Exploring The Thumb of Downtown Fort Wayne

Along Superior and the St. Mary’s River is a district known as The Thumb—where you’ll find revered restaurants, peaceful parks, fashionable flats, and so much more. The Thumb outlines Downtown Fort Wayne’s 99 blocks to the north, and it’s home to longtime staples and new developments alike. 

Here’s what to expect when you visit The Thumb:

Top-Notch Dining & Drinks

The Thumb is home to some of Fort Wayne’s favorite restaurants and has been for decades. One of The Thumb’s notable establishments, Club Soda, has been serving up elevated steakhouse fare, perfected martinis, and lively jazz nights since it opened its doors in 1999. The martini bar quickly became the spot for celebrating special occasions or having a romantic date night. Over 20 years later, Club Soda is still going strong—much like their cocktails—offering an elegant ambiance to grab a bite (like their famous smoked gouda dip) and a drink for lunch or dinner Monday through Saturday. 


Right across the street from Club Soda, you’ll find another popular dining destination located in The Thumb: a cluster of Don Hall’s finest restaurants—The Deck, The Gas House, and Takaoka of Japan. If you’re not from Fort Wayne, you may not be familiar with the Halls’ family legacy or their brand of restaurants. What started in 1946 as a successful drive-in has since evolved into 10 distinct restaurants owned and operated by the Hall family—each offering their own unique fare, flair and flavor. 


At The Deck, you’ll find an outdoor dining experience like none other in town. Situated on the St. Mary’s River, the views are spectacular and the drinks are plentiful. In fact, The Deck has become such a hotspot for the late-night crowd, it’s had to expand seating multiple times since it first opened its humble bar in the parking lot of The Gas House—where you’ll find another vibe entirely. 


At The Gas House, you’ll be greeted with an air of nostalgia and sophistication. Nestled into a charming, historic building, you’ll feel transported to another time—both in ambiance and in their menu, which offers American steakhouse classics, peppered in with some modern-day twists. 


Venture upstairs, and you’ll find Takaoka of Japan—named for and inspired by one of Fort Wayne’s sister cities. At Takaoka, you can enjoy your choice of hibachi made right in front of you by Takaoka’s performative chefs. Come hungry and ready to be entertained.

Scenic Spaces 

Headwaters Park and Promenade Park are two state-of-the-art greenspaces that take full advantage of being on the river. Both parks boast beautiful trails, pavilions and overlooks—plus plenty of summer events and festivals! They’re well worth a stroll or a jog, and are just a quick jaunt from each other. 

Living by the Water

Inside The Thumb, you’ll find plenty of living quarters to keep you close to the river and all the action that surrounds it. Any of the apartments at Superior Lofts, The Riverfront at Promenade Park, and the soon-to-be Lofts at Headwaters Park are sure to provide urban living at its finest!

Creative Businesses & Community Connections

Along Superior, you’ll find a string of creative businesses and community-focused municipalities. A Party Apart has been helping the Fort Wayne community throw unforgettable parties and events for over 30 years, providing assistance to caterers, florists, wedding planners, professional party and banquet coordinators, hotels, and festivals. 

Boyden & Youngblutt, a marketing agency on Superior, has been building successful brands since the 90s. Their resume spans across the Fort Wayne community and beyond, with clients like Parkview and Zimmer Biomet. Walk into their office, and you’ll find an eclectic, playful ambiance—perfect for the creative thinkers who work there.

Custer is another inventive business on Superior, specializing in interior design, furniture and architecture for offices and corporations. Custer’s sleek style and next-level workspace designs are enough to lure devout remote workers back to the office. 

Wayne Township Trustee has been focused on supporting the community and helping people out of poverty since it was established in 1820. The Wayne Township Trustee provides emergency assistance for everything from food and medications, to utilities and shelter, to transportation and work training.


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.