Restaurant Notes extra: Fort Wayne Food Tours changes its menu of restaurants

Fort Wayne Food Tours leader Randy Harter talks to guests during a tour last year. (File photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
Guests on last year's Fort Wayne Food Tours take photos of their food at the Golden. With the Golden gone and callers asking to bring children, the tour has some changes this year, said co-owner Randy Harter. (File photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)

Fort Wayne Food Tours, which combines history, cuisine and walking, plans changes this year that will allow children to take part in the mobile feasts.

“I had several emails and calls, ‘Can we bring out kids?'” said Randy Harter, a local historian/author who started the Fort Wayne Food Tours in March with his daughter Sarah Arnold. They had 387 people participate with Harter talking about Fort Wayne history at stops between restaurants, where guests got tastes of wine, appetizers, pate, meat and, at the last stop, chocolate over 3½ hours. Tours, which can be booked for private groups, are limited to 14.

The closure of the Golden at the Ash Skyline Plaza and the restriction of service to those under 21 at the Dash-In have prompted a lineup change for the tours.

“There wasn’t anybody (on the tour) who didn’t love the Dash-In’s tomato bisque soup and grilled cheese sandwich,” said Harter, who’s sorry to not include them again.

The tours will run 3-6:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays March 17-Oct. 13.

Hall’s Gas House, The Hoppy Gnome and DeBrand Fine Chocolates are hosting again. New this year are Park Place on Main and JK O’Donnell’s.

Park Place on Main, 200 E. Main St., has promised to seat food tourists by the windows, and the Irish ale house, 121 W. Wayne St., “is like adding an ethnicity,” Harter said. JK has seating for those under 21 in its Belleek hall until 7 p.m.

The price per ticket for the tour has gone up from $55 to $60.

Harter and his wife have been on three food tours so he believed a large part of the Fort Wayne clientele would be tourists. However, they accounted for just 5 percent, he said. Most tourists were in their 40s to 60s with 70 percent came from Fort Wayne and its suburbs and another 20 percent from the immediate area including Auburn, Bluffton, Columbia City and Decatur.

Several people bought tours for Christmas gifts, he said. The first available date on this year’s tour is March 24.

TO RESERVE A SEAT

Go to www.fortwaynefoodtours.com for available dates and more information.

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