FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Savor Fort Wayne is back this week featuring the most restaurants in its nearly decade-long run. The annual event puts the spotlight on a group of local restaurants offering three course meals at a discounted price.
Savor Fort Wayne started with 11 restaurants in its first year, and has exploded in popularity with nearly 70 taking part this year.
The idea of Savor Fort Wayne is to expose customers to new restaurants, or new dishes at familiar spots, during a time of the year when business is typically slow because of the cold weather and a post-holiday slowdown.
“This time of the year, getting people out to the restaurants, eating inside the restaurants, helping the wait staff, helping the restaurants to get that extra injection of service for the month is huge,” said Josh Volz, the director of marketing for Mad Anthony Brewing and Shigs in Pit.
It’s awesome for the staff to see. Our crew just love seeing fresh faces and so it’s a morale boost, it’s positive, it’s good.Josh Volz, Mad Anthony’s and Shigs in Pit
On top of it being a slower time of the year for restaurants, the service industry is still struggling from pandemic losses.
“Fort Wayne’s a great community for locally owned outfits like ours, very supportive. And this is just another way for them to reengage if they have been kind of maybe on the sidelines for the last pushing two years now,” said Ben Hall, of Hall’s restaurants.
Emily Stuck with Visit Fort Wayne says Savor Fort Wayne is the perfect opportunity for people to step outside their comfort zones and try something new.
“We live where we live and we eat what’s around us. So use Savor fort Wayne as that reason to head downtown, or southwest, or northwest, or northeast, or southeast,” she said. “They are our local chefs and local staff and they really try to put on the best experience they can for Savor, because they want you to come in and like most restaurants they want you to come back, they want to earn your business.”
Josh Volz is excited for the 12 day event, and ready to see new and familiar faces in the dining rooms.
“Savor does a great job of showcasing some of the restaurants that the people may have not been to yet or new restaurants in the area,” he said. “I think seeing all the menus out there and seeing all the cool items and the entrees and stuff, it kind of gives you a taste of what Fort Wayne has that maybe you haven’t had before.”
It’s really is about hitting every price point, every cuisine, and showcasing our amazing local restaurant community.”Emily Stuck, Visit Fort Wayne
Ben Hall says working through Covid had its challenges, but Savor will help get restaurants back on the path to normalcy.
“Everybody was doing carryout, a lot of people were doing delivery, Waiter on the Way did a tremendous job of stepping up when delivery and carryout was all we had – and that’s one part of it, people like the food that restaurants can make. But like you said, it’s more about the experiences, getting back into the dining rooms with some noise and buzz and some interaction with people that you know,” he said. “When Savor’s going there will be butts and seats and servers are active and servers and making money.
Savor Fort Wayne runs January 12-23. A list of participating restaurants can be found here.
Many restaurants are offering to-go options again this year. If you’re dining in, reservations are encouraged.