Posted on January 1, 2022 by Dina Miller
The delicious bounty of a region ripe with farms and blessed with ideal growing conditions shows up everywhere in Northern Indiana. You’ll find it in farm-to-table restaurants where chefs take pride in using locally sourced ingredients. Visitors to orchards, u-pick farms, farmers markets, and unique businesses find oh-so-fresh food to take home for feasts on their own tables. Below are some great farm-to-table restaurants in Indiana’s Cool North, along with places to buy fresh fare.
Where: 505 S. Main St., Elkhart
This stylish restaurant in downtown Elkhart features elegant Midwestern cuisine, created with ingredients sourced from local and regional farms. You’ll find a wide range of tempting dishes on the menu, including specialties such as squash soup, smoked pork belly with pickled blueberries, and four-spice pork chops.
The farm-to-table aspect is important to owner Kurt Janowsky, who says, “It’s pretty simple – we use Indiana chicken, pork and bison. The beef for our burgers, brisket and short ribs is from Indiana and Illinois, and the perch and trout are from Michigan, Ohio or Wisconsin. We also have smoked duck nachos with duck from Indiana, and Indiana pork back ribs braised in Indiana-made Triple XXX Root Beer.”
Where: 195 N. Van Buren St., Shipshewana
Serving traditional Amish and Mennonite fare, Blue Gate’s menu features fresh, quality dishes, with most ingredients grown in the area by local farmers. After all, you are in the heart of Northern Indiana’s Amish region, and Amish farms are a go-to source
On the menu, standards such as fried chicken, meatloaf, and beef and noodles are favorites, along with more than 25 kinds of pie. The Blue Gate also serves bountiful breakfasts on Saturday, including eggs, bacon and sausage from local sources.
“From the tomatoes in your salad to the peaches in your pie, you’ll find produce grown literally down on the farm,” the Blue Gate says. “Most of our delicious meats are from the area as well.”
Where: 104 S. Main St., Middlebury
At this casual restaurant and bar, you’ll find fresh takes on classic comfort foods, made with as many locally sourced ingredients as possible. 41 Degrees North – named for the latitude of Middlebury – features made-from-scratch dishes, daily specials, and 14 beers on draft, many from Midwest breweries.
On the menu, you’ll find dishes such as pesto chicken, featuring all-natural chicken, as well as fish tacos and tilapia with wine cream sauce, both with tilapia that is raised on a nearby farm. Burger and steaks come from all-natural beef cuts that are fresh and contain no artificial additives.
Where: 105 S. Calumet Road, Chesterton
With a menu that changes seasonally, Octave offers creative fare in a kitschy setting. Currently, the restaurant features cheese, wine, honey, and an ever-changing variety of fruits and vegetables from local growers and markets, including the Chesterton European Market.
Octave is known for its grass-fed beef which goes into specialty burgers, many topped with locally-sourced cheeses, such as Havarti from Fair Oaks Farms. You’ll find plenty of other options, including pulled pork and goat cheese fondue on the menu. They also serve beer from local breweries, and fresh desserts made in-house.
Where: 761 Indian Boundary Road, Chesterton
Just as their slogan promises, you really will “Eat Well, Feel Great” when you dine at this restaurant where delicious food is ever-so-healthy.
Order breakfast all day, enjoying food frequently made with organic products. Customers rave about the fabulous omelets, all made with cage-free Indiana eggs. “We buy organics whenever possible and use local bison, fruit, honey and whatever else we can get our hands on,” Third Coast promises.
Lunchtime unfolds with another tantalizing list – griddle sandwiches, buffalo burgers, award-winning chili, and creative salads, such as The Cardinal Rule, which features roasted red beets and herbed goat cheese.
Where: 4725 Grape Road, Mishawaka
The owners of Corndance Tavern obtain ingredients from local ranches, orchards, and fields whenever possible to create imaginative dishes. Using locally sourced food is also a way Corndance celebrates the native Potawatomi community and their tradition of respectfully cultivating the land for their food.
Now owner George Pesek has opened the adjacent Bourbon & Butcher, a combination meat market and lunch spot. Local beef and bison show up in several dishes on Corndance’s varied menu, including bison meatloaf with bourbon demi-glace. Lunch at Bourbon & Butcher features specialties such as Asian bison bites.
“We try to source everything within 100 miles of our restaurant,” says co-owner Tammy Pesek. “We visit an Amish-run produce auction weekly, and we have our own bison ranch in Argos.”
Where: 1032 E. University Drive, Granger
Rocky River Tap & Table takes pride in what they call their “farm-to-fork experience,” and diners rave about the inventive dishes created with sustainably farmed products from nearby growers. The menu, written daily on a giant chalkboard, features dishes that reflect what’s local and what’s in season. Savor the best of the Midwest with Rocky River’s Duck Nachos made with Indiana duck; chicken pot pie, featuring Amish-raised chicken; or Barbecued Ribs braised with Indiana-made Triple XXX Root Beer.
Combine anything from small plates and unique bar snacks to delicious entrees and sandwiches with a selection of more than 30 beers brewed in Indiana and Michigan. The casual restaurant also features a selection of local wines.
You won’t want to miss these longtime favorites where you’ll find locally produced fare to take home.
Where: 5911 W 50 S, LaPorte
The Garwood family has been in business here since 1831, and a visit is an adventure whatever the season, offering U-pick and already picked fruits and vegetables grown on their 350 acres. In the fall, you can take a wagon ride to pick apples and pumpkins, plus sip cider made on the premises. Pair it with their famous donuts and other treats from the Garwood Bake Shoppe They also sell Palazzolo’s Gelato and Sorbetto, made in southern Michigan.
Where: 435 S. Van Buren St., Shipshewana
The amazing store with some 150 cuts of meat and more than 100 varieties of cheese promises that this “is where the farm comes to you.” And it does! Their quality foods come from their own farms and other area farmers. The store also offers a full line of in-house smoked meats, a deli, locally made jams, jellies, candy, popcorn and more.
“We strongly identify with the farm-to-table movement, as this has been our heritage,” the Yoders say. “We are always seeking to bring about a closer connection between our customers and the food that they feed their families.”
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Hungry yet? For more dining options in Indiana’s Cool North, click here.