Catch a cool wave

Empyrean Café offers fresh new dining options

Empyrean Cafe's butternut soup

Middle Waves
In case you’ve been living under a rock, Fort Wayne is becoming downright magnificent. I’d blow out my word count if I started to name all the exciting people, projects and places our city currently has to offer, so instead, I’ll just tell you about the latest and greatest news to hit the Fort. Two words: Middle Waves. It’s a two-day destination music festival that will bring music lovers near and far to our slice of Indiana. During the announcement party at The Brass Rail in May, we were whipped into a frenzy as some of Fort Wayne’s most creative and passionate residents crowded into the space to hear who we’d be jamming to this fall. While the entire lineup has yet to be revealed, the headliner will be The Flaming Lips, ladies and gents. Yasssss! Featuring indie, hip-hop and rock acts, Middle Waves will be held Sept. 16-17 at Headwaters Park and feature three stages with 20+ national and local musical acts. There’ll be food trucks and various other vendors as well as artists set up in The Village, which will also be home to the adult beverages. The Middle Waves crew wants the experience to not only showcase how rad Fort Wayne is but to bond together those who already know. Middle Waves is going to be so cool, you’ll need a sweater. Purchase your tickets asap, snap up some stickers and buttons and spread the good word. “Momentum has a soundtrack – and it’s loud. This is Middle Waves.” To learn more about your new favorite music festival (take that, Coachella), visit www.middlewaves.com.

Empyrean Café
Among the newest restaurants to open in downtown Fort Wayne is Empyrean Café, located off the lobby of the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, with outdoor seating on the patio or inside the atrium. I’m excited to have another local option for fresh and healthy breakfasts and lunches. The breakfast menu features waffles (even a savory version with brie and bacon – yum!), a delicious croissant (that I was supposed to share with my husband, but didn’t), fresh juices and coffees and a “breakfast jar” of yogurt, fruit, granola and honey that tasted good enough to be dessert. The lunch menu really speaks my language with great salads, sandwiches, wraps and flatbreads with unique combos of wholesome ingredients. A couple of soups, a few sides (the Lemon Scented Orzo Pasta Salad is fab), grab and go snacks as well as a handful of desserts ensure there’s plenty to choose from each visit. Empyrean Café also offers a boxed lunch option for groups small or large, in addition to the catering services of sister company Empyrean Events. I visited the café on its second day of business and proceeded to return for the next three days in a row – and desperately tried not to order that croissant each time. Empyrean Café is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Wed., 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Thur., 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Fri.-Sat. and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Sun. at 1100 S. Calhoun St.; call (260) 424-2233 or visit www.empyreancafe.com.

Free Art Collective
I know I’ve extolled the virtues of Instagram in the past, but here’s another entry in this column about how fun and enriching the social media platform can be. Through someone I follow, I found out about a brand new movement happening in the city. Fort Wayne Free Art Collective is open to everyone who wants to share, or hunt for, free works of art randomly posted throughout the city on any given day. The artist drops his or her work at any spot around town, then posts a picture clue to start the hunt. By tagging @fwfreeartcollective on Instagram, the account then reposts the image so that all followers can join in the fun. Conceived of by Lissa Brown and Ryan Krueckeberg to spread beauty and art in Fort Wayne, the movement quickly picked up steam as users who found the first few works of art excitedly shared their finds with their own followers. So, that friend of mine who posted a picture of her found art clued me in and in turn, I started following the account. The very next day, I was riding in a car, flipping through my Instagram timeline and saw a new picture clue had just been posted. After a few seconds looking at this beautiful piece of work posted to a very familiar-looking wall, I realized I was just down the street! Less than two minutes later, I was the proud new owner of a lovely piece by @tiny_clementine_art, a local artist previously featured in this column. I encourage everyone to participate in this modern treasure hunt that connects generous artists with new fans. Follow @fwfreeartcollective on Instagram to join in these artistic shenanigans.

First appeared in the August 2016 issue of Fort Wayne Magazine. This article has been changed from the version that appeared in the magazine to correct the names of the co-founders of Fort Wayne Free Art Collective. 

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