Fort Wayne's 10 Best Restaurants

Photo of Chloe Hay
9 February 2017

Home to some great museums, galleries and cultural festivals, there are endless reasons to visit Fort Wayne, Indiana. Originally founded to act as a trading post for European settlers, Fort Wayne also boasts several European cuisine-themed restaurants as well as a scattering of classic all-American eateries. Here is an updated version of Where to Eat in Fort Wayne, bringing a few new exciting restaurants into the mix.

Allen County Courthouse, Fort Wayne | © Poca a poco/WikiCommons

Cindy’s Diner

Diner, American
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For one of the best breakfasts in Fort Wayne, head to Cindy’s Diner. It may have recently changed location but its recipes and signature dishes remain just as tasty as ever. Cindy’s is an incredibly small, old-fashioned diner with just 15 counter seats for visitors to dine at. It’s well worth the wait however, especially for Cindy’s speciality garbage plate (a special blend of ham, eggs, potatoes, cheese and onions). The pancakes are also excellent and there’s a working Murphy’s donut machine on site too. Also open for lunch, Cindy’s serves a selection of burgers, melts, sandwiches, soups and sides throughout the day. Bring some quarters for the jukebox!

Club Soda

Bar, Steakhouse, $$$
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This speakeasy-style restaurant-cum-nightclub is exclusively for those over 21 years of age. Club Soda offers guests a choice of club soda, steaks and cocktails in its ambient dining room. Famous for its shrimp cocktail, other dishes needing to be tried include the certified Angus beef, lamb, veal and pork dinners. The generous cuts of meat complemented by herbs and custom glaces, are sure to keep even the heartiest of carnivores’ hunger at bay. Club Soda’s exquisite meals are accompanied by live jazz music every weekend, guaranteeing that an even more intoxicating atmosphere fills the restaurant on Friday and Saturday nights.

DeBrand Fine Chocolates

Candy Store, American
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DeBrand Fine Chocolates, Auburn Park Drive
DeBrand Fine Chocolates, Auburn Park Drive | © DeBrand Fine Chocolates
Despite not technically being a restaurant, DeBrand Fine Chocolates is still sincerely worthy of a mention here as it is the finest place to stop by for a sweet and sugary fix at any time of the day. World-famous, DeBrand has a number of celebrity fans including Demi Lovato, George Lopez and Jessica Simpson. Generally described as a chocolate shop, Auburn Park’s branch has more of a French patisserie feel to it and doubles up as the corporate headquarters and warehouse of the entire brand. Dedicated chocoholics can book a tour or private party by calling ahead.

Don Hall’s Old Gas House Restaurant & Bar

Restaurant, American, $$$
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A great venue for group dinners, Don Hall’s Old Gas House features two large private dining rooms alongside the main restaurant and outdoor deck. Situated on the banks of St Mary’s River in the heart of downtown Fort Wayne, the restaurant is built within a converted 19th century gas plant providing diners with a unique setting to enjoy their meal in. Specialising in steaks and seafood, all main courses come with a choice of soup, gumbo or salad and a side dish. Choose between prime rib, filet mignon, yellowfin tuna or Australian lobster tails for a truly delectable meal.

Fort Wayne’s Famous Coney Island

Restaurant, American
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A true local landmark, Fort Wayne’s Famous Coney Island has been in business for 100 years and is still as loved today as it was when it first opened. This tiny hot dog stand is small and simple, offering fast service in a very casual dining setting. Its signature hot dogs can be enjoyed at the long counter that spans the length of the restaurant or, for the lucky few that time it just right, at one of the hugely sought-after tables. In addition to being a favourite among locals and tourists alike, American comedian Jim Gaffigan has also been known to enjoy dining here.

Ichiban Asian Fusion

Restaurant, Asian, Fusion, $$$
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A signature dish at J.K. O'Donnell's Irish Ale House
A signature dish at J.K. O'Donnell's Irish Ale House | Courtesy the Restaurant
Combining authentic flavours from Malaysia, Thailand and Japan, Ichiban Asian Fusion is one of the most unique and innovative restaurants in Fort Wayne. Located next to the Glenbrook Square Mall, it makes for a great lunch or dinner stop after shopping as reservations are rarely needed for small parties. Try the signature banana leaf grilled mahi mahi and crispy tamarind beef for a spicy and enjoyable meal. Both the classic Indian and Thai curries are also delicious and very reasonably priced. If curries aren’t your thing, stop by Monday to Friday between 4.30 and 6.30 p.m. to enjoy happy hour sushi from just $1 a piece.

J.K. O’Donnell’s Irish Ale House

Pub, Pub Grub, $$$
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Bringing a little bit of Ireland to downtown Fort Wayne, J.K. O’Donnell’s is the place to go for proper beers and Irish pub fare. Diners can tuck into wholesome portions of beef and cabbage stew, Irish breakfasts and corned beef hash. Every Saturday there is a new sandwich of the day filled to bursting with delicious Irish favourites, but the venue also provides a generous selection of vegetarian and gluten-free options. To top off the meal, an impressive whiskey menu is in place to rival the extensive beer list and the biggest international sports games are shown on the pub’s TV screens. The restaurant gets its name from the world-famous pubs of Castlebar in memory of Captain Ferdy O’Donnell, the hero of the Battle of Castlebar in 1978.

Loving Cafe

Restaurant, Vegan
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Encouraging people to see the environmental benefits of going vegetarian or vegan, Loving Cafe is a meat-free eatery with a focus on giving its patrons an ‘earth-friendly dining experience’. Amongst the many healthy options on the menu, there is an abundance of soups, salads, rice and noodle dishes to choose between as well as a raw food menu for the particularly health-conscious. The raw taco made from avocado, walnut, cashew, sundried tomatoes, salad, bell peppers, cayenne pepper and sea salt is a delicious and wholesome choice. For a warmer option, the Portobello mushroom sandwich served with an organic soup will do just the job.

Shigs in Pit

This multi-award-winning meat lover’s haven makes its own taste-tingling sauce that’s become so popular it can now be purchased online in two flavors so that Shigs in Pit fans can enjoy it every night of the week. The acclaimed BBQ pulled pork is an unmissable dish and comes served with a choice of two sides and garlic toast to complete the delicious, filling dinner plate. The rack of ribs and gourmet BBQ sandwiches are also hugely popular and the chicken wings are always on offer during weekends. Mac ‘n’ cheese faithfuls should also order a side of Shigs in Pit’s homemade version, to taste one of the best variations around.

Shigs in Pit, 2008 Fairfield Avenue, Fort Wayne, IN, USA, +1 260 387 5903

The Window Garden Café

Cafe, American, $$$
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Offering delicious, home-cooked breakfast and lunch dishes in the heart of the downtown, The Window Garden Cafe provides diners with spectacular views across the city from its position on the 13th floor. Daily and weekly rotating specials are served cafeteria-style and feature dishes classically associated with Midwestern cuisine with some European influences. For the full experience, order a bowl of Minnesota wild rice soup to start, a portion of BBQ brisket sliders to share and a freshly cooked tomato and basil pizza to finish. Stop by first thing to map out the day’s exploration from the café’s windows whilst sipping a morning cup of coffee.

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