The zip code 46807–affectionately referred to as “The 07” by locals–covers a western prong directly south of downtown Fort Wayne. The area reaches all the way down Calhoun Street, scoops underneath Donald Ross Golf Course at Tillman Road, then traces an elegant path northwest to join the St Marys River and eventually finds its northern boundary at Creighton Avenue. The shape created resembles a half-heart, like the matching necklace you gave your best friend from grade school.
The entire zip code, in fact, can induce nostalgia: the classic architecture, the gardens at Foster Park, the fountain at the curve of Broadway with its spectacular Christmas tree. But “The 07” is far from old news. Young singles and families are moving to the area in droves, metaphorically bridging the gap between the owners of historic mansions and renters of multi-unit houses, which makes for a diverse, energetic and ever-evolving neighborhood.
Where to begin? Look no further than Foster Park, toward which the perfect right angle of Broadway and Rudisill points.
The 255-acre park was named after Samuel and Colonel David N. Foster in 1912, when it was but a 67-acre wooded area. Now, the Rivergreenway-adjacent green space boasts tennis courts, a golf course, trails, a replica of Abe Lincoln’s birth cabin, a cable footbridge, community gardens, playground, a dog park and a bridal glen amid stunning floral beds.
Meandering out of the park onto Old Mill Road and into the nearby Southwood Park and Harrison Hill neighborhoods, admire the varied and often elaborate architecture of historic homes, some dating back a century.
“Both Fort Wayne natives, [my husband John and I] moved back recently to discover a very different city than we knew in our childhood,” said recent Southwood Park transplant Erika Marx. “Looking at houses, we wanted an older home with character, a big yard and walking trails. We looked southwest, 46805 and West Central, and in the end we chose the Southwood Park area because it met all our needs: a well-cared-for older home in a quiet family neighborhood adjacent to diverse experiences and close to downtown. The walkability to Foster Park and the Greenway are huge assets.”
Speaking of diverse experiences, look no further than Wunderkammer Company, the city’s favorite independent art gallery and community space. Stop in to peruse whatever exhibit is currently being featured, check out the external murals or hang out in the idiosyncratic, colorful courtyard.
“We give people the opportunity to experience yet a different facet of the arts,” said Board President Terra Hipp. “Wunderkammer has been and will continue to be about creativity and growth. We put people in a room together and start conversations.” To the left of the front door, visitors can use chalk to answer the question: “What do you love about the 07?”
If looking to shop, there is a high likelihood you’ll find something perfect to hang, wear or read at Wunderkammer, but if you’re in the mood for a thrill-of-the-hunt endeavor, check out Finders Keepers. The enclave is popular for unusual and quality used furniture and accessories: bedroom sets, lamps, books, record albums–antique and retro and modern.
The specialty burger joint Bravas opened its brick-and-mortar location three years ago. The name of the game, said owner-chef Bo Gonzalez, is playing with flavor combinations, sourcing ingredients responsibly (the restaurant buys whole Angus cows from local Wood Farms) and having fun while working.
“If you see something you don’t think makes sense,” said Gonzalez, “trust us. At the end of the day, it may sound weird, but every finished product is going to hit every note: savory, sweet, sour.” The restaurant also offers a house-made veggie burger as well as hot dogs and salads.
Cold weather got you craving comfort food? My Grannie’s Table has the answer. “We’re trying to imitate our Grandmother Rose’s table in hopes that you’ll feel as comfortable as we did there,” said Sharon Hill, sister of owner Patricia Lewis. On the tables, there are not only menus, but also a story: a family history focusing on Rose, “Grannie,” and her inspiring kitchen.
The cozy soul food joint serves traditional American breakfast until noon on Wednesday through Saturday, and lunch and dinner items every day but Monday and Tuesday. Though specializing in cafeteria-style dining and carry-out, the family-owned restaurant welcomes dine-in customers as well.
Hill said it’s best to call in to find out exactly what’s on the menu that day, but expect soul food staples like baked chicken legs, deep-fried fish, pig feet, black eyed peas and collards. Don’t miss the African-style stew, a combination of braised chicken and beef with spinach and okra made spicy upon request. And you can’t go wrong with the Saint Louis Ooey Gooey Butter Cake.
Ready for a drink? The social hub of Southwood Park is the Friendly Fox, a coffee house that also sells beer and wine. This café is ultra-cozy–perfect for accomplishing some work, reading a book or meeting with a friend.
Newcomer 07 Pub has delighted residents with its broad menu, which includes salad, flatbreads and pizzas, burgers, wraps and sandwiches. The beer selection is solid, and its hopped on the trend of house infused vodka. Using a mid-shelf bottle like Absolut or Tito’s, the bartenders soak fresh ingredients in vodka until the liquor adopts the flavors. Currently, the pub offers pineapple, blueberry and a jalpeno-lemon, which is excellent in Bloody Marys.
Want a location even more chill? Billy’s Dug Out on Fairfield, across from Wunderkammer and Bravas, is a divey watering hole that welcomes patrons with open arms. But wait, it gets better: There is a pool table.
*Mural can be found on the west-facing external wall of Wunderkammer Company.