Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Don Taco serving up authentic cuisine

Mexican eateries far from serving up fast-food tacos


Dean Jackson

Whatzup Features Writer

Published September 7, 2022

One of the things I really want to do with Off the Eaten Path is explore places I’ve never been. Just to take on the role of your food scout. Seriously. 

I’ll shy away from any significant judgment of the food or the service or things a traditional food reviewer would do. You have your taste, I have mine.

There’s always a story with food. A tradition. A family connection. I found one on my first try. How’s that for going with my gut?

Last week, my daughter and I visited Don Taco. I’ve seen it around on Crescent Avenue across from Purdue Fort Wayne and on Ice Way near Glenbrook Square. I wasn’t expecting much, maybe just some fast food tacos. But this isn’t an ordinary taco, and neither were the burrito, bowls, or everything else. 

The server grew up in Fort Wayne and is back after a few years in Mexico City. His family owns and operates the place. Their roots stretch to the Agaves restaurants around town.

“We are like Subway, but authentic Mexican,” he laughs. He added that it’s homemade with family recipes, some new, some old, some fresh out of the test kitchen: that is, the family kitchen.

They work from a service line concept, seen at other places. It’s elegant, fresh, and hip. (Even a square like me can tell hip from time to time.)

Then he points to dishes and uses terms like birria, picadillo, carnitas, pastor, chorizo, cochinita, and tinga, and my head spins. His fluency astounds me. 

Long story short, my teenage daughter who generally rotates around five restaurants now thinks good ole daddy is an adventurer. She got a short course in Mexican cuisine and actually, for at least a three-hour span, is impressed by my taste. Not a bad investment of time or money. 

Restaurant with purpose

Gigi’s Playhouse’s has ventured into the restaurant world, and it promises to be a win-win.

Gigi’s is a national service agency for Down syndrome. This summer, Gigi’s Genesis Health Bar opened at their headquarters, 6081 N. Clinton St. Their ambassadors are involved in virtually all aspects of the business, including behind the scenes like marketing. 

They are open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday offering sandwiches, quesadillas, smoothies, wraps, and a salad bar, all from local producers. They’ll even provide boxed lunches for larger events. 

The objective is two-fold: provide work skills to those with Down syndrome and provide a platform for how they can contribute to society. 

Parting is sweet sorrow

Everyone with a sweet tooth distraught with the adversity facing three local eateries.

After 11 years at Auer Center, 300 E. Main St., owner Steve Nagy has closed Pembroke Bakery and Cafe due to health concerns. 

The shop started modestly by selling baked goods at farmers markets with products Nagy produced from his own kitchen. There is talk of a new owner, but that would probably also come with a move from the arts district. 

Their made-from-scratch attention to gluten-free and vegan treats drew rave reviews. Even the sweets were free from animal products.

DeBrand Fine Chocolates has also closed one of their city stores. 

The company announced recently they were closing their shop on Coldwater Road. They’ll still operate at their stores on Auburn Park Drive near Dupont Road, downtown at Ash Skyline Plaza on Harrison, and at Jefferson Pointe. 

Sweets So Geek in Georgetown Plaza is phasing out after about eight years as they’ll continue to work on current orders for a month or so. 

Passionately pro-Fort Wayne, the owners quickly gained attention for their, well, geeky way of making sweet treats. In many cases, like you’d see with the custom cakes shows on Food Network. They were known for items featuring television, motion pictures, and characters, especially Star Wars.

Chicken sandwich war rages

The chicken sandwich battle is fixing to flare up again. 

Wingstop, 407 W. Coliseum Blvd.,has entered the arms, er chicken breast, race, and the restaurant is going big. 

It’s not the classic fillet on bun. It’s more than just pickles and an occasional touch of spice. It’s like a Transformer toy action figure, but with lots of sauce options. 

Cast your vote for vegan 

Starbucks is now offering a vegan drink. 

The Apple Crisp Oatmilk Macchiato, served at any temperature, is like its name implies, made with oat milk, with a blonde espresso, and topped with spiced apple. 

Of course, their Pumpkin Spice Latte makes its annual entry into the fall lineup.

Candlelight burning longer

Klemm’s Candlelight Café on East State Boulevard is a standby. 

It’s great for breakfast and lunch, but now they have expanded to evenings, with the new hours being 8 a.m.-2 p.m. as well as 4:30-9 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday.

I can’t confirm, however, if you can actually dine by candlelight with the new evening hours.

Food trucks at Lakeside Park

Boasting they have the best food trucks at the best park, the Northside Neighborhood will host a food truck night Monday, Sept. 12, from 5-8 p.m. at Lakeside Park.

This event includes newbies Monterrico and Twisted Smoke. One Love Jamaican Fusion and Whip and Chill are also scheduled to be there. 

Off the Eaten Path is the new Whatzup weekly column that covers Northeast Indiana’s restaurant and food news. Send your news items to info@whatzup.com.

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