The best part of getting a driver’s license is the freedom of being able to go where you want, when you want. Over the last year, I’ve used my new freedom by visiting local coffee shops, restaurants, and tourist spots near my home, school, and across Fort Wayne. (And by the way, I’m Drew, the marketing intern. I’m a senior at Concordia Lutheran, right across the street from the Coliseum Campus.)
It’s been an amazing experience to witness the culinary talents that northeast Indiana has to offer and expand my food palate in the process. Below is a list of some special places to eat, drink, and have fun. I hope that you’ll find time to visit some of my favorites, located near an Ivy Tech campus near you!
Firefly Coffee House, 3523 N. Anthony Blvd. in Fort Wayne (Directions) (Website)
Firefly Coffee House is my absolute favorite coffee shop in Fort Wayne. I love the shop’s atmosphere because it’s filled with couches and arm chairs on the inside to escape the nasty winter weather. There’s also an outdoor seating nook hidden under a gazebo, perfect for warm summer days. Murals run along both sides of the shop with a colorful barista station to the left and an exposed ceiling above. Every time I walk into the place, I instantly feel at home.
The menu selection is extra special because it features not only rich coffee but real fruit smoothies, lemonades, and teas. The coffee house also serves fresh pastries and other small food items, which are to die for. My favorite item on the menu is the peanut butter and mocha shake, topped off with an optional shot of espresso for early mornings wake-me-ups or mid-day study sessions. I always find myself adding the espresso!
One of the coolest aspects of Firefly is its dedication to embracing all types of local talent through its Firefly Arts and Crafts Boutique. It’s refreshing to always be reminded of the great artistic talent we have in Fort Wayne. The shop serves as a meeting place for people of all backgrounds to take a break from busy work schedules, grab a coffee, and embrace the homey atmosphere only found at Firefly.
Old Crown Coffee Roasters, 3417 N. Anthony Blvd. in Fort Wayne (Directions) (Website)
Located just down the road from Firefly, Old Crown offers a similar coffee menu to Firefly, in addition to delicious wraps, sandwiches, soups, and more. For those over 21, Old Crown even has a full bar. You have to try the Spicy Salsalito Turkey & Pepper Jack wrap. I’ve spent many evenings here catching up with old friends over warm coffee and large sandwiches. Maybe one day I’ll run into you!
Camp Canine, 1502 N. Harry Baals Drive in Fort Wayne (Directions)
Camp Canine is the perfect place to spend some quality time with your furry friend. The doggie park is filled with cute and little bone-shaped benches and fire hydrants with plenty of grassy play space in between. A Camp Canine membership is only $40 a year and can even be used at Pawster Park in Forest Park.
Cosmos House of Pancakes, 3232 St. Joe Center Road in Fort Wayne (Directions) (Website)
Cosmos House of Pancakes is a great place to get a large variety of breakfast and lunch foods, from pancakes and waffles to burgers and wraps. My absolute favorite thing to order is their crepe daphene, which is topped with strawberries and stuffed with whipped cream. The option of having real fruit on my crepes helps me fool myself into thinking I’m making a healthy food choice! The best part about Cosmos is that they’re famous for having large portions. You know you’ll always leave with a full stomach and a bag of leftovers. I don’t think I’ve ever left wishing for more to eat!
Fort Wayne Chamber Escape Rooms, 3225 St. Joe Center Road in Fort Wayne (Directions) (Website)
It seems like everyone in Fort Wayne is buzzing about the Chamber Escape Rooms. Luckily, we have one very close to the North Campus. You and your friends will have only an hour to escape one of the themed chambers: Murder in Wonderland, Apartment 13, or Jailbreak.
Hungry Howie’s Pizza, 4214 Crescent Ave. in Fort Wayne (Directions) (Website)
No college would be complete without a pizza place in close proximity. Howie’s offers tons of wing and pizza options to choose from, even when everywhere else is closed.
Penguin Point, 7303 Winchester Road in Fort Wayne (Website) (Directions)
Penguin Point is the perfect place to grab a quick burger-and-fry combo. The menu has many options to choose from, including double cheeseburgers, barbecue pork sandwiches, chicken strips, fish sandwiches, and their signature Big Wally. Top these off with their crinkle fries and a milkshake.
Ya Boy Fish & Chicken, 4304 S. Anthony Blvd. in Fort Wayne (Directions)
This hole-in-the-wall restaurant will serve almost anything you want deep-fried, including chicken, fish, Philly cheesesteaks, and French fries. The restaurant is small, so carry-out is probably the best option. Pair this up with a few Netflix shows at home, and you’ve got the perfect in-house Friday night.
Modoc’s Market, 205 S. Miami St. in Wabash (Directions) (Website)
Grabbing a coffee at Modoc’s Market is like going back in time. From the moment you walk through the bright red door, guests are greeted by a warm interior featuring rustic décor, mismatched seating, and a tin ceiling above lined with beautiful crown molding. Chalk boards and elephant prints surround the walls, adding to the character and embracing the story of Modoc, the “Most Famous Elephant in America.”
Modoc’s serves both hot and cold drinks off its espresso bar, featuring cappuccinos, brewed coffee, Italian sodas, and green smoothies. You can top any of these off with their flavors and syrups. You can also find handmade sandwiches, pastries, fruits, and yogurts for a quick bite to eat between classes.
Walking the streets of historic downtown Wabash with a coffee in hand is the perfect way to end a busy day at school.
KenapocoMocha, 101 E. Second St. in North Manchester (Directions) (Website)
Pronounced “Keen-uh-poco-mo-kuh,” this coffee shop is named after the Native American name for the Eel River, which runs through North Manchester. The coffee shop is proud of its environmentally friendly approach to food service and is committed to creating as little of a carbon footprint as possible. While I haven’t gotten a chance to make it out to this coffee shop, I can’t wait to try their mint lemonade.
Wire & Steam Coffee Company, 2858 Frontage Road in Warsaw (Directions) (Website)
Warsaw’s version of a sidewalk café, Wire and Steam Coffee Company offers an eclectic and homey environment. You can sit on industrial bar stools at a wooden table or comfy couches circled around a warm fireplace. I can already picture the amazing Instagram pictures that could be taken here!
The coffee menu features hot drinks made from a brand new espresso machine imported from Italy (pretty fancy huh?) and many cold drink options, as well. If you’re looking for a lunch destination between classes, Wire and Stream offers a wide variety of soup and deli sandwich options, too.
Winona Lake Trails (Website)
Winona Lake Trails is the perfect spot to blow off some steam between classes or at the end of a long work day. The trails follow the Winona Lake and the surrounding parks, so you can burn off all this food and coffee while surrounded by beautiful mother nature. Keep in mind that the park is currently closed, due to soft trail conditions caused by rain.