Five Patios Not To Miss This Spring and Summer
May17

Five Patios Not To Miss This Spring and Summer

Despite its harsh winters, Fort Wayne’s restaurants are abundant in outdoor seating.  Now that the weather is finally warming up, it’s time to grab your plates and glasses and dine outside.  Here are some of our favorite local patio picks! The Deck Ask anyone in Fort Wayne where they go to eat outside, and the majority will point to The Deck first.  It’s practically a Fort Wayne icon, located just across the river from the Old Fort in the parking lot of Don Hall’s Old Gas House.  If you’re heading there most nights and weekends, you can expect a wait, but they’ve expanded the bar so it’s easy to grab a drink while you do. View this post on Instagram Who is ready for summer to be here?!? #gettothedeck 📷 @downtownfortwayne A post shared by The Deck at the Gas House (@hallsdeck) on Feb 5, 2018 at 7:50am PST  Wine Down and O’Reilley’s Okay, we know there’s two listed here, but these patios are awesome because they both offer incredible views of Parkview Field.  Go to either for drinks or dinner during a home game and watch the TinCaps in action. View this post on Instagram The patio view at our Downtown Fort Wayne location, beautiful! A post shared by O'Reilly's Irish Bar (@oreillysirishbar) on Nov 3, 2017 at 4:41pm PDT Sidecar Want to take a tropical vacation in your own community?  The Sidecar (of Wine Down) is the place to be.  While it’s not quite yet open this season, they’ve been getting us excited about their outdoor tiki bar on social media.  You won’t want to miss it! View this post on Instagram ☀️ Its 🙌 Almost 🌋 That 🌺 Time 🍍 Of 🎋 The 🍌 Year 🗿 A post shared by Sidecar (@sidecarfw) on Apr 21, 2018 at 9:07am PDT Three Rivers Distilling Company One of the newer kids on Fort Wayne’s block, Three Rivers Distilling Company, has an impressive new patio this season.  It’s one of the roomier patios in town, and the restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling windows continue the outdoor feeling even when you’re seated indoors.  Don’t miss their Summer Patio Nights with $5 frozen drinks on Thursdays from 4-9pm. View this post on Instagram We love sharing this spring weather on our outdoor patio with you! #FortWayne A post shared by Three Rivers Distilling Co. (@threeriversdistillingco) on Apr 27, 2018 at 8:56pm PDT Lunch on the Square While not technically a patio, we still wanted to include Lunch on the Square in Freimann Square for its glorified outdoor dining experience.  Local food trucks and music performances vary each week, but the positive energy is always sunny and...

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Banh Mi Pho Shop- Your New Fave Ramen Spot in the Fort!  🍜
Aug29

Banh Mi Pho Shop- Your New Fave Ramen Spot in the Fort! 🍜

2017 has been my year of ramen. From Momofuku in New York City, some side street vendor in Vietnam that I can’t pronounce, to High Five Ramen in Chicago, I have been obsessed with the noodles of my college days. (And who am I kidding, most of my 20s as well!) And now we have this amazing creation in Fort Wayne at a local business called Banh Mi Pho Shop)! Although the word ramen comes from the Chinese, there is a heated debate as to whether the dish itself originated in Japan or China. Regardless, instant ramen was invented by the Taiwanese-Japanese Momofuku Ando, and was named the greatest Japanese invention of the 20th century. The main component of any ramen is steaming hot noodles served in a rich and salty soup broth, but that is where the similarity between our college dorm hot pot ramen and the ramen of today ends. From the broth, to the spices, to the meat, and toppings ramen is vastly different from shop to shop…but that’s what makes it fun for both chefs and diners alike! Banh Mi Pho Shop is located at the former Tom’s Donuts on 1925 Fairfield Avenue and opened this past June. Don’t let its newness fool you, however. It is the sister location of the popular Vietnamese shop, Banh Mi Barista, which opened August 2012 on 5320 Coldwater Road. The original restaurant started with owners Will Le, his sister Thao Le, and niece Hien Le. Thirty-nine-year-old Will has been working in the food industry since high school (including Fort Wayne’s beloved West Coast Grill) and loves to cook. While 30-year-old Thao worked at a pharmaceutical lab in Indy, she always had a love for food and eating out as did her foodie niece, Hien. The original Banh Mi Barista is well known for its phenomenal customer service, amazing bubble teas, and Vietnamese staples such as pho and bánh mì sandwiches. One year ago, Thao took a break to travel. While she grew up in Fort Wayne, she wanted to experience the culinary trends and staples in various parts of the world, including her homeland of Vietnam. Co-owner Hien joined her for a month in Vietnam (as did yours truly for a much shorter stint!). I sat with Thao to ask about her experience in Vietnam this past April. “I was born in Vietnam and still have family in southern Vietnam,” said Thao. “I have always appreciated the unique flavors and textures, but this trip made me expand my taste buds to appreciate northern Vietnamese food as well. I also learned how to make bánh mì (bread) from scratch when I...

