Joella’s Hot Chicken, a 4-year-old Louisville-based “fast casual” restaurant, will introduce its hot chicken and made-from-scratch Southern side dishes to Fort Wayne in the Jefferson Pointe spot previously occupied by Bob Evans.

This will be the company’s fourth Indiana location. It expects to open at 1715 Apple Glen Blvd. by the end of 2019. It has two Indianapolis-area restaurants and one in Bloomington.

“We are excited for hot chicken fans in Fort Wayne to get a taste of our spiced, just-right hot chicken and Southern side dishes,” Christina Happel, regional vice president of operations for Joella’s Hot Chicken, said in a statement.

Details for the grand opening will be announced soon, including job opportunities and plans to give away “Free Hot Chicken for a Year” to the first 100 customers in line during grand opening events, according to the company.

For those who miss Metro Diner’s brined chicken after the Florida-based chain hurriedly closed its north-side Fort Wayne location earlier this year after 11 months of operation, here’s your substitute.

Hot chicken is the restaurant’s specialty and you can choose it at six heat levels: Southern (no heat), Spiked Honey, Ella’s Fav, Tweener, Hot and Fire-in Da-Hole.

“Joella’s starts with all-natural chicken that is brined to lock-in juiciness and flavor,” according to the company. “Favorite menu items include Jumbo Tenders, Big Wings and Joella’s famous Chicken and Waffles. Joella’s also offers a vegan chicken option.”

Its made-in-store-daily sides are Creamy Mac & Cheese, Green Beans with Bacon, Sweet Vinegar Slaw, Parm Garlic Fries and Kale Crunch Salad.

Each store also serves Boylan Craft Sodas, and a selection of canned craft beers. If your chicken is too spicy, you can cool it down with one of Joella’s Pie-In-A-Jars. The menu says you get to keep the jar.

Joella’s announced July 17 that Fort Wayne’s will be among nine new stores that the company will open, with others located in Georgia, Florida and Ohio. The company will now be in five states.

Joella’s Hot Chicken will be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, and kids eat free every Tuesdays beginning at 4 p.m. Guests can dine-in or pickup. Joella’s also offers a full catering menu.

For more information about Joella’s Hot Chicken or to see the full menu, visit Joellas.com.

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