Sidebars: Fort Wayne eatery provides tasty respite from depositions

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SidebarsSo often we get the question about representing people who have been accused of a crime (and often the question comes with a sneered-up nose as if the person asking just smelled something bad). This proverbial cocktail party question comes from our fellow sisters and brothers of the bar as well as lay persons. Well, my standard answer sometimes surprises people – the circumstance is more often than not just plain sad. People come to us with legal problems that often are deeper than just whether they broke the law. There often is some sort of pathology that led them to be in a criminal predicament that we try to identify so they will not reoffend or so that they can understand how to play by the rules. Recently, Jim Voyles, Bill McCallister (our private investigator) and I were in Fort Wayne on such a case. We were taking depositions all day so when we broke for lunch, we needed a break for lunch.

Around the corner from the courthouse and down the street from the jail, we found Don Hall’s Old Gas House. Don Hall restaurants litter the Fort Wayne area and have one location I could find in Indianapolis. The Gas House offers a wide variety of starters, salads, sandwiches and entrées on their lunch menu in a not too formal, but not too casual atmosphere. The dark wood gave it almost a hunting lodge feel. In the summer they have a deck along the bank of the St. Mary’s River for dining and drinking.

They offered a handful of starter salads from a basic Caesar salad to the asparagus salad which had hearts of palm, artichokes, and red peppers with balsamic vinaigrette. For other starters, they serve up a terrific shrimp and sausage gumbo, sesame-seared Yellowfin tuna with a ginger noodle salad and wasabi, the classic hot chicken wings or spinach and artichoke dip with crispy, fried pita bread.

For entrées, the salads were enticing and creative. The pecan-crusted chicken salad which has bleu cheese, candied pecans, tomato, dried cherries, and pecan-crusted chicken with raspberry vinaigrette was under strong consideration, but Bill ultimately went with the grilled pear salad which had crumbled bacon, roasted walnuts, goat cheese with black currant vinaigrette. Bill was impressed enough that he didn’t chat much during lunch, which is a big feat. Jim opted for the Gas House Greek salad, which was really a starter salad. He was not impressed because of the beets, which he obviously did not see were described as being on the salad. He proceeded to pick out the “yucky stuff” as he called it, but ultimately he was able to finish his meal.

I had more difficulty but finally picked the daily $8 lunch special which on Tuesday was lasagna with garlic bread (the latter of which was particularly good). The lasagna was actually really good, and it came with a cup of soup or salad. That is how I claim personal knowledge of the gumbo being excellent. They also had small plate lunch for $9 which allows you to choose one of the starter salads or a bowl of soup paired with a choice of other items. Those choices were Yellowfin tuna, crab cake, blackened shrimp, three filet mignon sliders, petite Reuben or petite chicken club.

The Old Gas House’s menu offers many burger choices and sandwich choices, including vegetarian selections. Finally, there were actual dinner plate offerings that included prime rib ($11), filet mignon ($14), and jumbo fried shrimp ($10), which comes with coleslaw and fries.

The Old Gas House was a nice respite from a very long day of depositions that involved a very sad case that so often is part of our jobs as litigators of those who have disputes, problems or a moral compass that just doesn’t point north. I would recommend the Old Gas House even if you are not dealing with a tough case, and I give it 3 gavels! It is located at 305 E. Superior Street in Fort Wayne.•


Fred Vaiana and Jennifer Lukemeyer practice at Voyles Zahn & Paul in Indianapolis, focusing in criminal defense. Both enjoy a good meal with colleagues and friends, and their Sidebars column reviews and rates eateries lawyers may enjoy visiting when working at courthouses throughout Indiana. The opinions expressed in this column are those of the authors.


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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.