A Fort Wayne Must-See: Coney Island

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Coney Island’s storefront on Main Street

Serving up goodness since 1914, Fort Wayne’s Famous Coney Island (also known as Coney Island Wiener Stand) is both a local tradition and must-see for visitors.

The atmosphere is just about as relaxed as you can get, with old-school bar stools lining the long, well-worn counter. There are also many tables lining the opposite wall, plus a few in the back. The place is on the small side, but that just adds to the vintage charm.

The food is fresh, simple and loved by generations. There are hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chili, baked beans and chips. But the true favorites are the famous Coney Dogs, served hot on steamed buns, with mustard, Coney Island’s secret sauce and minced onions. And don’t forget to grab a Coke in a classic glass bottle!

Here are a couple of the rave reviews posted on Coney Island’s Facebook page:

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Coney Island’s famous Coney Dogs are always served on steamed buns.

“Our family’s Christmas Eve tradition…one of Fort Wayne’s treasures! Little secret…the burgers are great!”

“You will NEVER find a place like this elsewhere, the atmosphere is so friendly, yet so tight. It is such a great place to eat with friends and sit and talk about stories and catch up with friends and family, all while eating great food. Come here if you want more than just a great meal.”
What does it take to make Coney Island run?
  • Approximately a million hot dogs are served a year
  • 50 to 75 pounds of onions are hand-chopped per day
  • 100,000 bottles of Coca-Cola are sold a year
  • 20 gallons of mustard are used weekly
  • Over 60,000 pounds of fresh meat are cooked a year to make the secret Coney Island sauce

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    Three Coney Dogs and a cold bottle of Coke, please!

Making headlines in February was the breaking news that Coney Island is now accepting credit/debit cards for the first time. The announcement was made on Facebook:

Do you remember when Bob Dylan went electric? How about when Indiana high school basketball changed to a Class system? 8 tracks eventually made way for iPods. Well, for the first time in 100 years The Coney Island Wiener Stand is now accepting debit/credit cards.

So, come on downtown and see what all of the buzz is about! You won’t be disappointed!

Coney Island is located at 131 W Main St, Fort Wayne, IN 46802. Reach them by phone at 260-424-2997.

 

Wendy Sack

About

Born and bred in Alabama, Wendy has lived in Fort Wayne for just over 12 years, calling historic Williams-Woodland Park home. Asked to describe herself, Wendy is quick to throw out the terms grammar geek, voracious reader, Jim Gaffigan nut and Alabama Crimson Tide football fanatic. Often found with a Diet Coke in one hand and a book in the other, Wendy’s true passion is her family. She is a wife, a mother of two and is always looking for new and adventurous things to do in and around Fort Wayne. Wendy finds humor easily in any situation and is a true believer that laughter really does cure anything.

Kick off the Snow Boots and Get Outside – Spring is Coming!

It’s no secret that we here in Fort Wayne have endured a long and arduous winter. Piles upon piles of snow, too many school delays and closures to count and, if you’re like me, you have kids (and moms!) who are sick of being indoors!  Not to worry, spring is slowly beginning to arrive, and with it, many excellent outdoor adventures await. Below are just a few that are on my family’s list.

TinCaps!

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Parkview Field

Fort Wayne Tin Caps games are fun for the whole family. In fact, whenever I have friends and family visiting from out of town this time of year, a Tin Caps game is always on the agenda. Parkview Field is jam-packed with kid-friendly activities, not to mention the great baseball team! Tickets start at just $5, and there are many different choices when it comes to food and drink. Bring some blankets and relax on the lawn, grab a traditonal seat or lounge around in one of the many other spacious areas.

Opening Night:  The Tin Caps kick off their 2014 season on Thursday, April 3, 2014

Parkview Field is located at 1301 Ewing St, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46802

Call: (260) 482-6400

 

The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo

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Bill the Lion is a favorite at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo

This one is a given, no matter what. Opening day is Saturday, April 26, 2014. The zoo is a local and regional favorite, voted Indiana’s #1 summer attraction in 2012. It is spacious, green and lush, with 38 acres of fun. You can feed the giraffes, take a ride over the African Safari and, my personal favorite, hang out with the orangutans in the Indonesian Rainforest.  A special activity the very next day, Sunday, April 27th,  is the Party for the Planet, where kids can take part in various earth-friendly activities from noon until 3:00 p.m. The zoo has plenty of vendors throughout to ensure that you can spend the whole day there without a care in the world. If you’ve never been, what are you waiting for??

Plan your trip to the zoo by visiting here.

