A Ruth’s Chris Steak House is coming to downtown Fort Wayne next year.
The upscale-restaurant chain will anchor the Skyline Tower apartment complex, which is part of the Ash Skyline Plaza project. The restaurant, which will be the chain’s fourth location in Indiana, is expected to open in the fall of 2017. The chain has two restaurants in Indianapolis and one in South Bend.
"What Fort Wayne has accomplished downtown during the great revitalization period is clearly a major draw," said Brad Toothaker, managing partner of Great Lakes Capital, which is developing Skyline Tower.
"Ruth’s Chris’ reputation and tradition of excellence, with this regional draw downtown, made it a perfect fit for Skyline Tower, truly setting the table for the project."
Skyline Tower, which was announced about a month ago, will feature 124 one- and two-bedroom apartments with office space on the second floor.
The restaurant chain is excited to be a part of the future of downtown Fort Wayne, said Larry Griggers, franchise partner of Ruth’s Chris Steak House.
"I want to say something about Mayor (Tom) Henry – he is a hard man to say no to. He worked on us for a few months, and I was excited about his vision of revitalization of downtown, and honestly speaking it’s a relatively small market for a Ruth’s Chris-type chain," Griggers said. "But after a few visits, a few more discussions, we really saw what he was doing and totally bought into it."
Griggers said the restaurant will be 9,000 to 10,000 square feet and seat 250 to 300 people. It will feature patio dining, private dining and banquet facilities, "an active, energetic bar setting" and will also be connected to the 1,700-space parking garage.
"This is a great day for the city of Fort Wayne. To be able to add to our hospitality inventory something we’ve been searching for quite some time," Henry said. "And to have a quality restaurant like this in downtown Fort Wayne is certainly not only going to please those who work downtown, but a lot of the conventioneers who come to our city who are asking for an additional facility for dining, one of this quality has been an area of interest for quite some time."
Councilman Geoff Paddock, D-5th, who represents downtown Fort Wayne, said he’s excited that Ruth’s Chris Steak House decided to open a location in Fort Wayne. He said he hopes this will entice more businesses to locate downtown, in addition to driving more consumer traffic downtown.
Friday’s announcement, Paddock said, is an example of a public-private partnership paying off.
"There are several businesses that have come forward that I know of, provided City Council comes forward and endorses the financial package next week which I hope that it does," he said. "If there are some retail spaces left, I think that with the connection to Ruth’s Chris Steak House, I think that will attract some other retail, if there’s a need for it right there, very quickly."