Comfort Food in Downtown Fort Wayne

Cold weather is here, and there’s a lot to look forward to—sweaters, holidays, mugs full of hot beverages. But in my opinion, nothing warms the soul better than gathering with friends or family and sharing a comforting meal. Luckily, if you’re in Downtown Fort Wayne, you’re surrounded by comfort food mainstays.


Dining DTFW is full of options when your tummy needs a touch of warmth, with everything from gourmet grilled cheese and coney dogs, to BBQ and Irish stew. Get cozy and come hungry to these Downtown staples:

Cindy’s Diner

Cindy’s Diner


There’s nothing cozier than a 15-seat diner. Serving up all the American classics, Cindy’s Diner has been a downtown favorite for decades, with roots dating back to 1952. 


Its snug, no-frills approach to dining is what makes Cindy’s a standout spot for comfort food. Come for its famous “Garbage” plate—a tasty breakfast pileup of eggs, potatoes, cheese, onions, and ham—and stay for the camaraderie. 


As one of Fort Wayne’s first fast food restaurants, you’ll leave feeling not only full and satisfied, but connected to a piece of Downtown Fort Wayne’s history. Cindy’s slings breakfast, lunch, and baked goods (including Murphy’s Donuts) five days a week, and is the perfect place to enjoy some biscuits and gravy with a side of nostalgia. 


Hours & Location:

Monday – Saturday: 6am to 2pm

230 W. Berry Street, Fort Wayne, IN 46802


Website & Social:

Cindy’s Diner’s Facebook Page




Grilled cheese? Cheese toasty? No matter how you say it, I think we can all agree on one thing: it’s one of the most comforting sandwiches. Pair it with tomato soup, and it’s what comfort food dreams are made of. If I’m speaking your language, there’s no better place in town than the Dash-In—where the grilled cheese sandwich is their signature. 


The grilled cheeses at Dash-In are not your average Kraft singles sandos. They offer five different gourmet grilled cheeses, all made with a variety of cheeses, sauces, and a few unlikely ingredients, sandwiched between thick, grilled sourdough. As for the soup, Campbell’s got nothing on Dash-In’s rich, tangy tomato bisque—great on its own, and perfect for dunking that tasty toasty. In addition, the Dash offers other cozy fare, like all-day breakfast, a build-your-own burger, paninis and deli sandwiches.


Bonus: they have an extensive selection of beer on tap and by the bottle. And if you’re looking for a comforting drink sans the alcohol, they serve locally roasted Old Crown coffee and stock a full cafe to please all the latte lovers. 


Hours & Location:

Wednesday – Sunday: 9am to 3pm, plus some evenings for art exhibitions and special events

814 Calhoun Street, Fort Wayne, IN 46802


Website & Social:

Dash-In’s Website

Dash-In Facebook Page

Dash-In’s Instagram

Coney Island

Fort Wayne’s Famous Coney Island


Fort Wayne’s Famous Coney Island is another comfort food time capsule. This Downtown institution is over 100 years old and thriving. You might wonder how a humble coney stand has maintained such success for over a century, without any fancy revamps or menu overhauls. The answer? Their coney dogs are that good. In fact, they’re renowned, hosting a slew of celebrities, athletes, and politicians.


Coney Island is popular all year long, but it’s especially packed during the holiday season, when families fulfill their tradition of gazing at Downtown Fort Wayne’s holiday lights, followed by a stop to get their favorite franks. It’s not uncommon to see a line out the door of their iconic storefront. 


With a simple menu, you can grab a coney dog, burger, or bowl of chili—all staples of Midwestern comfort. If you have a sweet tooth, wash it down with a glass bottle of Coca Cola Classic or cap the visit off by sharing a slice of locally made pie. 


