Monday, July 27, 2015

3 new fort wayne eateries

I love living in Fort Wayne. It's an almost perfect-sized city for finding things to do, but not so big that it loses it's charm. In the last month or so we have found three new spots that opened within the city, and I believe each offers their own unique niche to make our fair town just a little better. Let me provide a brief review of each (based upon my own personal tastes and wallet):

BAR 145° - Burgers, Bands and Bourbon
I LOVE Bar 145! It is my kind of place. It's a gastro pub on North Clinton specializing in burgers, bands, and bourbon. Their tag line is "Red Chucks, White China" - emphasizing the culture clash of serving their food on white china while the employees are sporting red Chuck Taylor tennis shoes. There is a spacious patio, a 50-seat oval bar, plenty of flat screen TVs, and a stage for live music. You can create your own burger, or choose from a variety of others options on the menu. It's also a great place to simply meet some friends and enjoy a drink. It's not outrageously priced - probably similar to an Applebees or Cheddars.
Rating: *****

This is a very neat place, conveniently located in the Harrison building on Jefferson Blvd, with outdoor seating along the lovely Parkview Field concourse. Wine Down is a classy joint with a casual atmosphere, featuring over 50 wines available for tasting or by the bottle. They have state of the art tasting machines with "tasting cards" available in either prepaid or open tab formats. It really is a wine lovers paradise. They also sport a full bar with several signature drinks (I love the Smoked Old Fashioned), and a lunch and dinner menu with unique food selections for each. There is bar seating and plenty of cozy nooks inside, and a spacious outdoor seating area. They even offer several couches with fire pits. It's a little on the pricey side, but this is a fun and classy place for a nice night (or day) out.
Rating: ****

To be fair, we did not get off on the right foot with The Hoppy Gnome, and we've only been there once (unlike the other two places). I'm not real sure if we will go back, but I will try to give them a fair shake. I had heard good things about this place - another creation of the people who operate Bakerstreet Steakhouse. It's also nice to see something go in downtown - at the corner of Clinton & Berry Streets. They do offer spacious seating indoors, as well as a nice patio area outside. But... let me tell you about our little adventure: We moseyed in on a Sunday evening. It was a nice night, so we asked to sit outside. Perfect. Until we tried to get in our chairs. The hostess warned us they were a little heavy. Yeah... apparently they don't want anyone running off with them. So, strike #1 is the chairs are way too heavy and difficult to maneuver. Then the server shows up and asks what we would like to drink. I noticed the menu just listed wines, and asked if they had a beer list. Strike #2 - he gave some lame excuse that they have too many brands on tap to have a list, so I should just tell him what I like to drink. I said I'd like a flight, with something along the lines of lagers to dark. He was stumped, and finally says, "Well, most lagers aren't very dark." I just looked at him for a second, and then ordered whatever it was my wife had. So that actually counts as strikes 2, 3 & 4 (no beer list, lame excuse, poor customer service). At that point I was not in a very good mood, and it didn't appear the tables on either side of us were either (hard time with the chairs, and also asked for a beer list). I tried to look at the food menu, but honestly, I couldn't make heads or tails of it. Okay, so it's just not my kind of place. I get that. So, just as I'm prepared to have one drink, leave the waiter a lousy tip, and leave... some friends of ours drove by and saw us sitting outside. They joined us and we had a couple more drinks. That not only improved my mood, but also salvaged a decent tip for the waiter. In his defense, he was a good server, and it's not his fault they don't have a beer list. Really, there is NO EXCUSE to not have a beer list!!! Print one off on a stinking piece of paper every day, for crying out loud!!! Then, strike #5, one of the other servers overheard us talking about the lack of a beer list, and out of the blue he walks by and says we could just go take a picture of the tappers inside if we wanted to know. Um... I didn't know if he was trying to be a smart-ass or helpful, but it didn't help. Okay, okay, okay... Yes, this is too long. Let me just sum up by saying, our first experience here did not go well. It *could* be a neat place. I would like it to be a neat place. At this point, I have no real desire to go back though.
Rating: **

So, there ya go. My little attempt at adding to what's been added to our lovely city. I invite you to try them out yourself. Peace out; and in.