The Gas House Deck
In Northeast Indiana, many things indicate that summer is just around the corner: the TinCaps home opener, the first lightning bug sighting, weekends at the lake and the first sunburn of the season, but perhaps none more so than the annual opening of The Deck at Don Hall’s Gas House. Constructed nine years ago along the St. Mary’s River, The Deck has become a symbol for summer in Indiana, serving up strong signature drinks and amazing food.
I hadn’t been to The Gas House nor it’s little sister, The Deck, in years because I had never been impressed. The menu was boring and the food was bland. I am happy to find a lot has changed since my last visit. I’ve spent a lot of time at The Gas House Deck this season, and you’d be hard pressed to find a better outdoor dining experience in Fort Wayne. No matter the temperature, there’s always a nice breeze bustling through and plenty of good company, staff included.
Here are a few of my favorite items from the menu:
The California Burger ($8.50): A 10-ounce burger on a toasted onion roll with a choice of three toppings from the following: grilled onion, mushrooms, bacon, red peppers, lettuce/tomato/pickle, American cheese, Swiss cheese, bleu cheese, cheddar, pepperjack, provolone and jalapenos. I order mine medium rare and topped with lettuce/tomato/pickle, bacon and cheddar. The burger is a thin, hand-packed patty served on a soft and savory onion roll which complements the charred flavor of the burger. It’s perfect in it’s simplicity.
Beef Tenderloin Salad ($10): Sliced grilled filet mignon, potato wedges, bleu cheese, tomato, boiled egg and fried onions. This salad isn’t for sissies, if you can even call it a salad. The generous helping of tender beef and the gigantic potato wedges ratchet up the calorie count, but every single bite is simply divine.
Tuna Steak Sandwich ($11): A nice-sized tuna steak served with lettuce, tomato, red onion and wasabi mayo on a lightly buttered bun. Tuna steak can either be done just right or horribly wrong – there is no in between – and the folks at The Deck impressed me. I asked for it as rare as possible, and it came out lightly seared on the outside with just the right amount of wasabi mayo to give it the kick it needed.
Tacos de Bele ($9): Available with fish, brisket or chicken and served with pico de gallo, feta cheese and salsa verde. I love fish tacos, but I was hesitant to order them from The Deck. I mean, some Mexican restaurants fail miserably, and I have been hard-pressed to find good ones in town. The Deck’s Tacos de Bele with fish are heavenly. The fish is light and grilled just right, and the feta cheese, pico de gallo, and salsa verde pack a superb flavor punch.
Sesame Crusted Tuna Salad ($10): Candied ginger, wasabi peas, sesame seared sashimi tuna and ginger-soy vinaigrette. This was the first dish I had on my first visit back to Hall’s in years, and I was impressed. The tuna tastes fresh, and the ginger-soy vinaigrette is to die for. The candied ginger pieces and wasabi peas add some heat, but are tempered well with the flavors from the rest of the dish. It’s simply perfect for a riverside lunch in the summer.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the fabulous cocktails. The Deck has a full bar menu of signature drinks. Here is my favorite:
The Standard Russian ($7): Vodka, ginger beer, mint and lime. Not to be confused with The Russian Standard ($9), the exact same drink with a fancier description, The Standard Russian is refreshing and literally intoxicating. You can’t have too many if you intend to get anything done the rest of the day, or the next day for that matter.
Because the food and ambiance are so good, it’s nearly impossible to get a table without waiting over an hour if the weather is even mildly pleasant. It’s a clear indication that our city is hungry for more outdoor dining, especially along the rivers.
Here’s my tip: take the afternoon off and get there around two o’clock. You will likely find a few seats at the bar where the service is the best. You won’t regret it.
by Amber Recker
Click on the headings below for full calendars
Click header for complete Things To Do calendar
Click header for complete On the Road calendar
Josh Johnson — Comedy at Calhoun Street Soups, Salads & Spirits, Fort Wayne, 7 p.m., $10, (260) 456-7005
Vince Gill — Country at Embassy Theatre, Fort Wayne, 7 p.m., $39.50-$79.50, 424-5665
Click header for complete Music & Comedy calendar
Community Orchestra — Mussorsky's Pictures at an Exhibition at Auer Performance Hall, Rhinehart Music Center, IPFW, Fort Wayne, 7:30 p.m., $4-$7, 481-6555
Open Mic Night — Variety at Checkerz Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 7-10 p.m., no cover, 489-0286
Scratch N Sniff 2.0 w/1/4 Kit Kurt — Variety at Deer Park Irish Pub, Fort Wayne, 6:30-8 p.m., no cover, 432-8966
Click header for complete Karaoke & DJs calendar
Fort Wayne Karaoke — Karaoke at Latch String Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 483-5526
Fort Wayne Karaoke w/TJ — Variety at Office Tavern, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., no cover, 478-5827
Three Rivers Karaoke w/Rob — at Wrigley Field Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 485-1038
Click header for complete Stage & Dance calendar
Click header for complete Movie times
Click header for complete Art calendar
41st SOCA Student Exhibition — Works from students currently enrolled at USF’s School of Creative Arts, daily thru April 30, Weatherhead Gallery, USF Rolland Art Center, University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
Fort Wayne Artist Guild Exhibitions — Works by Alice Siefert at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Jennifer Caudel at Allen County Retinal Surgeons, Anita Trick, Citizens Square (2nd and 3rd floors), Darlene Selzer Miller at The Einhaus Group for Women’s Health, Patricia Weiss at Heritage of Fort Wayne, Emily Jane Butler at Ophthalmology Consultants (Southwest), Linda Binek at Ophthalmology Consultants (North), Carolyn Stachera at Rehabilitation Hospital of Fort Wayne, John Kelty at ResCare Inc. Adult Day Service, Wiletta Blevins at Town House Retirement, Karen Bixler at Visiting Nurse Hospice and Barb Yoder and Karen Harvey at Will Jewelers, thru April 30, fortwayneartistguild.org.
Glass: A Medium in Art and Automobiles — Dale Chihuly blown glass and fiberglass auto, daily thru Sept. 8, Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum, Auburn, $7.50-$12.50, 925-1444
Outdoor Sculpture Invitational — Fifteen outdoor sculptures from regional artists, daily thru April 30, School of Creative Arts campus, University of Saint Francis North Campus, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
Rhoda Gerig: The Hope of Eagles — Photographic images of eagles, daily thru June 4, Clark Gallery, Honeywell Center, Wabash, 563-1102
Spring 2017 BFA Exhibition — Exhibition of works by IPFW graduation seniors, daily thru May 3 , Jeffrey R. Krull Gallery, Main Library, Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, 481-6709
Spring 2017 BFA Exhibition — Senior thesis projects from Bachelor of Fine Arts candidates Brenda Drayer (sculpture), Derek Hibbs (printmaking), Ellen Mensch (painting), Nathaniel Morris (sculpture) and Kyle Snodgrass (sculpture), daily thru May 7, Visual Arts Gallery, IPFW, Fort Wayne, 481-6709