If there’s one thing that seems to hold true about people in Fort Wayne, it’s that they love their restaurants. And luckily, there’s no shortage of dining options in the Summit City. That’s why an upcoming event that highlights some of the best locally owned restaurants has become so popular.
The twelve days of Christmas will soon make way for twelve days of delicious dining at nearly four dozen locations. Savor Fort Wayne will take place Jan. 9-20, and it’s hyper-focused on local food and drinks.
“Savor Fort Wayne is different in that it’s all about local,” explained Emily Stuck with Visit Fort Wayne. “We really do rely on community sponsors to fund this program, and the restaurants also buy in. They have a registration fee and they provide gift cards that we use for promotional purposes. We put all that money back into the program each year.”
Try something new, or tried and true
Now in its sixth year, Savor Fort Wayne gives diners a chance to try something new and different or to take advantage of deals at some of their favorites. Participating restaurants often offer special menus at discounted prices.
“Sometimes diners can pick an appetizer, entrée, and dessert,” Stuck said. “Some restaurants will do three-course meals for a special price, or two people can share an appetizer, they each get an entrée, and they each get dessert. It’s great because it’s not the same at every restaurant. It’s different, so it works for single people, groups of people, couples.”
The owners of Hop River Brewing Company are excited to be on board for the first time. They opened in February and think this is the perfect time to show folks what they have to offer.
“The community has been incredibly welcoming and receptive,” said MC Lowenstein regarding the first eleven months in business. “Savor Fort Wayne is very Fort Wayne-focused and so are we. It’s perfect for people who aren’t necessarily aware of where we are and maybe haven’t been to our space yet to come and try us out.”
Located on North Harrison Street, Hop River has a full menu, but there’s an emphasis on craft beer that diners won’t find anywhere else.
“We have a very welcome, open, traditional beer hall space with communal tables, shelves of games, windows that look directly into our brewhouse, and we really focus on the community and that filters all the way through to our food,” Lowenstein said. “We have shareables instead of appetizers and all of our meats on the menu are locally sourced, our greens are locally sourced, and we get a lot of our baked goods and breads locally.”
Be a part of the buzz
That same attention to locally-made items happens at Three Rivers Distilling Company on East Wallace Street just south of downtown. The distillery has been open since March 2016, but since the restaurant just opened this past February, owners thought it was the perfect time to get involved in Savor Fort Wayne.
“Feedback that I’ve heard from other restaurants that have participated in the past has been extremely positive, and we wanted to be part of that buzz and part of the Fort Wayne community that supports local restaurants,” Marla Schneider said. “We decided this would be a great opportunity for us to get our name out and participate in something that has a community value to it.”
Aside from the special menus and discounts, diners also have the opportunity to win prizes.
Back for its second year is the Star Rewards Card, which provides a little extra incentive for people to try several different places during Savor Fort Wayne.
“We especially want to reward them for dining out on a weekday, so that Monday through Thursday night if they dine out, a Savor meal is two stars, and a weekend night is one star,” Stuck said.
“And if they get four stars, they can turn it into a Star Bank branch and they’re registered to win $500 in restaurant gift cards.”