Restaurants That Will Make You Want to Visit Fort Wayne, IN
Fort Wayne, Indiana is gaining in popularity due to their great culinary scene. Having been there in the past, I was eager to return and eat my way through this northwest Indiana city for a second time. During my travels, my friend Sara of Travel with Sara and I found these nine restaurants that will make you want to visit Fort Wayne are sure to satisfy your inner foodie and taste buds, as they did mine. Fort Wayne is delicious!
Proximo is of the most beautiful eateries in downtown Fort Wayne, with incredible food, service, and menu options. Serving nothing but top quality ingredients, Proximo is a one-stop shop for your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and drink needs. Proximo’s dishes are Latin-fusion inspired with influences from Spain, Cuba, and Colombia.
Sara and I were treated to a meal of six different breakfast plates at Proximo. Dishes I can say that were finger-licking good are the Chilaquiles, French toast (with macerated berries and pecans), and the Carnita Benedict. Dear goodness, the Carnita Benedict had me at first sight! It was Instagram picture-perfect and the braised pork was ladled over a sweet cornbread. That with perfectly poached eggs and rich, decadent hollandaise was the perfect bite. Sara’s perfect bite was the French toast loaded with the berries.
I tried Steak and Eggs for the first time—a traditional Midwestern breakfast dish. The steak (with chipotle demi-glaze) was amazingly tender and well-seasoned; quite the compliment to the gorgeous fried eggs. Make sure to order a side of Sweet Pepper Bacon. Yum!
Dinners at Proximo range from Chimichurri Ribeye to Vegan Mushroom Barbacoa, while lunch has street tacos, Cuban chicken, shrimp & grits, and Crab Chilaquiles. You can make restaurant reservations through OpenTable.
An industrial chic farm-to-table restaurant in the heart of Fort Wayne is Tolon. With a focus on sustainable ag practices, craft cocktails, and seasonal ingredients, Tolon is a restaurant that will make you want to visit Fort Wayne—again and again. Chef Matthew Nolot is the brainchild behind this fun eatery.
Great starters at Tolon include crispy Brussels sprouts and the duck fat frites (fries) with basil aioli. Two other dishes that I didn’t try but certainly piqued my curiosity were Tolon’s Deviled eggs and “god’s butter” (roasted bone marrow). For dinner, try the Classic Coq Au Vin or the Bacon Cheeseburger with bacon jam. Nom, nom!
Tolon is one restaurant you might think about eating dessert first because the creations are so amazing, you won’t want to be too full to hold one. From house-made ice creams, chocolate cream pie, and apple butter coffee cake, there is no wrong selection from this list.
A mainstay on The Landing (an urban neighborhood along the waterfront) is Nawa, a beautiful Asian restaurant with special lunch pricing, rice bowls, beer, and wine.
For lunch, Nawa offers several curry dishes with a variety of flavors (Green, Panang, Massaman) to choose from and proteins (chicken, tofu, pork, beef, shrimp, seafood). I tried the Massaman Curry with Jasmine rice which was super flavorful and delicious. The lunch portion was plentiful, so Nawa did not skimp on size to offer a reduced lunch price. You can also choose the spice level you prefer. Seaweed soup comes on the side. Lunch at Nawa ranges from $10 to $12 and runs from 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM.
Nawa offers sake, beer, wine, cider, and a whole menu of cocktails. They also serve Thai teas, a tasty and refreshing drink made with coconut milk.
#4 Dash In
Dash In is a refreshing dining spot with a relaxed vibe and a great menu, namely an amazing grilled cheese menu. Choose from one of Dash In’s 20+ craft beers and cider on tap as you munch on comfort dishes such as pulled pork, pub burgers, and red pepper chicken for lunch or dinner. The restaurant also serves drinks ranging from barista specials (macchiato, Vietnamese coffee, and lattes) to smoothies, teas, shakes, and wine.
Dash In is wonderful for breakfast and coffee, too. I recommend the Dash In breakfast sandwich (on a bagel or croissant) with spinach, tomato, Cheddar, Canadian bacon, herbed cream cheese, and a fried egg. Other breakfast faves include biscuits & gravy, French toast casserole, and avocado toast. Weekend brunch at Dash In features a variety of omelets and an impressive list of Benedicts such as smoked salmon, crab cake, or carnitas as the main ingredient.
