Located in northeast Whitley County, Churubusco is best known as a detriment when trying to get to Fort Wayne on U.S. 33. The two stop lights can create quite a traffic back-up, especially with so many trucks cruising U.S. 33.
Claiming to be Turtle Town USA, the story goes that in the late 1800s a giant turtle was sighted in a local pond. That claim was resurrected in 1948 when a farmer named Harris sighted a giant turtle in the same pond. That lore has led to Churubusco celebrating a “Turtle Days Festival” every year.
Churubusco is named after a neighborhood in Mexico City, and whether or not there is any correlation with that, there is a reasonable Catholic population. St. Johns Busco Catholic Church is in the middle of town, along with numerous necessities like a home improvement store, a health food store and a bar.
There’s also Sav U Mor — famous for its more than 100 bratwurst variations. Further down the main drag is Egolf’s IGA, another quaint grocery store.
There are a couple local joints that get our attention when we cruise through ’Busco. One is Brevin’s Downtown Eatery and Lounge. This family-oriented restaurant is known for its sports lounge and bar food. We’ve enjoyed both breakfast and lunch there, but local’s claim it’s the best spot around for dinner when they feature steaks, fish, chicken and ribs.
The lounge’s décor is a sports fan’s fantasy. Besides, all things Chicago Cubs, there’s a lot of college paraphernalia (sadly nothing Purdue), a Larry Bird Celtic jerseys (signed) and even old Wheaties boxes with famous athlete faces.
We usually hang at the bar, order a cold one and choose from one of the 25 different sandwiches choices. Favorites are the breaded tenderloin and their 10-ounce prime rib sandwich. However, on this visit, I floundered between the special (a variation on a healthier Big Mac) and the turkey bacon melt. Settling on the latter, I was not disappointed.
For breakfast, their American fries are as good as any. Other popular breakfast classics include the stacker (American fries topped with eggs, cheese and gravy), raisin French toast and the unique breakfast bowl. The latter is a farmer’s omelet (ham, peppers, onions, cheese, American fries and cheese) smothered in gravy and served with toast. Another option is the bologna steak and eggs – it’s a local favorite.
Further down Main Street is another must-stop. The Magic Wand is now in its 55th year and enjoys a following from near and far. Walking-in you are immediately attracted to the classic diner bar stools where locals drink coffee, chomp on home-made pie and shoot the breeze for hours. The small seating area features a display case filled with circus collectibles.
Breakfast and lunch are equally popular, as is their weekly ice cream feature.
Getting an early start for shopping in Fort Wayne, we occasionally stop for breakfast. Besides the breakfast special (two eggs, meat of choice with hash browns), you have to sample their strawberry jam. It’s also one of the few places that can create a perfect poached egg.
The Wand also features many daily specials published on a monthly calendar. It’s cooking at its best, with meatloaf and beef and noodles being some of the more popular items.
On this day, black cherry ice cream was the weekly feature and the five pies were blueberry, pecan, cherry, peach and apple
On the south side of town is a unique butchery, Integrity Meats. Co-owned by two local farm families, Stahlhut and Yarde, this specialty shop features locally-grown meats and specializes in educating about food sources. They also process animals, including deer. Their variety packs include chicken, pork and beef combinations, and they will fill your freezer with whole or partial portions of beef or pork — including barbecued hog.
You might want to stop in Churubusco. It’s only a half-hour from Lake Country.
IF YOU GO
Brevin’s is at 200 S. Main St. Phone: 260-693-9340. Hours: 6-9 p. m., except Friday when they are open until 10 p. m.
Magic Wand is at 602 S. Main St. Phone: 260-693-3518. Hours: 6-9 p. m. everyday.
Integrity Meats is at 3640 US 33. Phone: 260-693-0777. Hours: 8-5 p. m. weekdays; Saturday, 8-12 p.m.; closed Sunday.