Cork ‘n Cleaver: Setting the bar

This steakhouse also gets kudos for salad choices

Posted on Sep 01 2019 in Indiana Eats

It isn’t every day that a steak place gets rave reviews for its salad bar. But Cork ‘n Cleaver, an institution in Fort Wayne (it opened in 1974), is renowned for its 52-item salad bar which State Rep. Bob Morris calls “the best salad bar in the state.” The recommendation comes with good reason. Besides the obligatory lettuces and traditional toppings, the Cork ‘n Cleaver’s selections include anchovies, artichoke salad, creamed herring and, wait for it, caviar and … jelly beans!

Cork ‘n Cleaver’s signature Mud Pie is just as famous as its salad bar. It’s a sky-high treat featuring an Oreo cookie crust, coffee ice cream, warm chocolate fudge, toasted almonds and whipped cream. It’s such a large serving of sweet deliciousness that you will probably want to share it!

The restaurant’s menu is varied and unique in that is actually printed on a meat cleaver! (Don’t worry: the cleaver’s edges aren’t sharp.) With entrees like hand-cut steak, salmon, scallops, lobster and king crab, Cork ‘n Cleaver is an excellent dining option for those wanting to celebrate a special day.

Cork ‘n Cleaver used to be a national chain with 80 locations across the country. Now, only three privately owned locations remain. Besides the Fort Wayne restaurant, there is a Cork ‘n Cleaver in Evansville (which also opened in 1974) and another in Fargo, North Dakota.

The Fort Wayne restaurant’s motto as described on its website may be the reason it has thrived through the years: “Eat Well, Laugh Often, Live Long.” With its commitment to the Golden Rule — treating others as we would like to be treated — and to quality service and food, Cork ‘n Cleaver certainly has discovered the recipe for success.

If you go

Cork ‘n Cleaver’s Mud Pie.
Photos provided by Cork ‘n Cleaver

Cork ‘n Cleaver
221 E. Washington Center Road, Fort Wayne


Monday–Friday: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Monday–Friday: 5 to 10 p.m.

Saturday: 4 to 10 p.m.

Sunday: 4 to 9 p.m.