Best Restaurants in Fort Wayne Downtown: Local Favorites

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When I visit someplace new, one of my favorite things to do is to find the top local restaurants. So of course, on our many day trips and weekend getaways to Fort Wayne Indiana, we’ve done just that. Although there are many outstanding restaurants in the city, the restaurants in Fort Wayne downtown are some of the best!

Downtown Fort Wayne is not just the cultural hub of the city but also a melting pot of gastronomic excellence. Whether you’re a local or just a frequent visitor like me, discovering the best restaurants in this area offers a taste of the creativity that Fort Wayne is known for. From cozy cafés to upscale dining, the downtown area hosts a variety of eateries that promise to make every meal memorable.

Book your stay at my FAVORITE hotel to enjoy restaurants in downtown Fort Wayne, The Bradley. Check rates here!

A special thanks to Visit Fort Wayne for sponsoring a recent visit. All of the opinions in this post are 100% mine.

Top Picks for Breakfast & Brunch in Downtown Fort Wayne

There are plenty of choices for breakfast in downtown Fort Wayne, but here are my personal favorites!

Cindy's Diner, a restaurant in Fort Wayne downtown

1. Cindy’s Diner

Cindy’s Diner is such a fun place to enjoy breakfast. It is the tiniest diner I’ve ever been to, so if it’s a busy day you might have to wait a bit, but it will be worth it! With just 15 seats around the diner counter, you’ll end up watching your food being prepared while you chat with your neighbors.

We took our kids to Cindy’s one year during our annual zoo trip and they got a real kick out of it. I think it might have been their first diner experience so it was a terrific one to start with. I heard about those pancakes for weeks! Cindy’s is only open for breakfast and lunch from 6AM to 2PM Monday – Friday so keep that in mind if you’d like to try it.

Cindy’s Diner, 230 West Berry Street

Arbor at the Bradley in Fort Wayne Indiana

2. Arbor

If you prefer a fancier brunch experience, OR just gourmet coffee to go, check out the Arbor which is located in The Bradley. It is a gorgeous lobby restaurant that not only has a delicious brunch but also is a place where you could come back later for fun cocktails and a tasty dinner.

I really enjoyed the ability to grab a well-made coffee from the coffee bar on my way out for a day of exploring Fort Wayne when I stayed there. My Americano was strong and smooth – perfection!

Arbor, 204 West Main Street

Tanya enjoying a croissant and chai latte at GK Cafe & Provisions

3. GK Cafe & Provisions

During my last visit to Fort Wayne, I enjoyed a light and refreshing breakfast at GK Cafe & Provisions. Keeping it simple I just had a large bowl of very fresh fruit and an Americano, while my friend had a Chai Latte and croissant. Everything was delicious and perfectly prepared. I loved the real coffee cups – it is always a fun bonus.

In addition to heavenly baked goods and breakfast, you can also stock up on fresh food, drinks, and other grocery items you might want on your Fort Wayne visit – it’s a great place for snacks for your hotel room.

GK Cafe & Provisions, 202 West Berry Street

Fortezza coffee shop in Downtown Fort Wayne

4. Fortezza Coffee

As most of you know by now I love a good coffee shop. So much that I search them out anytime we go somewhere new, and if we arrive in the morning, it’s the first place we will visit. Fortezza fits the bill perfectly!

The first time I visited Fortezza I was with my daughter visiting Fort Wayne for a swim meet and she was pretty young so she just got a hot chocolate, but I indulged in a rich Mocha. If I remember correctly she also had a very tasty scone. The atmosphere of Fortezza is perfect – a bit modern industrial with plenty of light and places to get a little work done.

Fortezza, 819 Calhoun Street

four boys at the counter of Coney Island in Fort Wayne Indiana

Downtown Fort Wayne Restaurants Perfect for Lunch

After a fun morning exploring Science Central or maybe some of the art in downtown Fort Wayne, it’s time for lunch. Ready for my favorites?

5. Coney Island

If you like kitschy and want something quick, then Coney Island is the place for you. I can’t even count how many times we’ve visited this old-time hot dog spot. It’s over 100 years old, and you can enjoy your hot dogs and soda (Coke in a glass bottle) at the counter or at a nearby table. Although it’s a limited menu, even for folks like me who don’t eat hot dogs I can find something to eat like a hamburger straight off the grill.

Don’t even get me started on the prices. Prices are also quite affordable which is nice if you happen to have a bunch of hungry teenagers with you on your way home from a weekend getaway to Boyne Michigan (just speaking from experience here). We’ve stopped in with family, and friends, on day trips or weekend getaways and always enjoyed our visit.

Coney Island, 131 West Main Street

816 Pint & Slice in downtown Fort Wayne Indiana

6. 816 Pint & Slice

On that same visit where my daughter and I stopped at Fortezza, we also tried 816 Pint & Slice. We each ordered a slice and a soda (no pints as it was a kid’s swim meet) and the pizza really hit the spot.

