Savor returns with more participating restaurants

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Tolon, 614 Harrison St., featured this dessert on its 2017 Savor menu. CONTRIBUTED

For 12 days in January, Fort Wayne foodies will have the opportunity to try the best of what the local food scene has to offer without breaking the bank.

Savor Fort Wayne returns for its sixth year Jan. 9-20 with more than 50 participating restaurants offering three-course, value-priced menus for diners to enjoy.

The event was originally launched in Fort Wayne by the Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association, but it was handed off to Visit Fort Wayne three years ago, said Emily Stuck, program and events manager for Visit Fort Wayne.

“We have really seen the program grow,” she said.

Last year, Savor Fort Wayne’s website was viewed 450,000 times during the month of the event. This year, 53 restaurants participate by creating special Savor menus, including 14 new restaurants.

Some restaurants, like Don Hall’s Gas House, have participated year after year, Stuck said. Others, like SolBird Kitchen and Tap, which opened late last year, are participating for the first time. The restaurant is a collaboration between Jerry Perez, owner of the Sol Kitchen food truck, and Ben Thompson, owner of Birdboy Brewing Co.

Savor Fort Wayne offers a range of price points from upscale to casual.

“I love that Savor has a lot of high-end restaurants because who doesn’t want to dine at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse for $30 for a three-course meal?” Stuck said.

The event also features casual dining options like 3 Rivers Co-Op Deli, 1612 Sherman Blvd. It’s the deli’s first year participating in Savor. The Co-Op has good relationships with local farmers and the deli often utilizes local ingredients, said Heather Grady, marketing and outreach coordinator for the Co-Op.

For $10, customers can order a cafe sandwich (gluten-free and vegan options available), soup and a coffee or dessert.

“We make two soups every day. One is vegetable based. Some days it might be vegan, but it’s always vegetarian. The other one has a meat base and sometimes we’ll use some of the local ingredients as well, including buffalo,” Grady said.

Each participating restaurant takes a different approach when designing its Savor menu, Stuck said. Some restaurants, like Wu’s Fine Chinese Cuisine, showcase their signature dishes. Others, like Copper Spoon, are taking the opportunity to highlight their chef’s talent and creativity.

Formerly Wine Down, restaurant owners Gary and Kelly Skeel rebranded the restaurant Copper Spoon last fall after bringing on chef Aaron Butts.

Trubble Brewing, 2725 Broadway, will offer several Savor menus, including two lunch options, two dinner options and a brunch option.

DeBrand Fine Chocolates will also offer a special menu for Savor. For $31, two people can enjoy drinks and an assortment of chocolates.

Trying to keep a New Year’s resolution to eat healthier? Each participating restaurant will offer one Parkview Lighter Choice option from any of their courses marked by a green diamond shape. The parameters are 600 calories or less for an entrée and 250 calories or less for a first or third course (appetizer/dessert).

Diners can visit savorfortwayne.com to review the list of participating restaurants and menus, determine where to dine and make reservations if necessary. No coupons or passes are needed to participate.

Stuck said some diners decide where to go based on price while others make a decision based on location. You might discover a new favorite restaurant in your neighborhood or, if you haven’t been downtown in a while, you can check out what’s new, she said.

Diners can also pick up pocket-sized STAR reward cards that lists all the participating restaurants. Those who eat out during Savor can win stars for every meal purchased (one star on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and two stars Monday-Thursday). Diners with at least four stars can enter to win $500 in gift cards. Pick up a STARS reward card at participating restaurants, STAR bank branches or the Visitors Center. For more information, visit visitfortwayne.com/savor/guide.

Savor Fort Wayne also offers a taste of the city’s entertainment offerings with special deals on area attractions and performances.

“We’ve also partnered with other great events going on in Fort Wayne during those 12 days of Savor,” Stuck said.

On savorfortwayne.com, there’s a page labeled “Make a Night of It” that highlights other fun events going on, including shows at the Fort Wayne Comedy Club, a Mad Ants game, a performance by the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and an escape room experience at Room to Escape that’s great for groups. Discounted tickets and admission are available with promotional codes and exclusive links on the website.

“We know it’s cold and it’s January, but there’s still a lot of other neat things to do in Fort Wayne,” Stuck said.