Date: Opens for the season on Saturday, April 26, 2014

Place: 3411 Sherman Boulevard, Fort Wayne, IN   46808

Call: (260) 427-6800

Cost: $14.00 Adults/ $10.50 Seniors 60+/ $9.00 Children (2-18)/  Babies age 1 & under free

 

Earth Day Fort Wayne at Eagle Marsh

little river Kick off the Snow Boots and Get Outside   Spring is Coming!

Eagle Marsh is a part of the Little River Wetlands Project

My kids and I checked this out for the first time last year, and it was a major hit! This family-friendly event features displays by local conservation and nature groups, educational activities at stations along a trail through the Marsh, conservation presentations,  planting of native plants, a farmers’ market and best of all, hawks and owls from the Soarin’ Hawk Raptor Rescue.

Eagle Marsh, a part of the Little River Wetlands Project,  is a 716-acre wetland preserve located on the southwest border of the city. Eight miles of trails allow hikers to access the preserve’s varied habitats of shallow-water wetland,with almost 200 kinds of birds and numerous other wild creatures including bald eagles.

Date: Sunday, April 27, 2014

Time: 1:00 p.m. to 5:00p.m.

Place: Eagle Marsh, 6801 Engle Road, Fort Wayne, IN   46804

Cost: Free

 

The 3rd Annual Fort 4 Fitness Spring Cycle

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Get your cylce on!

Bring the bikes out of the garage, basement, or wherever they have been gathering dust this winter, and get ready for some healthy fun for everyone! The Spring Cycle is for the whole family and is the perfect way to kickstart an active season.

Date: Saturday, May 17, 2014

Time: Begins at 9:30 a.m

Place: 300 E. Main at Arts United campus

Choose from Three Tours:  Short – 18 miles; Medium  - 33 miles; Long – 43 miles

Register: March 1, 2014 – May 14, 2014

Cost: Ages 17 & over – $20/  Ages 12-16 – $10/ Ages 11 and under – Free

 

Foster Park

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Foster Park in the springtime

And, finally, the place where my family seems to end up on most spring days- Foster Park. Foster Park is located just southwest of downtown, at 3900 Old Mill Road. Its 255 acres include a golf course, walking trails, tennis and basketball courts, pavilions and a playground. Around April, the park comes alive with brilliant swaths of color as the tulips, daffodils and other flowers begin to bloom. Foster Park is truly an oasis!

For even more springy ideas, check out suggestions from Visit Fort Wayne here!

Wendy Sack

About

Born and bred in Alabama, Wendy has lived in Fort Wayne for just over 12 years, calling historic Williams-Woodland Park home. Asked to describe herself, Wendy is quick to throw out the terms grammar geek, voracious reader, Jim Gaffigan nut and Alabama Crimson Tide football fanatic. Often found with a Diet Coke in one hand and a book in the other, Wendy’s true passion is her family. She is a wife, a mother of two and is always looking for new and adventurous things to do in and around Fort Wayne. Wendy finds humor easily in any situation and is a true believer that laughter really does cure anything.

View Comments

2 Responses to "Kick off the Snow Boots and Get Outside – Spring is Coming!"

Wendy Sack
Wendy Sack
March 28th, 2014
Love Eagle Marsh! The kids really enjoy going and seeing how many different animals they can spot.
Susan Stahl
March 27th, 2014
Thanks for including Eagle Marsh on this list. It's truly a gem in the Fort is is often overlooked. I mean seriously, we have a nesting pair of Bald Eagles in Ft. Wayne! How magical is that?

Paula’s On Main

 Paulas On Main

If you live in Fort Wayne and love seafood, chances are good that you’ve dined at Paula’s On Main. Known for their fresh seafood market and famous clam chowder, it’s one of my favorite restaurants in town.

 Paulas On Main

Although my husband and I usually stick to our favorite go to dishes, I’ve also tasted most everything on the menu—and it’s all spectacular. I usually begin our meal with a nice glass of white wine from their extensive wine list, and my husband orders a beer to go with our bread and butter. We both get the clam chowder, no matter if it’s a hot summer evening or freezing cold night in February—it is just too good to pass up. If it’s lunch or I’m not in the mood for a huge main course, I select the seafood salad. Fresh greens are topped with warm shrimp and expertly seared scallops, with creamy goat cheese for tang, and a delightful dressing I could never recreate on my own. It’s the perfect combination of sweet, salty, crunchy and fresh.

 Paulas On Main

Each day there is a fresh fish on special, and whether it be blackened salmon, grilled swordfish, pan seared scallops, or succulent crab legs, you can’t make a mistake. And don’t forget to try the crab cakes—so delicious, and almost as irresistible as the chowder.