On my last visit to Fort Wayne, the weather was lovely and I noticed the fun seating out front – I would definitely like to return to check that out! If you want a good slice of pizza with friendly service and a fun setting give 816 Pint & Slice a try.

816 Pint & Slice, 816 South Calhoun Street

Mercado in downtown Fort Wayne

7. Mercado

Do you like tacos and margaritas? Yep, me too! This is why Mercado is a favorite for places to eat downtown Fort Wayne Indiana. In addition to delicious food, there is ample outdoor seating which is the best way to enjoy any of the restaurants at The Landing.

Although Mercado would also be a solid dinner choice, I’m adding it as a suggestion for lunch as they have a very nice lunch special. That makes it a very good value for such an upscale Mexican restaurant!

Mercado, 111 West Columbia

8. Shigs in Pit

How funny is that name? Shigs in Pit? It’s enough to make you want to at least check it out, and luckily the BBQ they serve holds up well. I have noticed that BBQ is rather polarizing – either you love it at that particular restaurant or you hate it. I enjoyed Shigs in Pit enough that I sent my husband and son back with friends when they were on a soccer trip.

It’s very casual so it is a great place to bring kids (when I ate there we were headed to a kids’ show at the Embassy Theater afterward). There are plenty of traditional BBQ options – I found the pulled pork and mac & cheese to be my favorites. If you are craving BBQ while visiting downtown Fort Wayne, give it a go.

Shigs in Pit, 2008 Fairfield Avenue

9. The Marquee at The Landing

As part of my favorite local chain (Cunningham Group which owns the Livery one of my all-time favorite restaurants), I knew I had to give Marquee a try. Truthfully it would be a fantastic option for lunch or dinner but I’m classifying it here as lunch as it was so lovely to sit outside on the patio in the sunshine munching on charcuterie, sipping a cocktail, and people watching.

The cocktail menu changes often, and when we visited they were between menus so the waiter recommended one that would be on the upcoming version and we gave it a go. My friend ordered it with gin as it was described, and when I asked for vodka to be subbed the bartender was happy to oblige me. That’s the kind of service that makes me love Cunningham restaurants.

Marquee at The Landing, 123 West Columbia Street

entrance to Nawa in Fort Wayne Indiana

Best Restaurants for Dinner in Downtown Fort Wayne Indiana

There are so many wonderful restaurants in Fort Wayne perfect for dinner that it was REALLY hard to narrow it down, but you can’t go wrong at any of these choices.

10. Nawa

Like much of The Landing, Nawa is really having a moment as a top Fort Wayne restaurant right now. If you enjoy Asian-inspired food (heavy on Thai which is fine by me!) and fun cocktails, Nawa will be perfect.

They have some nice lunch specials so this could be a fun option if the weather is nice and you’d like to sit outside, but for the full bougie experience, head to Nawa for dinner and load up on curries, stir fry, noodles, and more!

Nawa, 126 West Columbia Street

Lemon & blueberry dessert at Bistro Nota in Fort Wayne Indiana

11. Bistro Nota

After a full day of wine tasting, cocktails & appetizers at a rooftop bar during a baseball game, and shopping, we weren’t super hungry when we went to Bistro Nota for dinner so we stuck with appetizers, drinks, and dessert. We picked it right because everything was wonderful!

I would like to go back for a full dinner sometime as the meals going by looked fabulous. Just around the corner from the Landing’s main drag, the atmosphere of Bistro Nota is cozy and intimate. It’s an ideal location for a date night, birthday, or anniversary dinner.

Bistro Nota, 620 South Calhoun Street

Delaney enjoying king crab legs at the Oyster Bar in Fort Wayne Indiana

12. Oyster Bar

It’s been a minute since I’ve visited the Oyster Bar, but it is a lovely spot for a delicious seafood dinner. The Oyster Bar is one of those old-school seafood restaurants that has been around forever thanks to its consistency in service and food.

We took my parents on our last visit to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary and it was the perfect choice. It was a gorgeous summer evening so we sat outside and were lucky enough to hear the live jazz music wafting over from the bar across the street. With yummy seafood and cocktails, it was altogether a fantastic meal.

Oyster Bar, 1830 South Calhoun Street

salad, spicy mango habanero margarita and street corn risotto at Proximo in Fort Wayne Indiana

13. Proximo

Proximo is an excellent choice for dinner if you appreciate delicious and unique Latin dishes. They are especially known for their paella. I really appreciated that Proximo does a great job with vegetarians or other food concerns – I have a tree nut allergy and they were fantastic with making me feel comfortable that what we ordered would be safe for me to enjoy.

