Shopping gluten-free in the Fort is a breeze

With many people following gluten-free diets, it’s no wonder more and more stores are offering such products. If you’re traveling to the greater Fort Wayne area, there is no shortage of stores catering to such needs. Here is a guide to a few local options:

3 Rivers Natural Grocery: 3 Rivers Natural Grocery is a co-op, meaning in the loosest sense, it exists for the benefit of the individuals who formed it. When you shop, here your dollars stay local, which is an important distinction over chain stores.  Here, you will find a selection of organic produce, frozen foods, non-perishables, and health and beauty products. People with allergies and special dietary restrictions can find choices here. They have an impressive hot and cold bar with one or several gluten-free options. They also feature gluten-free baked goods and snacks. Their staff is very knowledgeable about dietary concerns. Hours are Monday-Saturday 8 am to 10 pm; Sunday 10 am to 8 pm.

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Earth Fare has a variety gluten-free options in the frozen goods area.

Health Food Shoppe of Fort Wayne:  Visitors can also find some of the same products as the co-op at the Health Food Shoppe, which is located at 3515 N. Anthony Blvd., in the North Anthony neighborhood.  A natural deli, grocery, herb and supplement store, the shoppe is a local resource for visitors following a gluten-free diet. They also have a lunch bar that often features gluten-free items. 

Earth Fare: Located on the northwest side of town, Earth Fare is the newest addition to the health food genre. Not too many stores can honestly say they carry no products containing high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, artificial colors and sweeteners, and synthetic growth hormones in fresh meat and dairy. Earth Fare offers many breads, cookies, crackers, salad dressings, and other products which are packaged in gluten free facilities and labeled gluten free.

Fresh Market: Located on the southwest side of town, the Fresh Market is an upscale grocery store chain. You can find everything from organic chocolate to frozen gluten-free pizzas here.  They run some pretty good sales, too.

You can’t go wrong with any of these stores.


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:

The Vanilla Bean bakery– gourmet flavor, small town feel

DSCN1833 Copy 300x225 The Vanilla Bean bakery– gourmet flavor, small town feel

Here’s the Vanilla Bean – an easy stroll in from the convenient parking lot.

It’s like walking onto a set from the Food Network. Every flavor is carefully described. A commentator should be giving an overview of the products, just so that the listener doesn’t get too lost in the luscious ingredients!

Vanilla Bean Unique Cookies, located on 3410 North Anthony Boulevard, is a small shop with plenty of windows. Pink is the primary color on all the walls, and on the cute retro stove behind the glass and wood counter.

The counter is high, adding an old-time store impression to the shop. Through the clean windows, you can see trays filled with cookies and cupcakes. A separate, clear container holds at least three different types of gluten-free cookies on top of the counter. A large, black chalkboard is filled with multi-colored labels, describing the cookie flavors, cupcakes, and discounts offered.

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Front counter – check out the plate of cupcakes on top!

The Vanilla Bean began as a cupcake and cookie shop, but now, according to co-founder Sandra Wharton, they are focusing more on their cookies. The cupcakes, however, are still being baked – six different flavors every week! On a recent visit, the different artisan flavors were enough to make your mouth water. What really caught my eye was the caramel apple cupcake made from apple cinnamon cake, topped with caramel buttercream and a slice of dried apple. The Luscious Lemon cupcake also looked scrumptious.

But the cookies are what the shop is really marketing now. At last year’s daytime Emmys, the Vanilla Bean sent over 1,000 sandwich cookies to be included in the gift bags that were given to the stars. And this July, the Vanilla Bean will be attending the Atlanta International Gift Show, a gourmet food conference that will take place in Georgia.

The Vanilla Bean has about eight different varieties of cookies on display every day. Natural and wholesome ingredients are the key feature for each cookie. Many of the cookies feature chocolate – like the Chocolate Chilean cookie, which has a touch of pepper mixed in, just to add a little heat. Other cookies are non-spicy, like the Lemon Ricotta. A lemon glaze adds just the right touch to the tender citrus-infused cookie. It’s like having just enough and not too much of a good thing.

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Cupcakes on top, lemon ricotta cookies in the middle, boxes of cookies below.

Then there is the Molasses Oatmeal cookie. If you’re a fan of spice or carrot cake, then this one is for you. The cookie is filled with raisins, nuts, carrots, walnuts and dried apples. It’s like taking one of the best granola bars you’ve ever eaten and turning it into a toothsome cookie.

The Vanilla Bean is careful to keep their gluten-free cookies in a separate area from the wheat-filled baked goods. Lemon Ricotta, Molasses Oatmeal, and three different chocolate cookies are offered in their wheat-free line. The lady behind the counter mentioned that they always package the gluten-free products separately. Flour used for these cookies is composed from a brown rice blend. There is no corn or oat flour in the gluten-free mix.

