Randy Harter, a collector of Fort Wayne postcards for 40 years, now is combining his love of history and architecture with food. He has created Fort Wayne Food Tours, which will take up to 12 diners on a 1.25-mile loop around downtown as they visit five restaurants over a three-hour period. The ages 21-and-over tours cost $55 per person and will run 3-6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays March 24-October."It's a combination of food, enterainment and conversation with other people," Harter said.
The meals will begin at Hall's Gas House, once a gas plant, 305 E. Superior St. From there diners will make stops at The Hoppy Gnome, 203 E Berry St.; Dash-In, 814 S. Calhoun St.; The Golden, 898 Harrison St.; and DeBrand Fine Chocolates, 878 Harrison St., the latter two in the Ash Building. The tour ends back at the Gas House by way of a different route.
"It's not necessarily a progressive meal," he said.He likened it to tapas, where diners will try a bit at each place from the selections of American-style and cutting-edge fare.
And you don't need to work out in preparation. Diners will walk a block or two, then stop while Harter highlights something in six stops – the Lincoln Tower, Courthouse Green, the Gen. Anthony Wayne statue.
The food tour benefits the restaurants by getting in diners who might never have tried them before and might come back, Harter said. It also provides an activity that Visit Fort Wayne can promote among Allen County's annual 5.8 million visitors, including family members who might want to find activities while their loved ones are busy with convention activities.
Harter, 65, retired five years from a career in sales and marketing of consumer goods. He got interested in the food tours while taking three during vacations over the years with his wife, Pat. His daughter, Sarah Arnold, owner of SociallySeasoned, a digital marketing firm, provides help with the website at www.fortwaynefoodtours.com.
"If there's enough interest, I'll keep doing it."
Dishing out history
WHAT: Fort Wayne Food Tours, a 1.25-mile loop to five downtown restaurants and six stops to view places of historical and architectural interest.
WHEN: 3-6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays March 24-October
AGES: Participants must be 21 and over.
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