Eating IN: ACME is revived by Full Circle BBQ

For decades, ACME Bar & Grill operated at 1105 East State Boulevard—slinging drinks, serving up comfort food, and providing a space “where neighbors meet” (as indicated by the building’s iconic neon sign). It was a Fort Wayne institution, especially to the ‘05 neighborhood where it’s been anchored since 1941. 

So when ACME closed its doors during COVID, it was a surprise to many. The community was left wondering what would come of this beloved gathering space. Fast forward to 2022 when the owners of Full Circle BBQ, who had been operating in the kitchen at 2Toms Brewing Company, announced they would resurrect the local legend by setting up shop inside ACME’s old digs, adopting the ACME name in the process. 

ACME by Full Circle BBQ, formerly ACME Bar & Grill, is located in The 05.Walking into ACME by Full Circle, I’m greeted by some familiar memorabilia of ACME’s past, mixed with modern elements that reflect ACME’s future. I sit at the bar—one of the remaining ACME artifacts—and feel a sense of nostalgia rush over me as a comb through the menu. 

When I ask the bartender for recommendations, she lets me know that their mac and cheese is a crowd favorite. So that’s where I start. Mac and cheese—the Full Circle way—is topped with your choice of pulled pork, chicken, or brisket and is finished with a barbecue drizzle. I opt for the brisket mac which is served with a blanket of shredded, smoky brisket atop a creamy, heaping bowl of mac and cheese. The brisket is tender and savory, with a sweet, tangy barbecue sauce that rounded out all the meatiness. This cheesy, smoky marriage is surprisingly harmonious and unsurprisingly indulgent.

Next comes the smoked baby back ribs—a staple of any good barbeque joint. These cherry-smoked ribs fall off the bone and are adorned in a dry rub that’s so satisfying you won’t miss the lacquered ribs you might be used to. The spices are sweet upfront, and finished with a pleasant kick at the end. 

After the ribs come the smoked wings, which are juicy with a crisp exterior. There’s a sprawling list of housemade wing sauces, making it hard to choose just one. I settle upon four sauces—the regular BBQ, peach BBQ, bourbon buffalo, and hot buffalo. The regular BBQ is very sweet with a savory whisper for balance. The peach BBQ is another sweet one that’s fruity and gives off a chutney vibe. The bourbon buffalo is very bourbon-forward. It’s sweeter than I would ever expect a buffalo sauce to be, but the sweetness is needed to pacify some of the pungent, boozy notes. The hot buffalo is heavy on the vinegar (as all good buffalo sauce should be), with a notable, yet comfortable amount of heat. Disclaimer: I like spicy food. So for me, this hot sauce delivered the heat that I was looking for. 

Smoked wings and baby back ribs from ACME by Full Circle BBQ.For a side, I try the smoked coleslaw which lives up to its name. Despite its smokiness, it’s still light, crisp, and refreshing—providing a good counterbalance to all the rich, meaty food.

I have fond memories of getting pizza with friends at the original ACME. So I couldn’t leave without trying one of the reinvented ACME pizzas. I love a good veggie pizza, so I order the cream cheese and garlic grilled artichoke pizza. This pizza is unique and nothing like the ACME pizza I remember. But that’s not a bad thing. The best way I can describe this dish is to say it’s as if artichoke dip and bruschetta had a baby in the form of pizza. It’s somehow rich and refreshing at the same time, with a crisp, almost paper-thin crust. 

The cream cheese and garlic grilled artichoke pizza at ACME by Full Circle.ACME by Full Circle manages to pay homage to the ACME legacy while delivering an experience all its own—full of comforting food with some unexpected twists. With their smoky barbecue, stocked bar, and taps aplenty, they’re in good shape to keep this spirited establishment going. Whether you’re feeling sentimental about your old ‘05 haunt or you’re in the mood for a rack of ribs, you won’t leave ACME by Full Circle disappointed (or hungry).  

 Menu items in review:
  • Brisket Mac
  • Smoked Baby Back Ribs
  • Smoked Wings with Regular BBQ, Peach BBQ, Bourbon Buffalo, & Hot Buffalo Sauce
  • Smoked Coleslaw
  • Cream Cheese and Garlic Grilled Artichoke Pizza

Vegetarian and vegan friendly? Yes, they have some vegetarian items on the menu and have vegan options available by request. 

Chef’s choice? Baby Back Ribs

Writer’s choice? Baby Back Ribs; Cream Cheese and Garlic Grilled Artichoke Pizza

ACME by Full Circle BBQ, formerly ACME Bar & Grill, is located in The 05.What I wish I would have tried: Next time, I’d like to try some of their spicier barbecue sauces and a few more sides. 

Hours & Location: 

Monday — Sunday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

1105 E State Blvd, Fort Wayne, Indiana, 46805

Website and social media:

Check out ACME by Full Circle’s website here.

You can find them on Facebook or Instagram.
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Read more articles by Molly Conner.

Molly Conner is a Fort Wayne native. Driven by curiosity and affection for culinary crafts, Molly’s writing explores our food-focused community—from haute, experimental eateries to no-frills, all-flavor mom-and-pops.