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My Favorite Main Streets: New Carlisle

Midwest Living

Small towns seem the best place to experience Main Street because they are the heart for tiny population centers. In New Carlisle (population: 1,800), the classic main street is Michigan Street. There, you’ll find three ethnic restaurants: Kate O’Conner’s Irish Pub, Bruno’s Italian Restaurant and Moser’s Austrian Cafe.

Emma's Cafe in Topeka

Michigan Street in New Carlisle

At Moser’s, we receive a warm willkommen from none other than proprietor Werner Moser, who helps us with the menu. We’re relieved to find that it’s way easier to enjoy the dishes than to pronounce them—Wiener schnitzels, schlemmerpfandls included! I love the Austrian goulash: tender beef and pork tips cooked with onion, garlic and paprika, and served with spaetzle (a tiny dumpling) and red cabbage. My friend orders one of the 10 schnitzels: the alt Wiener schnitzel layered with spinach and Swiss cheese and topped with mushroom sauce. Both dishes are comfort food extraordinaire, especially when paired with the house Stiegl pilsner. Werner tells us the beer comes from Austria and is also known as Columbus beer because it was created in 1492.

Werner is a fantastic (and charming) host. Not only has he seated us and served us, but we also learn that he is the chef. He learned the hospitality business in his homeland of Austria where his family owns a B&B. “I have help in the evenings,” he says with a smile.

The wooden soda fountain

Dish at Moser’s Austrian Cafe

Charms continue as we shop The Village Shoppes, three adorable stores owned by Bill Sutton. They’re filled with gifts, collectibles, home furnishings and accessories that change with the season. A light fixture wins me over—you accessorize it with wine bottles (empty them first!) We spend more than an hour admiring his collections. Staff tells us that people bus in from Chicago and beyond to explore New Carlisle’s main street. We can see why and look forward to returning—for an Italian or Irish experience next time?

Kim Ranegar is a freelance writer from Valparaiso who has mastered the art of pairing shopping with dining.