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Fort Wayne Outdoor Dining Options
May12

Fort Wayne Outdoor Dining Options

It’s finally the time of year where it’s warming up, and we can take our socializing outside. For me, the Indiana summers are just one more reason that I love where I live. There’s nothing I enjoy more than socializing, eating, and drinking in an outdoor space; and believe it or not, Fort Wayne offers plenty of outdoor dining options. I did a series called Dining Al Fresco where I covered a handful of locally-owned places with outdoor dining. This time I’m going to condense it all into one amazing post of locally-owned, outdoor dining spots. But here’s the scoop, I don’t know everything! (I know, right. It is hard to believe!) I will need your help. If I missed one, let us know on Twitter or Facebook.     Locally-Owned Eateries with Outdoor Dining 800 Degrees 800 Degrees Three Fires 816 Pint and Slice Anastasia’s Cafe BakerStreet Black Canyon Restuarant Black Dog Pub Calhoun St. Soups, Salads, and Spirits Caliente Catablu Grille Chappell’s Coral Grill Chevvy’s Pizza and Sports Pub Club Soda Columbia Street West Dash-In The Deck Dicky’s Wild Hare Don Chavas El Azteca Flanagan’s Friendly Fox The Golden Granite City Hall’s Triangle Park Henry’s The Hoppy Gnome J K O’Donnell’s Joseph Decuis Junk Ditch Brewing Company Loving Cafe Mad Anthony Brewing Co. Main Street Bistro Mexico Antiguo O’Reily’s Irish Bar and Restaurant Oyster Bar Phoenix Pickles Cafe Red Rok BBQ & Burbon Saloon The Side Car at Winedown Summit City Brewerks Scotty’s Brewhouse Toscani Pizzeria Trubble Brewing Editor’s note – Previously posted on May 22, 2014 and updated on May 12,...

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Fort Wayne Food Tour –  Eat, Walk, Enjoy!
Mar27

Fort Wayne Food Tour – Eat, Walk, Enjoy!

This past Friday I was privileged to be a part of the inaugural Fort Wayne Food Tour, which was founded by Fort Wayne native and historian, Randy Harter and his daughter/digital marketing guru, Sarah Arnold.  The tour takes you through downtown Fort Wayne to eat tapas style portions at various local restaurants. Join me on my journey as I eat and tour the Fort! My tour, which consisted of 12 guests and Randy as our fearless guide, started at Don Hall’s Gas House. While I am a huge foodie and love to eat out, I normally choose the Deck (the outdoor patio across the parking lot of the Gas House overlooking the river) or even Takaoka (the entertaining Japanese hibachi restaurant upstairs) so I was excited to try something new. Our first course did not disappoint! Don Hall’s Gas House is famous for its steak and potatoes so that is exactly what they served.  A perfectly cooked filet mignon broiled at 1800 degrees topped with a garlic-herb butter, flavorful melt-in-your-mouth mashed potatoes, and sautéed mushrooms seasoned to perfection. Also included was a sample tasting of a 2011 Footbolt Shiraz that paired very nicely with the steak. My favorite part was when Don Hall’s grandson Ben came out to regale us with tales of the restaurant. Apparently Don Hall was obsessed with a restaurant in Chicago called George Diamond Steakhouse. So much so that he copied it right down to the uniforms and chairs. In fact, the chairs are the original from when the restaurant opened 59 years ago! It is in the site of a historic gas plant, which is where its name comes from. After sampling our first dish, it was great to stretch our legs and start the walking portion of our tour. As an added bonus it was a sunny 74 degrees, but Randy assured us that if it ever did rain he came equipped with ponchos.  The tour covered a 1.25 mile loop and was a very easy walk –  I did it in heels! (Although I am a professional shorty…the recommendation is to wear shoes that would be comfortable for a mile walk.) Randy brought history to life as he regaled us with stories about the Wabash and Erie Canal (we literally stood in the middle of where the canal used to be), the former German-American bank, which was renamed Lincoln National Bank & Trust Co due to anti-German sentiment during WWI, and perhaps the most harrowing was a story of how Anthony Wayne’s bones came to their final resting place after the flesh was boiled off of them. While I am not from Fort...

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Just Cream: Ice Cream Boutique – One Sweet Boutique!
Feb28

Just Cream: Ice Cream Boutique – One Sweet Boutique!

With amazing locally owned boutiques popping up all over Fort Wayne in the past few years, recent Purdue grad Lauren Landstoffer had a brilliant idea…an ice cream boutique! Imagine all natural, velvety ice cream made from the highest quality ingredients and merge it with delectable, freshly brewed craft coffee and you have the newest thing to hit Fort Wayne’s food scene – Just Cream: Ice Cream Boutique!   Lauren envisioned a warm, welcoming place that people would consider a hangout spot. She is a huge coffee addict, likes the vibe that coffee shops have, and wanted to emulate that in her space. “I love that people can come in and hang out and do their work. Come stay awhile!” And come they will, to enjoy the unique boutique menu of items that Just Cream has cultivated.   Lauren, like many Purdue alums, is a huge fan of The Silver Dipper, which serves premium hand scooped ice cream that is highly addicting. She knew that was the ice cream she wanted for her boutique. The ice cream itself comes from a locally owned and operated business in Wisconsin called The Chocolate Shoppe. It’s known for its super premium ice cream made with all natural ingredients and fresh Wisconsin cream.   The drip coffee they will serve is sourced by Intelligentsia, who is known for its third-wave coffee where they buy the beans directly from small, sustainable growers, do their own roasting, and have a slight obsession with quality control. This makes for some of the most delicious tasting coffee and that quality is what Lauren loved when she had her first sip at Olivia Macaron.   In Just Cream, Lauren wanted to create a place that had memorable food experiences. One of her fond memories as a kid was at the local Atz ice cream shop. “We used to get these amazing clown ice creams. I mean it was superman ice cream with all kinds of toppings in it, in the shape of a clown. It was magical. That’s what I want to create. Something people will remember.”   Just Cream will have a number of creative items that are sure to be just as memorable. One of their signature items will be an Extreme Shake, which is “the fanciest, over the top ice cream shake you have ever seen!” It’s a frothy shake served in a mason jar with “super fancy” toppings like candy, cereal, wafers, and of course sprinkles on top. There will be a selection of regular flavors and then an extreme shake of the month.   The menu item I am most excited about is the Boutique...

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