Lunch on the Square has been bringing people together for 14 years. It all started with a simple concept: provide an outdoor space for the Downtown community to gather for lunch. Every year since, it’s grown in size and popularity—with more food trucks, a full schedule of live music, and crowds of people from all over town.
Going into its 15th year, Lunch on the Square has never been more of a vibe: food options galore, flower gardens, public art, music, and Freimann Square’s sparkling, fountain-filled pond. It’s the perfect midday break, giving the Fort Wayne community something to look forward to every Thursday. There’s no better lunch locale. And what makes Lunch on the Square even more special is you can grab a bite while giving back.
Back in 2022, Downtown Fort Wayne partnered with downtown-based law firm Barnes & Thornburg to start Lunch Means More, a way to highlight and support local nonprofits. During its inaugural year, proceeds went to The Growing Lives Foundation.
This season, Lunch Means More will honor Girlz Rock, a local nonprofit dedicated to “…creat[ing] and sustain[ing] programs that focus on building spirituality, supporting education and creating self-empowerment opportunities for young ladies.” Denita Washington, founder of Girlz Rock, has been working to change the world since 2010, creating programming for adolescent girls, designed to build confidence through leadership opportunities that would otherwise be inaccessible or not exist at all.
Girlz Rock was personally chosen by Barnes & Thornburg to be this year’s beneficiary. The organization’s goal to empower girls to become courageous change agents resonated with the Barnes & Thornburg team and their firm’s commitment to support and uplift communities.
If Girlz Rock sounds like a worthy cause you’d like to get behind, here’s how you can support them during Lunch Means More: each week this summer, a featured food truck will be announced on social media. When you order from that vendor at Lunch on the Square, Barnes & Thornburg will match 15% of your order and donate it to Girlz Rock. It’s that simple.
Think of it as a feel-good trifecta: (1.) you’re helping young girls flourish by supporting Girlz Rock, (2.) you’re connecting with your co-workers and friends, (3.) you’re supporting local food businesses and entrepreneurs—all in one lunch break!
As if that weren’t reason enough to get outside and head to Friemann Square, Fort Wayne’s blossoming food truck landscape is sprouting up new trucks all the time, so this year, expect even more diverse cuisines, treats for kids (and kids-at-heart), and options to satisfy any diet. Likewise, the music lineup has up-and-comers and local legends alike. With a different act each week, there’s sure to be something to fill everyone’s ears, in addition to their stomachs.
The food, the tunes, and the venue are part of what makes Lunch on the Square so appealing, but it’s the human connection that brings it all together. Sure, our city is home to plenty of new developments, excellent eateries, lush parks, and beautiful rivers, but what makes Fort Wayne a thriving community is the people—our support for each other and our willingness to give back. That’s what Lunch on the Square and Lunch Means More are all about.
So when you’re at Freimann Square on any given Thursday this summer, taste something new, support a local nonprofit, connect with a colleague, friend, or even a stranger, and help make our city an ever-more vibrant, welcoming place for everyone!
Learn more about Girlz Rock!
Check out the music lineup and get all the details on Lunch on the Square!
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.