house near Packard Park in the neighborhood, too. We’ve heard about plans to renovate the park for a long time now, and we haven’t seen anything happen yet, but updating the park seems like a smart move.

What are a few of your personal favorite menu items right now?

Becky: I love our Steak Frites, using Wood Farms bavette steak tossed in chimichurri with shredded manchego on top. And for dessert, the s’mores cake. It’s a lava cake heated with toasted marshmallow fluff and graham cracker crumble.

Bo: I really like our new pork belly dish (Butifarra Blanca) on the menu with a spring salad on top. We’ve been using asparagus and snap peas more this spring, which are so fresh and delicious. You’ll see more of that this spring and summer. 

Tell us about your one-year anniversary celebration. 

Bo: Our one year anniversary is April 18, and we’re planning a fun week. We don’t have all the details yet, but definitely some throwback stuff on our menu, as well as a special discount for everyone who donated to our Indiegogo campaign to help us relanch the restaurant after the pandemic. (We raised $20,000 on Indiegogo in late-2022 because our building costs increased due to inflation.) We’re very grateful to everyone who pitched in and helped us out.

Any pro tips for customers this year?

Bo: Come for dinner. I love the type of meal you can have at dinnertime here, and I think it would be rad if people shared tapas. (We also do half-off a different tapas menu item each week, if you like to try different things.) Our wines are really good, too, and they’re priced well.

Becky: We have a lot of great Spanish wines. The Txakolina is a fun one. We call it our party wine. It’s light, high acidity with pear notes. I think my personal favorite is the Godello, which is a Spanish white, similar to a white burgundy, and it’s from the area of Spain where our family is from, so it feels extra special.

Bo: The grapes, Godello (white) or Manthea (red) are grape varieties that aren’t that well-known, and they’re from where our family lives, so they’re extra special to us.

This month, all paid subscribers to the Local get a free order of patatas with any sandwich purchase for dine-in. What sandwiches do you recommend?

Becky: You can’t go wrong with our Fried Chicken Sando. You can get it regular, or dipped in chili glaze or buffalo. 

Bo: PB Burger is always one I recommend to people.