Welcome to this month’s edition of Dining Al Fresco, where we spotlight some of Fort Wayne’s locally owned restaurants offering an outdoor dining experience.
This week’s spotlight is J K O’Donnell’s, an Irish Ale House located downtown. As you approach JK’s, you are greeted by the red, white, and green of three Irish flags, punctuated from behind by the gold lettering of their signage. The sign also highlights the Ale House’s 2007 establishment along with its home city of Fort Wayne and the Irish city where the Legend of JK’s originated, Castlebar, Ireland.
Direct on the Wayne Street front is their patio where dining or drinking makes you feel like you’re in the big city. Throughout the summer the patio at JK’s is one of the best places to be, especially during events like the Fort4Fitness running events due to the finish line being right out front.
Passing underneath their iconic Guinness sign takes you to a local pub setting. Rich wood-tones set the scene with golden lighting that makes you feel warm and welcome. You are immediately greeted by the bar, which sits center-stage, adorned with various craft and import beer taps and a central pillar that carries several whiskeys ready to pour. All around the bar are booths and tables all organized pub-style, completing the theme. While the bar area caters to those 21+, the back room, known as Belleek Hall, offers family dining, as well.
The food menu features traditional Irish fare with everything from scotch eggs to bangers and mash. When the plate is set in front of you, the quality of their ingredients is obvious. There is an expression of pride in the food served in this establishment. Their beer menu is just as impressive with a full selection of crafts and imports. While they don’t exactly offer a full bar, they do have a wide selection of whiskeys as well as select liquors of other styles to enjoy.
JK’s is a must for any craft beer enthusiast. With their rotating taps and wide range of bottles, you are guaranteed something new to taste. And what goes better with a good pint than some quality Irish fare?
Draft Blends: The creative minds at JK’s have come up with some delicious blends of their beers on tap. With blends like a Snakebite (which is Harp and Strongbow) you must give each a try. I often find new favorites there!
Scotch Eggs and Lamb Pasty: These Scotch Eggs, hard-boiled, wrapped in sausage and deep fried, are the best in town, hands down. The Lamb Pasty has all the fixins of a lamb pot pie stuffed inside a flaky house-made pastry crust. It is to die for.