Restaurant Notes extra: Fort Wayne’s Oyster Bar spiffed up and nearly ready for sale

The Oyster Bar got a new exterior with the help of a city of Fort Wayne facade grant. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of
Steve and Brenda Gard have completed the renovation of Their Oyster Bar, which they plan to sell in the coming months. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of
Brenda Gard picked out the deep blue ocean color for the walls for the remodeling of the Oyster Bar. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of
A nautiical map takes up a large section of a wall at the Oyster Bar. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of
A wine case holds dozens of bottles of wine at the Oyster Bar. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of
A new swordfish swims on the wall in the rear dining room of the Oyster Bar. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of

The Oyster Bar is ready for a new owner.

After 31 years of ownership and a newly completed $30,000-$40,000 remodeling project, owners Steve and Brenda Gard are planning to sell the restaurant at 1830 S. Calhoun St.

Gard was elusive when we talked to him in October about the renovations. However, Thursday he said they have three interested buyers. After the Gards meet with the accountant in late February, and if an offer matches what they want to sell it for, the restaurant could be in new hands in March.

All the world may be Steve Gard’s oyster after that, but he’s not sure what he’ll do.

“I don’t have a clue, ” he said.

But the new owner will have very little to do in terms of changes to the restaurant that’s been in business since 1888. A facade grant from the city of Fort Wayne in 2013 helped pay for the new exterior, and Gard replaced the roof around then. The business just completed the renovations that included a new dish tank, stove, refrigerator, and ice maker.

“A person coming in here won’t have that much to do,” Gard said.

Brenda picked out the deep blue ocean color for the walls inside, which had black, yellow and blue colors in the decor before. The autographed photos of celebrities near the front door, from Mayor Tom Henry and singer Petula Clark to former Indiana University basketball coach Bob Knight and actor David Prowse, aka Darth Vader, have been reframed. A large portion of one wall is taken up by a nautical map. Nearby a lighted wine case holds dozens of bottles. The order was canceled for the mermaid that was to go over the bar, but a new sailfish graces the back dining area’s wall with new lights and a ship’s wheel that they’ve had that just never got hung. A few spots await the hanging of pictures.

The Oyster Bar has 25 employees, 10 of whom have been with the business for at least 16 years, Gard said. Jack Reading shucks the oysters as he has for the last 50 years at the business.

“They understand what we do and why we do it,” Gard said of his longtime employees.

Oyster Bar is open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday, and 5-11 p.m. Saturday.

Have restaurant news? Call Lisa M. Esquivel Long at 461-8354 or send email to or write Restaurant Notes, C/O The News-Sentinel, PO Box 102, Fort Wayne, IN 46802.