Food Finds of Fort Wayne

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Hannah Shaw, Writer

Are you tired of eating at the same old restaurants? Are you too busy to make yourself a time consuming and complicated dinner? Or maybe you’re just looking to experience the food of downtown Fort Wayne. Whatever your reason may be, downtown Fort Wayne has a variety of restaurants with different price ranges and types of food. No matter how you like to enjoy a meal out, Fort Wayne has something for you.

Mercado

Located on The Landing downtown, this restaurant serves effortlessly delicious Cali-Mexican cuisine. It began as a food truck before growing into the successful eatery that it is today. “The revamped Landing is a great places to visit. The tacos at Mercado are delicious!” said Mr. Beer. They serve food like chicano chicken, shrimp and lobster cake and a pachola burger for dinner. With a more casual lunch, reminiscent of their food truck days, they serve burgers, salads and tacos. Most impressive was the design on the interior of the building. It has eye-catching patterns and art contrasting a fairly basic system of interior design. The bar in particular is beautifully done in an attractive manner. Depending on what you are looking for, they generally charge anywhere from $5 to $20, with a few exceptions. I would encourage paying a visit to this food truck turned restaurant for an appetizing, affordable and memorable meal.

The Old Gas House

Perhaps the most interesting thing about The Old Gas House is the history behind it. True to its name, this restaurant used to be a gas plant; however, in 1958, a man named Don Hall, who at the time owned a drive-in, converted it into a restaurant. They sell salads, sandwiches and a wide array of meat and seafood dishes. Aside from their steak, most of the food served here doesn’t break $15. For the quality and history you get with your meal, I would say the price is worth it. The interior has managed to keep a more sleek and official look while also managing to have a more friendly atmosphere. This makes it a restaurant perfect for an experience of something slightly more fancy that still stays within a certain laid-back feel and affordable price range. Reviews of this restaurant praise them for having stellar customer service. You cannot go wrong with a delicious (and deliciously cheap) meal, especially not when it comes with a rich history and friendly servers.

Tolon

Described as an industrial-chic eatery, Tolon heavily emphasizes the interior of their building, and with good reason. It is a beautiful restaurant that brings the room together. The food itself is delicious, consisting of lots of steak and pork. Despite the prices being higher than the others mentioned here, it is, without a doubt, worth the extra money. Just by being inside of the building, it is clear how much work and care is put into this establishment by the owners and the employees working there. Servers are quick and efficient, while also being polite and even pleasant to have a conversation with. On top of that, Tolon has a farm-to-table system of providing ingredients that attracts many visitors. This is because one of the owners, Nicky, grew up on a small farm right here in Indiana. Undoubtedly, this provided a richer understanding of the state of Indiana and those living in it. Maybe that is why the food there is so perfectly done.

Don’t trust my judgement? How about these three recommendations all from your fellow Homestead students. All of them are within a somewhat affordable price range for those working minimum wage at part time jobs and have food that anyone would be able to enjoy.

Pint & Slice

It should come as no surprise that Pint & Slice makes the list. Founded in 2007 by the Thomas family, this downtown restaurant has plenty to offer, from pizza to sandwiches to pasta. The pizza especially is magnificent. “They have really unique options that you might not necessarily design yourself, but they taste great,” said Anyla Shafer (11). The building can accommodate anyone from small groups looking for a slice or two of quality pizza to a birthday party needing a more open seating arrangement. The beautiful paintings adorning their walls along with the comfortable yet intimate seating arrangements create a happy and homey atmosphere. By far, my favorite part of Pint and Slice is the price. One slice of plain pizza will cost you only three dollars. This restaurant is perfect for getting together with friends and walking away without putting a dent in your wallet. The only downside is the possibility of having to parallel park. Between the affordability, the versatile seating, and the delicious food, Pint & Slice is a must-visit for the downtown area.

AltoGradoPizza

AltoGradoPizza offers wood fired pizza, the eternally superior pizza, along with breadsticks, dessert and grinders. “They have a good amount of different types of pizza, and they even have a vegan option,” said Josie Clarke (11), who later went on to emphasize the kindness and hospitality of their employees. Their menu can back this claim up with an extensive list of different toppings and styles that you can customize your pizza with, including a classic margherita, white pizza and Brooklyn-style pizza. Despite my limited knowledge of vegans and their pizza, if it is half as good as their non-vegan options, it’ll be worth it. Farm-to-table and locally sourced items are available at their restaurant as well. AltoGradoPizza has also reached beyond the norms of what being a restaurant is all about. “They also do pizza workshops, which I think is pretty cool,’’ explained Clarke. AltoGradoPizza’s care for both the customer and the products they are putting out should be enough to earn your business.

The Hoppy Gnome

The Hoppy Gnome is a well-liked restaurant in downtown Fort Wayne, and with good reason. The photos posted on their website are mouth-wateringly delicious, and the physical food is even more so. “I have been to Hoppy Gnome once and I shared tacos. They were actually amazing” said Laura McWilliams (11). Don’t worry if tacos aren’t really your thing. The Hoppy Gnome has an extensive menu filled with entrees from across the globe: vegan sushi, hummus flatbread, and many salads. This restaurant has made it a priority to gather foods from different cultures and countries to differentiate themselves from the typical American food and restaurant. Along with that, they have made their restaurant extremely family-friendly through having a kids’ menu. Furthermore, their prices, though higher than some, are extremely fair, with most dishes under $20. If your goal is to find a restaurant where you can experience something new, the Hoppy Gnome is the place for you.