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Powers Hamburgers

One of the best greasy spoons in the world!


Also, this was the first HDR I ever did.


If you've grown up, lived, or worked in Fort Wayne in the last 65 or so years, chances are you've eaten at Powers Hamburgers. And if that's the case, chances are you liked it. Powers is the epitome of a "greasy spoon" as far as diners are concerned, and has the killer food to back that up.


The menu? Simple and unchanged for decades: Small, handmade, ground chuck burgers cooked to order on a flattop grill before your very eyes. Get them with cheese, grilled onion, mustard, and ketchup if you like. They're served steaming on lightly toasted Aunt Millie's dinner rolls made right up the street at Perfection Bakeries. And you always get a fresh plate of food because no table in the place is more than 15 feet from the grill.


Growing up I had the privilege of going to Powers from time to time with my family. Eating downtown at places like Powers, Coney Island, Bill's Palace, the Tiny Tim Diner, and Cindy's was a regular treat and a very fond childhood memory of mine. Since then I've tried out White Castle, and to be perfectly honest, I just don't get what all the White Castle hype is about. Anyone who's ever had a Powerburger knows they're in a whole different league.


Recently I heard of talk of demolishing Powers with regard to the ongoing "Harrison Square" stadium project. Rumor has it a later phase of the master plan shows it as an empty grass lot. This is all innuendo of course, and as such may or may not actually be true. But as I sat and thought about it, Fort Wayne losing Powers is tantamount to an encyclopedia losing a whole letter-volume.


I really hope this city, with its emphasis on "Downtown Improvement", doesn't lose sight of its rich history in places like Powers. Downtown Improvement is more than just tearing down old stuff and building new. They would do the community a tremendous disservice by forcing the closure of this downtown institution all because a few tenants in some posh new condos don't like to look over a diner.


I submit that Powers is as "Fort Wayne" as Don Halls, the Old Fort, the Roller Dome, the Perfection Bakeries sign, Freimann Square, and the statue of Anthony Wayne himself. I've eaten at that counter with people from every walk of life: politicians, pastors, prostitutes, media faces, cops, criminals, rich businessmen, bag ladies, and railroad vagrants. Black, white, Latino, rich, poor, old, young, gay, straight, drunk, sober, high, angry, nice, republican, democrat, Christian, Catholic, Jew, Muslim, pagan... As far as eateries go, Powers is more than little morsels of heaven on a platter.


It is the Great Equalizer of its patrons.


Powers Rocks.


-Everett White

Fort Wayne, IN

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Taken on December 29, 2006