Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Liberty Diner serving monstrous burger

Rack & Helen's better than ever

The Liberty Monster Burger might take a couple sittings to finish.

Dean Jackson

Whatzup Features Writer

Published November 23, 2022

Now I understand what Carly Rae Jepsen meant when she sang, “I wasn’t looking for this, but now you’re in my way” on her 2012 mega-hit “Call Me Maybe.” But while she referred to a love interest, it could just as well been about a hamburger.

Stopping into Liberty Diner at the corner of Coliseum Boulevard and Goshen Road, I was minding my own business, and I wasn’t ready for what was about to happen.

On a dry erase board, there it was, an announcement for the Liberty Monster Burger: two half-pound patties of ground steak, topped with cheese, bacon, tomato, lettuce, onions, pickle, and relish.

I didn’t set out to get it, but its siren’s song whispered as I leafed through the menu. “Why not?” I thought.

The description was big and bold, but it didn’t come close to matching the reality.

It’s a monster in the way a Brontosaurus is a dinosaur or Everest is a mountain.

When it arrived, it towered. The only thing keeping this leviathan together was the steak knife. It was thick, messy, and hard to control … and I loved it. 

The true critic, my oft-quoted daughter gasped when she laid eyes on it and it drew the attention of other patrons.

After resorting to a fork to eat the behemoth, it proved too much, and I had to take half of it home with me. When I finished it off later, it was just as delightful as when I first experienced it.

Truly, I left feeling like this was the best burger in town and, no hype, probably the best burger I’ve had anywhere.

This is the type of offering that other places would promote with billboards and photos. This is could be on the Food Network or national publications. It will set you back about $20, but it’s worth consideration, even if you need two days to consume it.

Rack & Helen’s: Like it was never gone

For the Rack & Helen’s family, there’s even more to be thankful for this holiday season. 

First, they’ve been open a few weeks following last summer’s fire. The owners are enjoying loyal guests, and workers can say they were still involved and employed even when it wasn’t open for business.

After spending part of an evening there, I left feeling like it really was never gone.

“We got our (butts) kicked,” one overwhelmed employee told me about how busy they were trying to keep up with orders shortly after the New Haven favorite reopened this month. 

Days after a blaze ripped through the back of the pub, the entire crew dove right in to restore it. Instead of pouring beers, bartenders were pounding hammers. Servers were slapping down paint. 

It was a collaboration of cooks right there with construction guys, as the owners kept staff working by having them involved with the rehab project.

So, what’s different? Not much.

The back entrance is metal; I remember it being wood. The smell of barbecue is ever so slightly set off by the new building smell and scent of fresh timber.

It’s so seamless that regulars hardly know. That’s probably the best compliment for the joint.

When I went last week, I went with a buddy, a longtime devotee who now lives about an hour away. 

I asked him about his impressions. He looked at me in disbelief. He didn’t even know they were closed. He didn’t know about the fire.

That’s the best compliment of all. It still feels like home.

Find Country Heritage products downtown

County Heritage Winery has teamed up with De­Brand Find Chocolate to offer their products in downtown Fort Wayne in the Ash Skyline Plaza on South Harrison Street.

Both companies say it’s a powerful mix of chocolate and wine from two uniquely local artisans.

Sweets on Main celebrates with free treats

It’s been three years since Sweets on Main opened at 123 West Main St. Now they’re celebrating the anniversary with free peppermint ice cream treats through Monday, Nov. 28. 

Work wrapping up at Conner’s

Work on Conner’s Bar & Grill inside the Courtyard by Marriott, 1150 S. Harrison St., is expected to wrap up this week. The rooftop bar remains open.

Off the Eaten Path is the Whatzup weekly column that covers Northeast Indiana’s restaurant and food news. Send your news items to info@whatzup.com.

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