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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. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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