A Music Junkie’s Guide to Fort Wayne

If you eat, sleep and breath music you’ll fall in love with Fort Wayne.  There is plenty to see, hear and do music-wise in this town. Here are a few suggestions to add your to your itinerary:

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Wooden Nickel Music owner Bob Roets (right) will take care of you.

Check out our record stories:

Neat Neat Neat Records & Music caters to the music savvy consumer.   Open since March 1, 2011, the record store carries a variety of albums and genres−“hard to find stuff,” as owner Morrison Agen puts it. Today, Neat Neat Neat Records serves customers with an eclectic mix of 6,000 + records and 2,000 45s in a historic building on the south side of Fort Wayne.  Morrison buys and sells music, everything from jazz, to blues to country to punk.

You can’t go wrong with Wooden Nickel Music either. What is unique about this local enterprise is that each location boasts something different.  For example, the North Clinton store is the place to go for classic rock, new rock, alternative, country, and  some soundtracks, jazz, rap, hip-hop, R&B and soul.  The North Anthony store is the place for vinyl albums. Last, the store in the Village of Time Corners boasts a good selection of vinyl and mainstream CDs.

Check out Sweetwater Sound. 

Prepare to be “wow’ed.” Sweetwater Sound is the mecca for all things audio related. Sweetwater began business 33 years ago in Fort Wayne, and is the country’s most respected dealer in high-technology equipment for musicians, recording studios, and broadcasters – from microphones and digital recording systems to electric guitars to electronic keyboards and electronic drums. The company caters to artists and recording professionals all over the country.  In addition to boosting some awesome gear, the building itself is impressive.  Think modern and eco-friendly. Stay for lunch at their on-site cafeteria.

Catch a live show.

The Brass Rail, located at 1121 Broadway, is a hot spot for local and national musical entertainment-of all musical genres-from metal, to punk, to bluegrass–all under one roof! Be sure to order their signature drink–a PBR!

Here’s to a rockin’ weekend in the Fort!


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.

Give Back, Fort Wayne!

The days are shorter, the nights longer and the air chillier. As we move deeper into fall, our thoughts turn to warm apple cider, a nice crackling fire and most importantly, gathering our families and other loved ones around us. For a lot of people in and around our area, however, these thoughts don’t ever materialize. Not because the desire isn’t there, but because the resources are not.

For those of you who visited Fort Wayne last winter, I don’t have to remind you how frigid the temperatures were. For days and nights on end, we battled subzero temps and windchills, feet of snow and who knows how much ice. Most of us went to bed and woke each morning in nice, heated homes, with hot showers and warm clothes, coats, hats and gloves. But what about those among us who don’t have the things that we sometimes take for granted?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could do something to help? Even while on vacation, there are plenty of opportunities to give while you receive!

There are many outstanding organizations in Fort Wayne that share the same mission: helping the less fortunate among us. Fort Wayne is blessed to have a wide range of services for families, men, women and children. I’m going to talk to you about two of these non-profits and how you can give back.

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Volunteer with The Rescue Mission this holiday season.

The Rescue Mission

“Our mission is to provide, through the power of Jesus Christ, a home for the homeless, food for the hungry, and hope for their future.”

The Rescue Mission has been serving Fort Wayne and its surrounding communities for more than one hundred years! Located downtown on Superior St., the Mission is a faith-based non-profit that serves the homeless through its four ministries:

Life House  is where transient men can go to find a hot meal and warm place to stay. The facility has more than 44 beds available, and visitors can stay for one or several nights. All who are needy in the community can stop in for three meals a day, fellowship, clothing and hygiene products. Referrals to health and other social service agencies are also available.

Life House serves more than 216,000 meals a year and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner to Mission residents and the public 365 days a year. Special meals are served on Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. All for no cost to visitors.

Restoration House  offers short- and long-term residential programs for homeless men. “For many men, the Restoration House is their last hope. They’re unemployed. Addicted. Wrestling with problems. We help men understand their past, receive God’s healing and take steps to move forward.”

Restoration House has 40 beds and services are offered for free.

Charis House  is a special place that serves homeless women and children. As a mother, I cannot fathom the grief that must come from not being able to provide for your children. Charis House is a place to go to get help and to heal. Short- and long-term residential programs are available.

“At Charis House, these women not only find relief from homelessness, but they’re also able to heal and move forward. Our restorative programs equip them to find jobs and housing, navigate life’s challenges, experience emotional stability and grow in their relationship with Christ.”