“We deliver,” noted Ms. Wharton. Another specialty that the Vanilla Bean offers is the option of ‘mini cookies’ – miniature versions of the traditionally large cookies. The Vanilla Bean is the only bakery in Fort Wayne to sell cookies at the Earth Fare grocery and specialty store. And they are creating a new online presence at  Why not try out a local bakery that has big –time taste?



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!)

Where Foodies Go in Fort Wayne

If you’re a foodie or even a wanna be foodie (or you just really like to eat!), we’ve sourced great local places for you to try. From pizza and a beer, to delicious desserts, we’re sure you’ll find something extra special in these Fort Wayne gems.

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Try 800 Degrees Pizza for a gourmet spin on pie.


Fort Wayne does pizza right! Whether you’re looking for gourmet toppings from 800-Degree Pizza or classic hand tossed crust from the ACME Bar, you’ll find something to wow your taste buds. Maybe it’s the salty sweetness of the red sauce from Raimondo’s you’re after or the cheesy New York style goodness from Pint & Slice.  No matter what your pizza craving, Fort Wayne knows how to satisfy!


Midwestern hospitality is fueled by sugar & Fort Wayne is highly hospitable! World famous for DeBrand’s Chocolates, locals know that a creamy Key Lime Truffle, an Aztec Chocolate square, or the smooth feel of a DeBrand Carmel on your tongue is the perfect lift to any less than hospitable mood.  If chocolate isn’t your thing, Fort Wayne bakeries are filled with non chocolate goodness too.  The Cookie Cottage puts Fort Wayne on the map for its delicious cookies.  Looking for a special gift, they’ll add your company logo to their frosted sugar cookies making them almost too good to eat.  Going Gluten free?  Check out the goodies from Pembroke Bakery or the Peanut Butter Cookies from Mocha Lounge.  You’ll never know they’re gluten free!

Steaks and Chops!

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Baker Street is known for their delicious cuts and presentation.

In the Midwest, we’re known for our love of beef and Fort Wayne gives you plenty to choose from.  Baker Street, a family favorite, will have your mouth watering for their perfectly prepared steaks offered in a variety of gourmet preparations.  Eddie Merlot’s, known for the generous and classic cuts is sure to please!  Looking a great steak on a budget?  Stop in to Henry’s and check out the DelMonico.


Looking to celebrate or simply relax with friends after a busy day? Stop in to Club Soda for the perfect martini.  They make martini making an art.  Looking for a great glass of wine, check out Chop’s wine bar for exceptional selections. Maybe Bourbon is more your thing?  Red Rok BBQ and Bourbon Saloon’s smooth pour is sure to satisfy.


Fancy cocktails are great but sometimes you just need a beer. We’re not talking about cheap beer but rather good handcrafted brews that you’ll want to have again and again.  Check out Mad Anthony’s Brewery for great beer made right here.

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Fort Wayne’s Famous Coney Island is known for their steamed buns.


Fort Wayne’s Coney Island is sure to provide a classic foodie experience.  Not fancy or highbrow, this is the kind of place where you roll up your sleeves and wear a shirt you don’t mind getting sauce on.  Wash it down with a Coca-Cola in a glass bottle and you’ll have a meal to remember. During the baseball season, stop by Parkview Field for a ballpark dog. They’re open on non-game days to the public during lunch.

The Taste of Mexico!

No matter how far I travel, I always look forward to returning to the yummy goodness of Fort Wayne’s Mexican restaurants.  Margaritas, queso dip, enchilada’s and shots of tequila await you. Cebollo’s in undoubtedly the most popular local establishment, but you wont want to miss other local spots like El Azteca and Don Chavas.

Bar food!

Sometimes you just have to forgo the fancy and belly up to the bar. Check out local hot spots like Mad Anthony’s, Buckets, Deer Park, and the Acme Bar for great traditional bar food.  You can always take your bar food upscale at Club Soda or Chop’s Wine Bar.  They’ll pair the cocktails with gourmet versions of your bar time favorites.

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Asakusa is a great place to get your sushi fix.

Japanese Food and Sushi

Locals love Asakusa for both their sushi bar and their exceptional Japanese cuisine. For a Japanese Steakhouse experience, check out Koto Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi or Takoaka of Japan in Downtown Fort Wayne.

A Taste of Italy

Pasta is the ultimate in comfort food and Fort Wayne knows how to comfort. For fresh handmade Italian goodness, make a reservation at the Italian Connection. It’s small, local, and delightful with a family atmosphere you want in your favorite Italian restaurant.

Are there foodie favorites that we missed? Let us know in the comments below!



