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Discovering Fort Wayne's 10 Hidden Restaurant Treasures

Culinary

Dine like a Local

Born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA - I’ve tried a few restaurants around here. As a kid and in my college years, I’ll admit I wasn’t big on expanding my food horizons. But as I got into my 20’s, I found myself exploring new flavors, and I could not get enough of trying new restaurants or even just a new dish I’d never had before. 

I’ve blogged on my travels of favorite food spots, but I am long overdue to make a list of local places. Now, in my 30’s, I can say I’ve explored a good amount of the culinary offerings around my hometown, and I am finally ready to share my favorite HIDDEN LOCAL GEMS (no chain restaurants) that everyone should try. These restaurants are on my short list of restaurants I crave and are in NO particular order (just alphabetical in fact). Comment below which is YOUR favorite.

Bangkok Bistro FW

Bangkok Bistro FW

For some of the city's best Thai food, I can’t recommend going here enough. This is actually a place I only recently discovered, but having had Thai food in other places, I quickly fell in love. Dishes like Massaman Curry will blow your mind. Or my favorite - the Tom Yum Bangkok with Seafood. Don’t skimp on dessert with their amazing sticky rice custard.

Burger Bar

Burger Bar

This is the type of restaurant that satisfies my classic American meal. It has not only a perfect burger (the city’s best SMASH burger at that), but the trifecta - burger, fries, and shake. As a kid, Steak N’ Shake was my perfect trifecta. This is my modern favorite, and I highly recommend it for all burger fans. It is also a place I often mix things up as I am lured into their weekly burger or shake special - they are always fantastic. It is my only chain on this list (with 2 locations in Austin, TX), but I can’t help it.

Kim Vu Vietnamese

Kim Vu Vietnamese

It’s hard not to have bias in my list, but I will only do it here. This is my #1 spot in the city. If Burger Bar is the trifecta of a perfect American meal, Kim Vu is the trifecta of the perfect Asian meal (Vietnamese to be specific): Fantastic Egg Rolls / Crab Rangoon, amazing entree choices (banh mi, pho, or the #17 Stir Fried Noodle with beef), and blended boba teas (Taro for the win, watermelon a close second that reminds me of jolly ranchers).
Korean Fried Chicken

Korean Fried Chicken

On to the chicken! This place does basically one thing and one thing really well - Korean Fried Chicken (HEY that’s their name!). They have got good fries and a few other menu items but this to-go or outside-dining only restaurant is all about their chicken. They give HUGE portions, basically a little bucket of chicken, and it never disappoints. I’m ALWAYS a ‘wing’ vs ‘boneless’ fan, but here I actually prefer boneless. I love their classic ‘Marinade’ for the chicken, and their fries are AMAZING with the ‘White Snow Cheese’.

Lake Market Halal

Lake Market Halal

This unassuming little grocery store holds a secret - a restaurant menu of sandwiches! Yes, very unexpected. I crave one thing here - their Chicken Kebab sandwich. Think your classic Halal restaurant style chicken kebab meets Jimmy John's sandwich. Two fantastic worlds collide in delicious harmony!

NineHouse

NineHouse

On the further North end in a strip mall is this little spot that has unusual hours. But, they also have one of the BEST Egg Rolls in town, which are super long and thin and extra crispy. On top of that, they have some of the best beef dumplings and famous fried noodles (kind of like Drunken Noodles) that I’ve ever had. It’s worth the work to get out here and sort out their hours (they keep updated on their Facebook page).

Oku Roji

Oku Roji

Up for a bit of an adventure? I’ll admit this spot is the furthest from Fort Wayne. It is out in Warsaw, which from the North side of the city puts you about 45 minutes away. I still put it here because it is worth it. Why? Because a robot will deliver to your table the best RAMEN you’ve had in these parts. I’ve had ramen in about half a dozen places around Indiana (yeah it is hard to find a good ramen place), and this one takes the cake. I judge the broth, noodles, meat, egg, and toppings and often other places will only have half of those elements being OK. Here, they are all perfect! On top of that, it is a SUPER fun and fancy atmosphere with surprisingly affordable pricing (just $15). Also, you get in through the Anthology Whiskey Room, which is a super cool experience and its own thing if you like to drink.

Sweet Sanity

Sweet Sanity

My only dessert place on the list (runner ups include Rise'N Roll Bakery with their iconic 'crack donuts' or Parlor's Donuts unique made-to-order donuts with bonus breakfast tacos for the win), this Huntertown spot (just on the edge of Northern Fort Wayne) is serving up some fantastic ice cream concoctions to satisfy you on a hot summer day. It honestly puts Dairy Queen to shame. This little shop can get crowded inside but has a nice outdoor seating area. They have 24 flavors of ice cream, shaved ice, amazing brownie sundaes, and more! Seriously amazing and lots of great flavors.

Taqueria El Ranchito

Taqueria El Ranchito

This is one of those places that makes my list for a very specific thing. To be clear, I love MANY Mexican restaurants in town (Guadalupes for best chorizo, Lalos for amazing queso with shrimp tacos, and Taqueria Rancho Alegre for $1.50 Taco Tuesday being top contenders). However, this one holds a special place in my heart for having the best Pork Carnitas in town. The platter is what I order and it comes with big chunks of crispy, fatty, decadent carnitas. If that is a dish you love, this is where to get it.

Taste Of Philly

Taste Of Philly

Last, and in ZERO ways least, is the spot for your best Philly Cheesesteak. This place may be a bit run down, a bit weird on their service, but they are importing rolls from Philly and cooking the best cheesesteaks you can find around here. This one is also a bit further outside of Fort Wayne (about 30-40 minutes depending on where you’re from), but I for one am always willing to make that kind of drive for amazing food.

Now that you’re probably hungry, get out there and support these AMAZING local restaurants in Fort Wayne. Tell me below, is there somewhere I’ve missed that I simply must try? If you know me, it doesn’t take much to get me to try somewhere new!

About the Author

Nicholas Klein

Founder and visual artist, specializing in all aspects of a businesses presence from imagery and video to graphics and web. A graduate of IPFW with a Bachelor in Fine Arts, Concentration Photography as well as an Associates Degree in Business. His personal photography works are focused on landscape, travel, and aerial photography.