Charis House has 78 beds, no age limit for children and services are free.

Treasure House is a thrift store that helps support the Rescue Mission. Located at 2203 Lafayette St., Treasure House sells furniture, appliances, clothing and other items.

Click here to find out how YOU can help!


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Or donate to the Community Harvest Food Bank!

Community Harvest Food Bank

It’s so easy. Each week you’re at the grocery store, pick up 3-4 extra items. Things you yourself would like to have. Get the kids involved. At the end of the month, deliver your donation and help someone in need. It’s that simple!

The Community Harvest Food Bank was first incorporated as a charitable organization back in 1983, when staggering numbers of people were out of  work and in need of immediate assistance due to multiple factory closures in the area.

Today, “Community Harvest’s mission is to alleviate hunger through the full use of donated food and other resources, and to increase public awareness of and involvement in solutions to hunger. In pursuit of this mission, Community Harvest solicits surplus food and grocery donations from the food industry, and through community food drives, and transports the product to our warehouse at 999 East Tillman Road. The food is sorted, inspected for quality, and readied for distribution to the hungry via a member agency network of over 430 churches and social service agencies. These agencies include such vital services as emergency food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, rehabilitation centers, youth and older adult programs. This network serves 21,100 unduplicated people each week in Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wells and Whitley counties.”

The Food Bank has many different programs. Click here to find out more!

Click here to find out how YOU can help!

Of course, while The Rescue Mission and Community Harvest Food Bank are two absolutely wonderful organizations in our community, there are many more around the area.  My challenge to you is to pick at least one and do your part to give back to Fort Wayne this holiday season. You’ll never feel so thankful as you do when you’re helping someone else!

Wendy Sack


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.

First comes love, then comes marriage…but first a proposal to remember!

As a recently married gal, weddings are still constantly on my mind – especially as many of my friends are getting ready to tie the knot! While the wedding is what many look forward to (and they should!), let’s not forget the moment that starts it all – the proposal! A wedding proposal can be nerve racking and there are many factors such as the date, the ring, the time, etc…. And while those are all very important, let’s not forget the location! Different proposals speak to different couples and each one is special and unique in their own way. Fort Wayne has many great places for a proposal to remember. Whether you’re thinking something traditional, or maybe a little more out of the box, you don’t have to go far to create something memorable!

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Lakeside Park and Rose Garden is just one of the picture perfect parks in Fort Wayne that would be perfect for a proposal.

For the Park Lover
Fort Wayne has many wonderful parks, but two of my favorites are Foster Park and Lakeside Park and Rose Garden. These parks are simply gorgeous and looking at them you’d think they were specially designed for weddings and proposals alone! Foster Park has two areas offering picturesque proposal spots, The Bridal Glen and the Floral Area. The Bridal Glen is a beautiful area with an archway, flowers, walkways and other pretty delights! It’s such a beautiful and romantic area of Foster Park that there are weddings there all through the summer months. The Floral Area is full of picturesque blooms, perfect for a picture perfect proposal! Lakeside Rose Gardens is well known as one of the best places to have an outdoor wedding in Fort Wayne, and makes a great place to get engaged! From the gorgeous rose garden, to the dreamy terrace walkway and reflective pools, a picnic followed by a stroll through the park is a proposal you can’t say no to!

Downtown Fort Wayne Pano First comes love, then comes marriage...but first a proposal to remember!

Take your wedding proposal on the river and take in Fort Wayne from a different angle.

For the Outdoorsy Type
If you and your significant other enjoy the outdoors, why not propose on the trails or the river? Fort Wayne has a number of great trails all around the city including the Rivergreenway and the Pufferbelly Trail where you can walk, bike or run. You can even get out on our rivers and see the city from a different point of view. Start the day at Fort Wayne Outfitters where you can rent bikes, kayaks, canoes and more, and take off for a day of fun, adventure and future wedded bliss. If you really love exploring, plan a day at Fox Island, or the Hurshtown Reservoir where you can hike, swim, fish and more. It may sound a little odd, but if you and your future Mr. or Mrs. really love spending time outdoors, why not pop the question doing something fun and that you love!

empyrean First comes love, then comes marriage...but first a proposal to remember!

Empyrean offers a romantic, sophisticated backdrop to your wedding proposal, while also showing off some amazing views of the city.

