Small Plates Big Flavor

Fort Wayne Magazine
Chop Wine Bar | Photography By Tony Frantz

Small Plates

Big Flavor

When we dine out with friends or a romantic partner, it’s often more important to be able to focus on the conversation. Sharing small plates lends itself to sharing big conversations, especially when paired with a perfect craft cocktail or bottle of wine. Here are some favorite places in town to do just that.

Black Canyon Restaurant

Black Canyon Restaurant’s modern space offers views of the culinary crew bustling around the wood-fired grill in the open kitchen. The bar area or seasonal outdoor patio with a huge fireplace are ideal spots to settle in for a pleasant evening. The New American menu is subtly influenced by global cuisine and includes several hearty, shareable appetizers. Tuna poke is tuna tartar served with wonton crisps, soy chili broth, and wasabi in a fresh avocado bowl. The smoked salmon, a customer favorite, is smoked in-house and served with lemon caper aioli and toast points. Crispy Tex-Mex egg rolls are stuffed with chicken, peppers, corn, spinach, tomatoes, and black beans and served with two sauces: a house-made avocado buttermilk ranch and barbecue.

Black Canyon Restaurant
1509 W Dupont Road | Fort Wayne, IN 46825

Hideout 125

Hideout 125’s cozy bar area is optimal for intimate conversation while enjoying delicious craft cocktails or a healthy pour from an interesting selection of premium wine and craft beers. Small plates are not particularly small, but generously-sized and perfect for sharing. Three large meatballs made from the chef’s special blend of meats and herbs are served in a hearty homemade marinara with grilled Italian bread. Chicken & waffles consist of country-fried chicken breast, spicy garlic chili glaze, unagi sauce, Napa cabbage slaw and, of course, a waffle. As for finger food, twice-baked potato bites are halved and stuffed with beef confit and crispy lamb belly, baked with a cheddar cheese and served with crème fraîche.

Hideout 125 Restaurant Fort Wayne | Lamb Pasta and Golden Age cocktail, photography by Neal Bruns
Hideout 125
10350 Coldwater Road | Fort Wayne, IN 46825

Trolley Bar

Trolley Bar is a casual cornerstone that offers American seafood, steak, and other familiar favorites. The bar area is a pleasurable spot to escape and enjoy another’s company. Regulars have strong feelings about their favorite appetizers.  The Caribbean chicken satay — grilled and slightly spicy — is served with a sweet chili-lime sauce, and the tenderloin steak-tip skewers come on a bed of rice pilaf with red wine demi-glace. Walleye fingers are a Fort Wayne fave: almond-crusted, fried crisp and served with sweet jalapeño tartar sauce.

Trolley Bar Steaks and Seafood Fort Wayne Surf and Turf meal
Trolley Steaks and Seafood
2898 East Dupont Road | Fort Wayne, IN 46825

Paula’s On Main

This venerable fresh fish venue with an eclectic, lake cottage-y feel makes Paula’s a local favorite. Of course, seafood options abound on the appetizer menu. But if you aren’t in the mood for seafood, there are a number of other delicious options. A Boursin cheese medallion, for instance, is baked and topped with raspberry- chipotle sauce and served with crostini. Lamb Pops are served with a balsamic drizzle. Finally, rumor has it the best romaine heart wedge salad in the city can be found here with house-made ranch dressing, bleu-cheese crumbles, bacon crumbles and grape tomatoes.

Paula's On Main Fort Wayne Classic Shrimp Scampi, photography by Neal Bruns
Paulas On Main
1732 West Main Street | Fort Wayne, IN 46808

Wine Down

Come for the fun and unique wine-tasting experience, stay for the creative food. Wine Down is gaining a reputation as the place to go for cocktails. In warm weather, enjoy people-watching at The Sidecar, its outdoor bar and grill. A plethora of popular small plates options complement either wine or cocktails — or both. Blackened Mahi Mahi tacos are served in a crunchy wonton. Three-cheese arancinis are deep-fried risotto balls stuffed with goat, parmesan and cheddar cheeses served with marinara sauce.

Wine Down | Smoked Old Fashioned, photography by Neal Bruns
Wine Down
301 W. Jefferson Boulevard | Fort Wayne, IN 46802

800 Degrees Three Fires

800 Degrees Three Fires is beloved for its made-to-order hand-stretched Neopolitan pizzas, commitment to locally-sourced ingredients (like its homemade sausage from Gunthorp Farms pork) and impressive selection of craft beer and great wines. Its appetizer selections show off the other skills in the kitchen beyond pizza making. Each can make a meal on its own or is perfect for sharing. Provoleta is a baked casserole dish bubbling with roasted red peppers, Italian sausage crumbles and provolone cheese. The star of its eggplant parmesan, another personal-sized hearty casserole, is roasted eggplant in marinara, topped with mozzarella, parmesan and fresh basil. Its meatballs are handmade from ground pork and beef and baked in marinara with roasted red onions, parmesan and slivered almonds.

800 Degrees Pizza
800 Degrees Wood Fired Pizza
5215 Illinois Road | Fort Wayne, IN 46804

Hideout 125

Along with a selection of carefully-selected wines, bourbons and craft cocktails, Chop’s Wine Bar has been serving up a variety of smaller portion menu items to share since 2010. The food bar seating is a fun place to watch the chefs work and enjoy some of their creative and delicious dishes. Breaded burrata — a “pouch” of solid fresh buffalo milk mozzarella filled with stracciatella (a soft, stringy curd) and fresh cream — is served with a chunky tomato sauce with guanciale (seasoned pork cheek, similar to pancetta) and toasted paratha (Indian flatbread). Ahi tuna is first marinated in ginger before being seared and served with a seaweed and calamari salad, pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce.

Fancy Tots are large house-made tots with the chef’s constantly rotating selection of fillings and toppings.

Chop Wine Bar | Photography By Tony Frantz
Chop’s Wine Bar
6417 W Jefferson Blvd | Fort Wayne, IN 46804

Small Plates Big Flavor | Fort Wayne Magazine

Join My Newsletter!

Connect With Me

Copyright & Legal

Follow me