 Paulas On Main

The pan-fried walleye is my husband’s all-time favorite, a generously portioned filet crusted with a crispy breading. I always forget how much I enjoy it, and have to sample some each time.

 Paulas On Main

If you’re looking for a great place for seafood in Fort Wayne, Paula’s is the best. The restaurant is charmingly decorated in a nautical theme, and the fish market up front is perfect for bringing home their fresh catches to prepare at home—and the clam chowder can be taken to go as well. It’s the perfect dining experience, with live music weekly and the best seafood you’ll find in the downtown area.

 Paulas On Main

Paula’s On Main

1732 W Main St.
260-424-2300

Deb

About

Born and raised in Indianapolis, almost nothing could move this downtown girl from her native Circle City—except true love. Deb now calls Fort Wayne home, and lives with her husband and their three amazing children in a cozy north side neighborhood. Armed with a Master’s in English, Deb was an editor for Northern Indiana LAKES Magazine, and a copywriter and proofreader for a local marketing and design firm. An avid reader, nature enthusiast, and amateur gourmet, she also loves to take walks and hikes with her family.

Outfit your next adventure at Earth Adventures Unlimited

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The store carries a wide variety of outdoor apparel.

Although rather unassuming, Earth Adventures Unlimited is an outdoorsman’s (or woman) dream.

The family-run business owned by Rick and Nancy Bodecker since 1991 is located on West Main Street, next to O’Sullivan’s bar and carries a variety of camping, recreational gear and outdoor apparel. That means everything from camping stoves to kayaks. If you’re looking to pursue an outdoor hobby, chances are they can help get you squared away. They carry a wide variety of brands and products for a small store. (Who knew there was more than one type of sleeping bag?) Special ordering of products is also available. Why go to Dick’s when you can get one-on-one attention and support an independent business?

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Their backpack inventory is impressive

Speaking of attention, Store Manager (and highschool classmate of mine) Bridgette McCue  is friendly and knowledgeable. An outdoorsy type herself, she can help customers find the best product for their needs. She says their niche is competitive pricing and obscure products. Most of their business comes from regulars who keep coming back for the reasonable prices and selection. But they welcome newbies of course. It’s never to late to enjoy the Great Outdoors! Maybe a spring break camping trip is in order?

First-time visitors will be surprised to learn they have a padded boulder wall in the basement of the store. Climbers can use the facility for just $1 per day and train for a trek. What a great way to get some exercise when it’s too cold to go outside!

Speaking of the outdoors, the store also offers trips and classes to the community. For example, an experienced instructor leads groups in a backpacking session. Other past classes include canoeing and cooking outdoors.

Earth Adventures Unlimited is located at 1804 W. Main St. Hours are 10 am to 6 pm Tues.-Fri.  For more information, visit their website.

About

Lauren Caggiano was raised in Fort Wayne, and returned in 2007 upon graduation from the University of Dayton. The president of WriteOn LLC, she specializes in writing, marketing, and French translation. In her spare time she enjoys travelling, yoga and volunteering. In the summer you can catch her riding around downtown on her vintage green Schwinn. For more information, check out her website: www.lcagg.com.

Learn ‘How to Do Everything’ with Red Green at the Embassy

Red Green knows how to do everything, and he’s here to teach you how. With the help of a little duct tape, of course! The star of the famous Canadian television comedy “The Red Green Show” that aired from 1991 to 2006 will be here in person in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on April 14, 2014.

red green 2 Learn ‘How to Do Everything’ with Red Green at the Embassy

Get your tickets now for the “How to Do Everything Tour” starring the comedic mastermind himself. Tickets are $47.50 via Ticketmaster.com for this show and applicable fees apply. Buy now to secure your spot along with an evening of belly laughs.

red green Learn ‘How to Do Everything’ with Red Green at the Embassy

The show begins at 7 p.m. and is conveniently located in downtown Fort Wayne at the Embassy Theatre, at 125 W. Jefferson Blvd. Please note that tickets can also be purchased in person at the Embassy Theatre Box Office between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday or via phone at 800.745.3000.

Insider Tip: Enjoy dinner and drinks downtown at one of Fort Wayne’s many lovely dining venues before the show. For a listing of restaurants in the area, be sure to visit our online dining guide.

About

Previously a news reporter at daily newspapers in Indiana and Ohio, Holly Hammersmith now enjoys the lighter side of writing through freelance work. In her spare time, Holly can be found running or practicing yoga. She also enjoys visiting local coffee shops and day-tripping. Holly lives with her husband, dog Lulu and half a dozen houseplants. Find Holly on Twitter @HFHammers and at http://hollyhammersmith.com.