For the Romantic
Beautiful view? Check! Nice dinner? Check! Dressed up and looking great? Check! If you’re someone that likes to pull out all of the stops when it comes to romance, Empyrean Events and Catering and Lincoln Tower may be perfect spots for your proposal! Empyrean is a beautiful new event space in downtown Fort Wayne in one of the top floors of the PNC Building. The space is composed of two floors, and various rooms giving amazing views of the Summit City all around! The Lincoln Tower observation deck is another spot where you can experience our beautiful city landscape from up above. While the observation deck is usually closed to the public, there have been instances where the “powers that be” have worked something out in the name of romance! If you need ideas for a romantic and celebratory dinner before or after the big question is asked, I’d suggest Club Soda, BakerStreet or Eddie Merlot’s.

These are just to get you started! Use your imagination – Fort Wayne is filled with both obvious and a little more off the beaten path places to pull out a diamond ring. And, as a gal whose proposal was a little more off the wall and spur of the moment, I can tell you that in the end the proposal is a small part of a much bigger, and more important picture!



Katie Robinson simply loves Fort Wayne! Born and raised in the Summit City, she returned following graduating from Ball State University with a degree in Public Relations in May of 2013. A former Visit Fort Wayner, Katie currently works for the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority as the Marketing and Customer Service Specialist. In her spare time you can find her baking cupcakes, Zumba-ing her heart out and relaxing with her husband, Joe, and their adorable Shih Tzu, Gidget.

The Double Dragon: A Tasty Downtown Option

Want to find some good takeout Chinese food downtown? Look no further than the Double Dragon, 117 W Wayne St.

This shop is tucked into a row of store fronts. Some parallel parking is available right outside, next to the sidewalk. The Double Dragon is open late at night, for downtown, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., so you can grab a bite just about any time.

The Double Dragon caters to lunch and dinner guests. Diners walk up to the counter, choose their selection from a list and wait as the food is prepared behind the counter, in the kitchen. Of one thing you can be sure – the food at the Double Dragon is hot because it’s made immediately.

What’s the best thing to get there? Mm, that’s hard to say. What type of Chinese food do you like?

The hot and sour soup is very good. It has thick broth, crunchy veggies and enough zing to make it warm but not grab-some-water spicy. The wax paper packet of won tons that comes with the soup is also good for cooling its spicy heat.

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Hot and sour soup – savory and not too spicy.

Cashew chicken – this is a dish filled with nuts and chicken chunks. The sauce is filled with vegetables and soy flavors. Rice for this dish is added to the tray – you wind up with a tv-dinner style plate with a little more than half covered in rice and a little less than half filled with meat. This dish leans towards the nut-and-chicken side, rather than onions.

Another favorite is the sweet and sour pork (or chicken, if you wish). Double Dragon’s sweet and sour meat is breaded and served plain, with a side dish of red sweet and sour sauce. This version of sweet and sour pork doesn’t come with pineapple, carrots or green pepper. But it does have plenty of fried rice, with some vegetables and meat bits in it.

Kung Pao chicken (or beef) is another staple from this restaurant. Well-cooked slices of meat, green peppers, and almonds blend in a spicy sauce that leaves your tongue tingling.

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Kung Pao chicken (or beef) is spicy hot – good thing there is plenty of rice!

Don’t forget the side dishes. Egg rolls from Double Dragon are hot, crispy and full of cabbage with a touch of meat. The dough on these egg rolls is a little thicker than the normal, so take plenty of sweet and sour sauce and hot mustard packets as you head out with your order.

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Egg rolls from the Double Dragon restaurant

Another side they offer is crab Rangoon. These are large pieces of triangular, fried pastry with a sweet, cream cheese filling. Each pastry is a hearty handful, so plan on having just one per diner.

Double Dragon is a nice staple of the Downtown eating scene. With prices that are not too expensive and a menu that nails all the staples of good Chinese food, it’s a great place to stop for a friendly lunch or a fast supper option. Whether you decide to eat inside, at one of the small tables, or take the containers home with you for more casual dining, it’s a great place to try!



Louisa is a lifelong Fort Wayne resident. A long-time musician and literature aficionado, Louisa likes to explore the classical music offerings that Fort Wayne has to offer. (She also likes to browse the Allen County Public Library's stacks for just the right book!)

Coffee Sensations in the Fort: Round Two

A few months ago, I created a list of six of my favorite coffee shops throughout Fort Wayne.  (If you missed it, you can read the post here.)  Of course, I have some new favorites to share with you, and for a variety of fun reasons!

