Sarah Arnold is sure that she has walked around downtown with her father, Randy Harter, a number of times, but when she participated in the “Eat, Walk, Enjoy” tour, she was surprised to learn something new.
Led by Harter, a local historian who has written two books on Fort Wayne's history, the food tour features historic and architectural commentary and stops at five downtown dining spots – with a sense of humor thrown in.
The tour began last year as a way to spotlight the city's growing food scene as well as engage local residents and tourists alike. It returns for a second season March 24 with tours offered at 3 p.m. Saturdays (and some Fridays) through mid-October.
Participants begin at Don Hall's Gas House, where there is ample parking – a plus, Arnold says, for downtown – before heading to Park Place on Main, The Hoppy Gnome, J.K. O'Donnell's and DeBrand Fine Chocolates. Each spot will offer a tapas-sized tasting, and there's usually someone from the restaurant on hand – whether it's the owner, general manager or chef – to share more about the restaurant and dish.
“It's really neat to get that insider scoop and feel like a VIP on the tour,” Arnold says.
It's up to the restaurants, she says, as to what is offered. Last season, the Gas House served one of its best-selling dishes, filet mignon over garlic mashed potatoes, while The Hoppy Gnome changed the dish from week to week. DeBrand handed out chocolate guides and offered samples from each of its collections. Iced tea, soda and water are included at each stop, but alcoholic beverages can be ordered ala carte.
J.K. O'Donnell's is new to the tour, which is family friendly. Last year, the tour also stopped at The Golden, which is now closed, and Dash-In.
While the tour lets participants try a restaurant they may not have been to previously, it also gives restaurants an opportunity to introduce their cuisine to new diners or feature new menu items, Arnold says.
In addition, the tours, which last about three hours, will include six commentary stops that will highlight the history and architecture of Fort Wayne during the slow and easy 1.25-mile central core loop.
The cost is $60, including gratuity at the restaurants. Tours, which are rain, sleet or snow, are limited to 12 participants. Private bookings are available. For more information or to book, go to FortWayneFoodTours.com.
City View opens
I said it last week and, it seems, I'm saying it again this week. A new cafe is joining the downtown dining scene to serve the breakfast and lunch crowd. This time it is City View Cafe, which will be open to the public beginning today with hours from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Occupying space on the 13th floor of the Indiana Michigan Power Building, the cafe will serve breakfast and lunch dishes, as well as grab-and-go items. Among the menu selections are breakfast sandwiches, oatmeal, biscuits and gravy and a special for the morning. Lunch will include hot and cold sandwiches, burgers, pizza, fried appetizer items, soup and entree salads. Grab-and-go items include fruit cups, vegetables and dip, cheese and crackers and snack-type items.
Brown Bag back
SCAN Inc. is taking orders for its 33rd annual Brown Bag Lunch fundraiser.
The lunch, which will include pasta with meatballs and Casaburo salad, will be 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 14 at The Summit, 1025 W. Rudsill Blvd. The cost is $9 for the pasta lunch and $7 for a large Casaburo salad. All lunches include a dinner roll, butter and dessert.
Family-style meals are also available. Serving up to 20 people, the cost is $180 for pasta with meatballs, Casaburo salad and a sheet cake donated by Walnut Hill Catering and Events.
Casa Restaurants will donate 2,900 lunches for the event.
Lunches must be pre-ordered and are anticipated to sell out. Orders can be placed online or submitted by mail, fax or over the phone. Proceeds from this event benefit services and programs that support SCAN's mission to protect children, prepare parents, strengthen families and educate the community to Stop Child Abuse and Neglect.
Lunches will be available for pickup the day of the event at The Summit, or for free delivery with a minimum of seven individual orders or one family-style order. Delivery must be within one mile of the Interstate 69 and 469 boundaries or no farther north than Huntertown.
For more information on the Brown Bag Lunch fundraiser, including how to place an order and volunteer, go to www.scanfw.org/brownbaglunch, or contact special events coordinator Paige Doellman at 421-5000, ext. 2238, or email@example.com.
Tech dinner dates
Ivy Tech Community College's Fort Wayne campus has announced the dates for its French Cuisine dinners.
As part of its Classical Cuisine class, Hospitality Administration students will create and serve French cuisine to the public. Students write the menu and cook the meals, which follow the principles and techniques of renowned French chef Auguste Escoffier. There will be four dinners this semester.
Dinners start at 6:15, 6:30 and 6:45 p.m. nightly. Dates are March 29 and April 6, 12 and 19. All meals will be hosted in the hospitality room on the Coliseum campus, 3800 N. Anthony Blvd.
To make reservations, which are required at least 24 hours before the dinner, call 480-2002. Dinners are $20 a person, and wine is available for purchase. Go to IvyTech.edu/northeast/dinners to learn more.
12th Edible Book
Ivy Tech Fort Wayne is also gearing up to host its annual Edible Book Festival.
The worldwide event invites participants to create edible books to be exhibited for, then eaten by, festival attendees. Participants create a dish based on a book, book title, or pun of a book title.
This is the festival's 12th year, and at Ivy Tech Community College's Fort Wayne campus, this event is open to both the northeast Indiana community and Ivy Tech students and employees. For some baking students, the edible book is a class project.
The festival is currently accepting entrants. Anyone is welcome to participate, from local bakers and hobbyists to those looking to promote their businesses. Companies are welcome to bring promotional material for display. The registration form is available at library.ivytech.edu/ebf and due by March 30. Questions should be directed to Elina Puckett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 480-2032.
The festival will be noon to 2 p.m. April 2 in the Student Life Center gymnasium at Ivy Tech Fort Wayne's North Campus, 3701 Dean Drive.
New Huddle House
A restaurant known for its round-the-clock breakfast and Southern hospitality will be opening a new location in the region.
Kulwinder Singh has signed a lease to open a Huddle House in Warren. His family owns a location in Austin, Indiana, as well.
The Warren location will be Huddle House's fourth restaurant in Indiana. Set to open this year, it will be in the Warren Travel Plaza at 7270 S. Warren Road.
Based in Atlanta, there are 346 Huddle House restaurants across the United States with an additional 51 in development.
• Zinnia's Bakehouse is putting a little Irish luck on its menu. The bakery, which has locations at 1320 E. State Blvd. and 127 W. Wayne St., will be featuring the Irish Dreamcicle cupcakes, which is a dark stout chocolate cupcake with a Baileys buttercream. Beer Bread will be available on the weekends and as part of the bread board at Wine Down, 301 W. Jefferson Blvd.
• Speaking of Wine Down, the downtown restaurant is celebrating its third birthday and a new menu. Among the new dishes are a swordfish filet, shrimp carbonara, filet burger and Fischer Farms rib-eye.
• Girl Scout cookie season was set to end March 4 but has been extended through March 18. The cost of a box of cookies in the Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana-Michiana council is $4. To buy cookies, contact any Girl Scout; stop by a cookie booth; find locations near you by using the Girl Scout Cookie Finder at www.gsnim.org; or download the Girl Scout Cookie Finder app on your iOS or Android mobile device and press “Find Cookies Now.”
The Dish features restaurant news and food events and appears Wednesdays. Fax news items to 461-8893, email email@example.com or call 461-8304.