Experience matters. Every time we eat, our food is seasoned in two ways—obviously by the ingredients and preparation, but more subtly by our experience and how we feel while we’re eating it. It’s why meals are so much better when shared, and why every culture holds a near sacred space for gathering around mealtime.
The experience at Brunch of Barr—an extension of the YLNI Farmers Market in Downtown Fort Wayne—is teeming with a zest for food and community. It feels almost impossible to have a bad time. The atmosphere is vibrant, and there’s a sense of togetherness that’s only achieved when braving the thick, spiciness of an Indiana summer to rally around our favorite farmers, local food producers and crafts-makers.
Brunch on Barr, an extension of the YLNI Farmers Market in Downtown Fort Wayne, offers boozy beverages and classic brunch bites.
Arriving at Brunch on Barr on a Saturday morning, I meander through buzzing market crowds as I collect bites from some of Fort Wayne’s best street vendors.
First up is the brunch sandwich
from The Localvore
—a salty mix of sausage, bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiched between a pillowy bun that’s slightly sweet and provides a welcome contrast to the sandwich’s savory center. It’s familiar and comforting, as if the Egg McMuffin received a refined upgrade. The brunch sandwich is accompanied by fried potatoes with frizzled skins made to please any salt enthusiast.
The brunch sandwich from The Localvore.
Next, I visit Laz’s Cuban Cafe
for some tostones
and yucca fries
. The tostones—made from unripened, green plantains—take on a savory profile compared to ripe, sweet plantains. They’re smashed, fried, and salted with a crisp exterior that’s juxtaposed with a cakey, starchy middle creating a distinguished texture. The yucca fries also master a captivating texture. They’re thick, toothsome, and denser than your average potato fry.
Both subtle in flavor, the tostones and yucca fries are served with an unctuous cilantro-laden condiment that’s bright, herbaceous, and tangy. While delicious on their own, the tostones and fries really benefit from this saucy companionship.
Tostones from Laz’s Cuban Cafe.
Next on the agenda is Chau Time
, a true renaissance food truck serving up fried rice, egg rolls, donuts, and ice cream. Having a hard time deciding between the Chinese sausage fried rice
and the veggie fried rice
, Chau Time’s window attendant suggests I do a mix of both. If you’re an omnivore, I suggest doing the same. The Chinese sausage is sweet and crispy which plays nicely with the eggy rice and vegetal notes from the carrots, corn, and green beans. Scattered throughout is a healthy dose of scallions which add a grassy freshness and a mild sharpness into the mix. I add a little soy sauce for some depth and umami and a packet of Rooster sriracha to give the dish some heat and extra sensation.
The Chinese sausage fried rice and the veggie fried rice from Chau Time.
I cannot resist ordering some mac-and-cheese egg rolls
—a solid play on other types of deep-fried mac-and-cheese bites, trading in breadcrumb or batter for a wonton wrapper. It’s lush and cheesy with a gooey center and a flaky crackling crust. I try the egg rolls with every sauce Chau Time offers (soy sauce, duck sauce, sriracha, and hot mustard), and all pair well, but the winner to my tastebuds is a mix of duck sauce and sriracha. The sweet, spicy combo mimics a Thai chili sauce and balances out the richness.
Mac-and-cheese egg rolls from Chau Time.
For something sweet, I try the key lime churros
at Churro Loco
, which marries zesty citrus with notes of vanilla for the perfect bond of sweet and sour. The dough’s sugar-dusted craggily edges provide a satisfying chew. It’s not overly sweet or one-dimensional like some desserts, and it’s surprisingly refreshing. Yet, it still feels indulgent enough to be the perfect grand finale to my brunch excursion.
Key lime churros from Churro Loco.
Brunch on Barr blends the farmers market experience with beloved brunch classics, so you can enjoy the best of both worlds—community and crepes. The options are plentiful and diverse, so you can frolic around the market trying a bit of everything. You can even enjoy a boozy beverage as you stroll through isles of street food. But what’s most distinctive about Brunch on Barr is the shared adventure of it all. You can share a bite with your friends anytime, but at Brunch on Barr, it feels like you’re sharing a meal with Fort Wayne. And that feels pretty special.
Menu items in review:
- Brunch Sandwich (The Localvore)
- Tostones (Laz’s Cuban Cafe)
- Yucca Fries (Laz’s Cuban Cafe)
- Mixed Chinese Sausage & Vegetable Fried Rice (Chau Time)
- Mac & Cheese Egg Rolls (Chau Time)
- Key Lime Churros (Churro Loco)
Yes, many of the food trucks offer locally-sourced ingredients. And while you’re there, you can pop over to the YLNI Farmers Market to grab local goodies to go.
Laz’s Cuban Cafe at Brunch on Barr.Vegetarian and vegan friendly?
Yes, many of the food trucks are accommodating to vegans and vegetarians.
The key lime churro left a lasting impression on me. As someone who doesn’t have a big sweet tooth, I was surprised how much it stood out.
The Churro Loco food truck at Brunch on Barr.What I wish I would have tried:
Any of the amazing cocktails from Edwin Coe Spirits or Hotel Tango. But alas, I had to drive. And if I’m being totally honest, I would have tried every single food truck if my stomach could muster it.
Hours & Location:
302 E Berry, Fort Wayne, IN
Every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; May through September
Website and social media:
Brunch on Barr's Facebook Page
Brunch on Barr's Instagram