 Coffee Sensations in the Fort: Round Two

The Bean Café and Teahouse

The first coffee shop on my list is The Bean Café and Teahouse, located on Wells Street by the Wells St. bridge, close to downtown.  This funky coffee shop caters to older-aged children and up, and it is truly one-of-a-kind!  In addition to a variety of delicious coffee and tea flavors, the Teahouse also offers fun activities all weeklong, like hula hoop workshops, yoga lessons on the historic bridge, and Open Mic nights.  (Read my review about it here.)

Check it out for yourself on Facebook here or in-person at 1008 N. Wells St. (Beside the Wells Street Bridge)


Mon: 8:00 am – 10:00 pm
Tue: 8:00 am – 11:00 pm
Wed – Thu: 8:00 am – 10:00 pm
Fri: 8:00 am – 11:00 pm
Sat: 10:00 am – 11:00 pm
Sun: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm


Our Daily Brew

This homey coffee and tea store is honestly one of the most therapeutic places for me in Fort Wayne.  I savor the scents of the various teas and coffee grinds, and the décor is beautiful and cultural-exactly what my mind needs to relax!  Many people stop here to pick up coffee and tea bags to go, and others stay to have a nice quiet chat.  You can also sample teas before purchase here.

One perk as a result of my first visit to Our Daily Brew was receiving an email coupon for a free drink during my next visit there!

I’ve always had pleasant experiences at this coffee store and have written more about it in my blog post here.

Come visit Our Daily Brew on Facebook here, online here, or at 5906 W. Jefferson Blvd.

(260) 434-0520

Monday – Saturday: 7:30 am – 8:00 pm
Sunday: 7:30 am – 5:00 pm


Java Mama

One of the city’s newest coffee shops opened up on the southwest side last spring.  Java Mama is Fort Wayne’s first family-friendly coffee shop in that it enables parents to enjoy coffee and conversation while keeping a watchful eye on young children in the spacious play area.  I lounged in a living room-style area, complete with a fireplace, with my snack called the Java Mama-a breakfast bagel.  It was deliciously light and fresh, and I recommend it to anyone needing a quick but healthy bite to eat.

Java Mama offers dance and fitness classes for parents and their youngsters, as well as prenatal and postnatal classes.  You can read more in my blog post about it here.

Bring the kids to Java Mama at 5916 Covington Rd.  (Close to Jefferson Pointe)  Visit the online site or Facebook page.


Fortezza Coffee

Fortezza Coffee is one of the few coffee shops in downtown Fort Wayne.  It opened up this past summer and has been a huge hit with customers.

I popped in quickly on a hot summer day and enjoyed my brief visit.  I was immediately in awe of the beautifully-renovated café; the bright blue walls were cheerful, and the back room provided another, bigger dining area.  The antique umbrella holder by the front door was a fun touch to the ambiance, too!

My iced Caffe Mocha was delicious and hit the spot.  Bring a friend to Fortezza in-person at 819 S. Calhoun St. or on Facebook here.


Mon – Fri: 7:00 am – 8:00 pm
Sat: 8:00 am – 7:00 pm


The Firefly Coffee and Tea House

Last but not least is The Firefly, as it’s known by locals.  The Firefly has been a favorite of mine for almost 10 years, mainly because it satisfies my bohemian, artistic personality to a tee!  I’m perfectly content to wait to order my food, because it gives me an excuse to admire the gorgeous wall murals and browse the locally-made greeting cards and jewelry.  (I usually end up buying something here!)

This shop has delicious food, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free food.

The Firefly has some unique, seasonal flavors for fall and winter.  One of my favorites is the Trick or Treat Mocha, but I haven’t sampled all of their fall flavors, so you can guess where I’ll be spending my days this fall!

The Firefly is located at 3523 N. Anthony Blvd.  Find it online here and on Facebook here.


Mon – Fri: 6:30 am – 8:00 pm
Sat: 7:00 am – 8:00 pm
Sun: 8:00 am – 8:00 pm

Amanda Reusser


Amanda Reusser is a 2006 graduate from Taylor University-Upland. She has spent the past 6 years living and teaching Drama, English and ESOL in Florida, Indonesia and Austria. While it was fun and insightful, she is very glad to be back home in Indiana. Amanda loves traveling, trying new foods, and learning cultural dances. She enjoys getting to know new people, teaching teenagers, and being involved with her home church.