Fort Wayne City Council members gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a liquor license for a new business moving into Promenade Park.

Teds Snack+Bar could get a three-way riverfront license, which would allow the business to sell beer, wine and liquor in the restaurant area at the park. If the council members give final approval next week, it would become a recommendation to the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission to grant the license.

“We are excited to be coming downtown,” owner Brian Hench said. He has owned and operated Teds Beerhall at 12628 Coldwater Road for seven years.

The Promenade Park business will differ from the beer hall by being more relaxed, Hench said in an October letter announcing the planned move into the park. The business will sell quick meal options and bar snacks, catering to both park visitors and people living and working nearby.

In the park pavilion’s family area, Teds will sell smoothies, ice cream and shaved ice. The bar area will offer beer, wine and mixed drinks, Hench said. He plans to be open for business in mid-April after making some renovations to the setup.

Hench said he’s talked with people about possible places to locate downtown for the past five years.

“This one seemed to be the right fit for us,” he added.

The Snack+Bar will operate out of the cafe area and serve the building’s patio and beer garden, Hench said Tuesday.

The three-way license will allow his business to cater events in the Promenade Pavilion, part of the lease agreement with Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation. The parks department will book the events, said Chuck Reddinger, deputy director of recreation.

The previous tenant, Trubble Riverside Café, had a two-way license for wine and beer at the cafe area, so it needed to get a special permit to serve mixed drinks for pavilion events.

Officials expect to cooperate with Teds Snacks+Bar for programming, especially over the winter when the park sees fewer visitors, Reddinger said.

Hench said in his announcement letter that Teds Beerhall has experience in hosting large events and live music.

Councilman Paul Ensley, R-1st, had concerns about patrons bringing alcohol from the designated areas into Promenade Park. Hench said he’s working with the parks department to make the designated area more obvious with signs along the railing surrounding it.

“One of the problems they had in the past is the barrier is a little ambiguous,” Hench said. There was also confusion between the pavilion and the cafe because of the three-way permits.

City Council passed preliminary approval 7-1 with Councilman Jason Arp, R-4th, voting against it and Councilman Tom Freistroffer, R-at large, absent.

According to Sharon Feasel, director of the Fort Wayne New Markets Revitalization Fund, Fort Wayne has eight active riverfront three-way licenses out. Unlike normal alcohol licenses based on population numbers, the special riverfront ones stay with one owner and one place and cannot be sold to another business.

The first riverfront license was granted in 2016, and the oldest still in use was granted to Nawa on The Landing in 2019.

“We haven’t been overwhelmed with them,” she said of liquor license requests. “It’s been kind of consistent, a couple a year.”

Local Government and General Assignment Reporter

Reporter James D. Wolf Jr. began working as a journalist in 1987 while earning his bachelor’s degree at Purdue University Calumet. He has worked in Indiana, Iowa and Illinois.