Michelle Merritt moved to Fort Wayne in 2008 and has found it to be one of the most warm and welcoming cities she's ever lived or worked in. She and her husband Jason live and work in downtown Fort Wayne. Together they are blending their big city urban experiences into life in America's biggest small town. Michelle writes and manages The Momish Blog and the Merrfeld Manor Blog. She is also a contributor to Moms Fort Wayne and The Paperblog where she writes about the joys and challenges of step parenting. Michelle also works as a professional career coach and recruiter.

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1 Response to "Where Foodies Go in Fort Wayne"

Tracy Evans
September 25th, 2013
Great article Michelle. I'm sending to my best friend Wendy Wight in the Fort. I grew up on the south side of Ft. Wayne, off Engle Rd. You and I worked at a recruiting company in Indy for a short time (me, short as I did not like it!). Tracy Evans

Find a Variety of Goods at The Health Food Shoppe

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The Health Food Shoppe is located on N Anthony Blvd.

One thing that I love about going to the Health Food Shoppe is the variety: makeup, vitamins, baking mixes, and a variety of ready-to-eat foods. When I was little, getting a sack of spicy rice chips was always a treat. Now, I like to explore the sugar-free gum and mints.

As you walk into the store, you’ll see that the shop is set up like a small grocery. The shopping carts are tiny – suitable for holding your purse (or a small child), but not large enough for a kid to stand on the end of the cart.

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You can find a variety of goods at the store.

Makeup and personal care supplies are in the aisle behind the cash register. If you like to have makeup that is more mineral-based than chemical-laced, this place sells a variety of foundations, blushes, lipsticks, and nail polish. The Shoppe also carries toothpaste, mouthwash, tooth powder and specialty soaps.

Ready-to-eat foods include couscous salad with feta and spinach, sandwiches, and fruit juices. During the lunch hour, the Natural Way Deli serves soups and salads – and the smell of that good food permeates the whole store. A cooler in the back also holds milk and cheeses. And, if you are shopping with gluten sensitivities in mind, check out the gluten free cake mixes, bread, and cookies. Go to the Shoppe’s Facebook page to check out the deli menu of the week (look under “Health Food Shoppe of Fort Wayne.”)

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The Health Food Shoppe has many different healthy juices to choose from.

If you’re looking for vitamins, the Shoppe has a number of them: Solgar, Nature’s Sunshine, Country Life, Nature Plus and Herbs for Kids are just a sampling of the brands available. There are usually a couple of sample jars on hand, too, so you (or your kids) can test the flavor of multi vitamins, vitamin C tablets, or other chewable supplements. If you can’t find the sample jar, just ask one of the clerks for help.

The Health Food Shoppe is a neat place to stop for a quick bite or a refill on your alternative health care products. It a small, locally-run place with great service and good food.

The Health Food Shoppe
3515 North Anthony Blvd.
Fort Wayne, IN 46805



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!)

Tour Like An Insider: My Favorite Local Restaurant

We asked our bloggers about the inside scoop on their favorite local restaurants.

Here’s what they had to share:

Calhoun St. Soups, Salads and Spirits offers the right mix of downtown urban atmosphere and simple, delicious foods that make you feel right at home. If your home has a great band performing on the back stage, of course. – Heather Schoegler

My husband and I have been going to Henry’s on Main for over a decade. It’s our local “Cheers,” where everybody knows our names. Whether just for drinks or to enjoy an evening meal, it’s our go to place to unwind. – Amber Recker

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Banh Mi Barista recently opened on N. Coldwater and it’s a great spot for lunch. I work on the north side of town and visit a couple times a week. The owners are super friendly and the prices are as well. – Amber Recker

JK O’Donnell’s Irish Pub — authentic food and an atmosphere not to be missed. – Holly Hammersmith

We celebrate family events at Mad Anthony’s on Taylor Street. It’s got a fun atmosphere! –Kayleen Reusser

I have celiac disease so I must be careful when dining out. Luckily, Fort Wayne has a great list of restaurants that offer gluten-free options. My favorites are BakerStreet Steak, Seafood, and Spirits, The Oyster Bar, or Spice & Herb A Taste of Thailand. – Whitney Caudill

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Saigon on South Calhoun is our favorite hidden culinary gem. If you are looking for an authentic Vietnamese dining experience, this is the place to go. – Amber Recker

Recipe for a perfect day: Lunch Box Cafe burgers for lunch and Mister Coney coneys for dinner. – Rob Hines

Molly Zweig


Molly Zweig is a student at Indiana University Bloomington majoring in International Studies, Spanish, and Portuguese. She’s happy to be back in her hometown for the summer as the Marketing Intern at Visit Fort Wayne. Molly enjoys spending time with her friends and family, cooking, and traveling.