I visited Proximo with a good friend and we both started our dinner with innovative cocktails – mine was a spicy mango habanero margarita while hers was their take on an old fashioned. Both were delicious and a relaxing start to our meal. My friend enjoyed the special fish dish of the evening and it was amazing. I had a wonderful salad and some of the best street corn risotto I’ve ever had. Yum!

Proxmio, 898 South Harrison Street

sign for the Hoppy Gnome in Fort Wayne Indiana

14. The Hoppy Gnome

My last visit to the Hoppy Gnome was on a girls’ weekend trip to visit the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale. We had arrived pretty late at night but were staying downtown so it was wonderful to be able to just walk over from our hotel (although it was COLD that year).

Tacos are the focus here (and beer of course), but not just any old tacos. The Hoppy Gnome prides itself on its innovative taco creations. Since there were four of us on this trip we each ordered different tacos so we could try them all. Add some refreshing local beer and it was a fun and yummy night!

The Hoppy Gnome, 203 East Berry Street

Fun Spots for Drinks in Downtown Fort Wayne

Even if you’ve had your fill of food in Fort Wayne with some of these delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, there are opportunities for tasty cocktails and nighttime fun!

Drink Flamingo at Birdie's rooftop bar

15. Birdie’s

I absolutely love a rooftop bar and Birdie’s (located in The Bradley) is a fabulous one! What a wonderful addition to Fort Wayne. Birdie’s is quite large with both indoor and outdoor seating. They do serve food, but both times I’ve been there I’ve stuck with drinks.

In addition to a nice selection of wine and beer, Birdie’s has some really fun cocktails. And the glasses some of them are served in? You could be at Disney! My favorite (and I’ve tried a couple) is for sure the Drink Flamingo (think a watermelon margarita) – it even comes with a jello shot slice!

Birdie’s, 204 West Main Street

16. Night Train

Night Train is located in the Landing below Dana’s and they state that they are not your father’s basement bar. Fun, right? If you are just looking for good bar food and great drinks, look no further.

Night Train is also a perfect late night spot as it’s open until 3 AM most nights – not much else is open that late in Fort Wayne and definitely no place as happening.

Night Train, 135 West Columbia Street

Cocktail with a view of the ballfield at Conner's Rooftop.

17. Conner’s Rooftop

In addition to Birdie’s, Fort Wayne Downtown has a SECOND rooftop bar. And this one is super special because it overlooks the stadium where the Tin Cups play baseball. On one of our weekend getaways to Fort Wayne, I booked a room at the Hampton Inn & Suites that houses Conner’s Rooftop on a night that there was a game so we could head upstairs and have a drink with a baseball game in the background.

The outside seating is pretty small (but there are some cool stadium seats if you can’t get a table), so consider getting there early to ensure you get a table with a view. In addition to outstanding drinks, you can also order appetizers and small plates. We shared a few fun cocktails and a really yummy upscale dip & chips dish. I have to admit it was hard to hear what was happening at the game, but it was still a really cool and different night out.

Conner’s Rooftop, 223 West Jefferson Boulevard

Map of the BEST Fort Wayne Restaurants Downtown

Where to Stay When Visiting Downtown Fort Wayne

If I’m enjoying the Fort Wayne Downtown restaurants I’m staying at one of two properties if I can. My top choice is The Bradley for its bougie feel and terrific location close to the Landing.

My second choice (or maybe my first if the kids are with us or there is a baseball game during our visit) is the Hampton Inn & Suites. It’s super affordable and right next to the ballpark, making it the perfect spot if you plan to attend a game at the fabulous stadium.

Note that BOTH of the hotels have a rooftop bar – so if you stay at either you really must check the attached bar out!

FAQs: Restaurants in Downtown Fort Wayne Indiana

What food is Fort Wayne known for?

The Garbage Plate at Cindy’s Diner and Coney Dog’s at Coney Island.

What is the oldest bar in Fort Wayne?

The original Oyster Bar opened in 1888.

How many restaurants are in Fort Wayne?

There are over 350 restaurants in Fort Wayne Indiana!

Heading into Coney Island after a soccer game

Conclusion: BEST Restaurants in Downtown Fort Wayne IN

Fort Wayne’s places to eat downtown truly exemplify the rich culinary diversity and exciting atmosphere of the city. Whether you’re starting your day with a hot cup of artisan coffee at Fortezza, enjoying a casual lunch at Coney Island, or indulging in an exquisite dinner at Nawa, each restaurant offers its own unique flavor and experience.

Not only does downtown Fort Wayne cater to every palate, but it also provides settings perfect for making memories, from family outings to romantic evenings and everything in between. As you explore my favorites, you’ll not only savor delicious meals but also experience the heart and soul of Fort Wayne.

Next time you find yourself in this charming city, do what I do and let your taste buds lead the way and discover why these establishments are cherished by both locals and visitors alike. I guarantee you won’t go hungry!

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