Hours & Location:

Sunday – Thursday: 9am to 9pm

Friday – Saturday: 9am to 10pm

131 W. Main Street, Fort Wayne, IN 46802


Website & Social:

Coney Island’s Website

Coney Island’s Facebook Page

Coney Island’s Twitter

Coney Island’s Instagram

JK O’Donnell’s

JK O’Donnell’s


Nestled a block over from Coney Island and Dash-In, you’ll find an Irish pub with all the Celtic comfort you could ever desire. JK O’Donnell’s is a homey tavern with traditional Irish cooking, a wealth of whiskeys, and a neighborly atmosphere where you can watch a game or catch some live folk music. 


Ireland is home to some of the world’s most soul-warming dishes, so it’s no surprise that JK’s is a comfort food hotspot. From shepherd’s pie and scotch eggs, to bangers and mash and fish and chips, there’s no shortage of hardy provisions on the menu.


With an ambiance as warm as the food, it’s a great spot to seek refuge during the fall and winter months. And unlike many pubs, JK O’Donnell’s has a kid-friendly hall in the back, equipped with a fireplace and all. So, you can cuddle up with the whole family.    


Hours & Location:

Tuesday – Thursday: 11am to 11pm

Friday – Saturday: 11am to 12am

121 W. Wayne Street, Fort Wayne, IN 46802


Website & Social:

JK O’Donnell’s Website

JK O’Donnell’s Facebook Page

JK O’Donnell’s Twitter

JK O’Donnell’s Instagram

Landing Beer Co.

Landing Beer Company


No comfort food list would be complete without some barbecue. Luckily, the Landing Beer Company has that covered, offering what might be the most quintessential American food pairing—beer and barbecue.


The Landing Beer Company has all the smoky slow-cooked delights, including pulled pork, brisket, smoked chicken wings, smoked turkey and even smoked tofu, served with an array of housemade BBQ sauce. To complete the meal, they have all the BBQ accompaniments you could want: cole slaw, mac and cheese, cornbread, waffle fries—you name it!


In between bites, you can sip on a beer from their in-house brewery or a craft cocktail from the bar. This brewery is all-ages (kids can even eat free on Thursdays). So, it’s a great place to gather with everyone for some good ol’ fashioned grub.  


Hours & Location:

Monday – Thursday: 11am to 9pm

Friday – Saturday: 11am to 11pm

118 W. Columbia Street, Fort Wayne, IN 46802


Website & Social: 

Landing Beer Company’s Website

Landing Beer Company’s Facebook Page

Landing Beer Company’s Instagram




When you think of comfort food, you may not think of fine dining. And if that’s the case, you clearly haven’t had Chef Nolot’s concoctions at Tolon, an upscale, farm-to-table restaurant, just a few steps away from the Landing Beer Company. 


Tolon takes comfort to the next level with its seasonal, locally-sourced menu. You’ll find indulgent eats like “nashville” hot chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, and steak frites—a dish with ribeye, duck-fat fries, and a healthy dose of butter. In addition to standard American favorites, you’ll also find some globally inspired comfort dishes, like adobo chicken, bison bolognese, crispy pork belly, and chilaquiles. 


Chef Nolot’s style leans experimental, adding his own twist to otherwise traditional fare. So if you’re looking for a spin on a classic, Tolon is a must-try. And even if you do favor your original recipes, I promise you won’t leave Tolon feeling anything but satisfied. 


Hours & Location:

Wednesday – Thursday: 4pm to 9pm

Friday – Saturday: 4pm to 10pm

Sunday: 10am to 2pm

614 S. Harrison Street, Fort Wayne, IN 46802


Website & Social:

Tolon’s Website

Tolon’s Facebook Page

Tolon’s Instagram

Molly Conner is a Fort Wayne native and freelance writer. Having lived in Downtown Fort Wayne throughout her twenties, she loves watching her stomping grounds grow. With her love of storytelling and community in tow, she’s eager to tell Downtown Fort Wayne’s story piece-by-piece—exploring the people, spaces, and organizations that make it thrive.