Fort Wayne probably won’t pop up on most foodie maps when you are thinking about cutting edge cuisine and it shouldn’t. Fort Wayne, however, has a culinary soul that is vibrant, boisterous, and alive. Fort Wayne won’t and shouldn’t apologize for what it is. It is a place that will take as much pride in a perfectly prepared slider or coney dog as it does in a fine steak. That is one of the reasons that my wife and I are glad to call it home.
It has been a while since I have lived anywhere that had much of a culinary tradition or foodie scene to speak of. Although I lived near Jackson Wyoming, near meant about an hour away if the roads where good and you weren’t dodging deer. So, trips had to be planned and calculated. My summer on Mackinac Island was so consumed with work that the only time I spent in a restaurant besides the one that I was running was trying to drink away the memories of another hellish night running the line.
I didn’t move here with any concern for the food scene, sadly. I was buried in institutional cooking. Although we prided ourselves in scratch cooking, we weren’t pushing any boundaries. I was cooking for college kids. They wanted it fried and they wanted it as fast as you could shove it down their quickly metabolizing gullets.
From the first visit to one of the many farmers markets you can tell that something unique is happening here. There is a level of pride that the people in this community have towards the food they are growing and eating. Small-scale farms and backyard farmers bring heirloom and organic varieties of produce to sell to the Fort Wayne public. Local farmers bring their meats to the table just as bakeries and home hobbyists bring fresh savory and sweet treats to top off the grocery list.
The restaurant scene is also exciting as Fort Wayne offers a mix of traditional landmarks, under the radar gems, and greasy spoon diners. This is the area where Natasha and I want to make our mark. I feel that surface is barely being scratched and once people get past the chain restaurants they will see the great food and drink that surround them
Our so far so damn good list (in no particular order and ever expanding.)
- Get Fresh Farms – Local Tilapia and local produce? Forget about it. These guys have a good idea and everyone needs to take notice.
- Don Hall’s – There is a lot to be said for tradition.
- Hideout 125 – Great Food from Chef Brian and great drinks from the ladies and gentlemen at the bar.
- Xisco’s Pops – Lady you’re knocking it out of the park. I think my wife is a saving a sweet-corn popsicle in the freezer for a special occasion.
- Summit City Brewerks – It takes “brass ones” to put up 20 taps of beer up against your own. But I tell ya what; I haven’t ordered anyone else’s when I visit.
- The Hoppy Gnome – lots of beer and lots of tacos? Nah… Lots of craft beer and lots of gourmet tacos? Yes please!
- Cosmos – Sadly, I haven’t made it to the lunch menu yet. That’s some damn good breakfast.
- Taqueria B – Am I really allowed to put two places that serve tacos on this list? Only if they both think outside the tortilla.
- Fort Wayne Farmer’s Markets – Bless you people for supporting fresh, local, and delicious.
- 800 degrees – You folks will always have a special spot in my heart for having a location down the street from our apartment. My wife was pregnant and you gave us great pizza.
- Dash-In – offering that bohemian feel with good food and drink to boot.
12.As I said, we are here to stay and we are looking to add on to this list………….