#5 Hop River Brewing Company
The food quality and creative dishes at Hop River Brewing, a microbrewery and taproom in the heart of Fort Wayne, is unbelievable. Enjoy a flight made up of your favorite four beers, or have a staff member choose for you. Pair the brews with Hop River Brewing’s scrumptious Caramelized Onion Dip with fresh veggies (colored carrots, watermelon radishes, celery) and kettle chips. Vegan and vegetarian fare is on the menu and I can attest for how tasty the Vegan Sloppy Joe with mustard vinegar collard slaw is. Fantastic!
Sara had the White BBQ Chicken Sandwich, which ended up being her favorite meal of the trip. Zinnia’s Bakehouse makes the bread for Hop River’s sandwiches.
Back to the beer at Hop River Brewing, I tried some delicious ones including Constance Markievicz, Fat Bob’s Porter, Terry’s Wit, and Greater Heron, my first Doppelbock that I loved! Hop River has a family-friendly atmosphere with board games, pinball machines, and many other signature calendar events.
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#6 816 Pint & Slice
Serving Fort Wayne’s favorite pizza, you will also find grinders, calzones, and salads at 816 Pint and Slice. Go here to grab a slice of New York style pizza in classic versions or try one of 816 Pint and Slice’s daily specials such as Greeeen! with bacon, chicken, pesto sauce, and ranch. The crust is delicious, almost cracker-like in taste and sturdy enough to hold up the huge amount of toppings on the slice. Other desirable menu options include Build-Your-Own wraps, pasta, calzones, and grinders with your choice of sauce, side, and four ingredients from an extensive list. I found the $3.89 special, which includes a gourmet slice of pizza and fountain drink, a steal!
816 Pint & Slice has a huge selection of beer and a casual vibe to the restaurant. They play fun movies on TVs to watch while you dine. I wanted my slice of pizza to last so that I could hang out a bit longer.
#7 Copper Spoon
Fort Wayne is a foodie town and nothing embodies it better than Copper Spoon, a sophisticated dining spot with prohibition-style cocktails and a killer Chef-inspired menu. You’ll gasp at the craft cocktail list, describing the ingredients, alcohol content, and special features. It even goes so far as to help you find a new cocktail to try based on the things you know you already like. If cocktails aren’t your thing, Copper Spoon has a splendid wine menu to select from.
Start your dining experience at Copper Spoon with the Pimento Cheese Board, topped with baguette, cornichons, and pickled onion. It is the perfect pairing for those adult libations! I also tried my first cornichon, a tart and tiny French pickle. How did I wait 50 years of my life to try one of these tasty little numbers?
For dinner, go with Copper Spoon’s Ribeye with chorizo butter, or the Grilled Salmon. It was hard to not get the Baron, a double-patty gourmet burger with egg salad–the description is amazing and the presentation causes salivation. Save room for the Chocolate Torte with berries for dessert.
FYI: See one of the top bartenders in the country per the World Bartending Championship slinging cocktails behind Copper Spoon’s bar.
#8 Zesto Ice Cream
Zesto is the cutest retro ice cream stand is in Fort Wayne, serving classic frozen custard cones and sundaes. The butterscotch dipped cone (with creamy vanilla ice cream) gets my vote, but Zesto’s menu also has malts, razzles (their version of a Blizzard), chili dogs, and slushes.
The nostalgic corner spot is Instagram-worthy and a great display of a business going 50 years strong in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I had to come for the cool signage as well as the tasty treats.
#9 Rise ‘n Roll Bakery
This Amish bakery is a restaurant that will make you want to visit Fort Wayne without a shadow of a doubt. From the delicious “Amish crack” donuts (sugared cinnamon cake) to the Bismarcks, muffins, homemade bread, and other baked goods, everything is sinfully delicious at Rise ‘n Roll Bakery. My favorite creation of theirs is a rolled sausage, cheese, and egg slice drenched with sausage gravy. It is tasty and creative, too!
Mmm, Mmm, Good Fort Wayne
Sara and I had a mighty good time dining around the wonderful restaurants of Fort Wayne. We hope these nine restaurants will make you want to visit Fort Wayne, Indiana or at least eat your way through the city at some point. I think I have the best and luckiest job in the world getting to experience amazing dishes and local businesses like these. Thanks for having me, Fort Wayne.
Thanks to Visit Fort Wayne for hosting my stay and meals. As always, opinions and reviews are 100% mine and unbiased.
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