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Posted on Mon. Jan. 27, 2014 - 12:01 am EDT


The right date night

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One look at the calendar and you realize the pressureís on. You are three weeks away from Valentineís Day Ė the ultimate date night.

Now that itís apparent you are quickly entering the red zone of restaurant reservations, where the heck do you take your sweetheart in this town?

Step 1: Search within a specific genre

Will your date want to be wined and dined or watch the game?

When searching for date spots, itís better to filter out unlikely options.

Katie Crabill, marketing assistant for Visit Fort Wayne, says the organization recently compiled a list of Valentineís Day specials from the hearty Red River Steakhouse to an intimate ballet performance at the Auer Center for Arts and Culture to a cooking lesson at The Olive Twist.

ďSome people, especially guys, feel they have to really impress you. It can make it kind of awkward and uncomfortable. When you go somewhere thatís special for you two, itís more relaxing.Ē

Step 2: Check in to check out the reviews

Before you commit yourself to a reservation, check out Facebook and Foursquare to hear what others are saying about certain date spots. Also, check out Dining Out columnist Ryan Duvallís review archive for the Journal Gazette at Reviews are searchable by name, cuisine and 5-star rating system.

Step 3: Donít always pick the hot spot

Dying to try out the new place in town? So is everybody else.

Thereís no room for romance when youíre cramped in a corner next to the kitchen. Pick a place that is more low-key or still under the radar.

Anita Homco, event coordinator for the Downtown Improvement District, says the downtown area is growing with dining options.

She and her husband went to the gluten-free vegan dinner provided by Pembroke Bakery and Cafť last year for Valentineís Day and plan to be low-key again this year with drinks at the Dash-In.

Pembroke plans to do another Valentineís Day dinner this year.

ďI think you definitely want to find a more quiet space like Club Soda or (Don Hallís Old) Gas House. Itís kind of nice to have that special time to talk,Ē she says.

Step 4: Have a Plan B

Unlike romantic comedies, things donít always turn out for the best. Before your date, pick out a secondary location, just in case your first place is a flop or your date isnít ready to call it an evening. Either way, a nightcap canít hurt.

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