On Indiana vacations, you will be able to find all kinds of restaurants in
Indiana and enjoy just about any kind of dining in Indiana. As with any state
in America, Indiana restaurants represent virtually every ethnic cuisine, from
Chinese and Indian to Italian and French. You can find inexpensive family restaurants
in Indiana as well as pricey gourmet bistros. There are hamburger and pizza
joints, pancake houses, well-known national franchises, or restaurants located
in riverboat casinos.
If you're looking for things
to do that are associated with food in Indiana you may want to consider
the Indiana Wine Trail. With the assistance of car
rentals, you can take a leisurely drive through southeastern Indiana, visiting
six of the state's artisan wineries. A little known fact about the state is
that Southeast Indiana (particularly Switzerland County) is considered the birthplace
of the American wine industry. This is where 2,500 French-speaking Swiss arrived
and settled in Vevay near Cincinnati
on the Ohio border. They established
the first American winery and harvested their first grapes in 1806. Along the
route of the Indiana Winery Trail are several small, but excellent restaurants.
You'll find the most variety of Indiana restaurants in the largest cities.
Just north of downtown Indianapolis
is Broad Ripple Village,
a district of six cultural neighborhoods full of quaint shops, boutiques, cafés,
nightclubs, and restaurants. Here is The Slippery Noodle, the oldest bar in
the city, housed in a historic brick building and which today is a great restaurant
as well as one of the best Blues bars in the country. More historic dining in
Indiana can be found at the respected St. Elmo's steak house, operating in the
same location since 1902. The state is located in the Midwestern "Beef Belt,"
so Indiana restaurants specializing in steaks and barbecues also play an important
part of the dining in Indiana experience.
There are also little hidden gems throughout the state, including off the beaten path in small towns and in the countryside. Considered the oldest of all restaurants in Indiana is in the tiny village of Warrenton, just north of Evansville. This is the Log Inn, opened in 1825 as a roadhouse on the stagecoach route. Abraham Lincoln stopped here in 1844 on his way to becoming president of the United States.
Many states have adopted an official state food, and others are known for signature dishes. There is no "official" food in Indiana but the state is known for certain products. Although there is a great deal of industrialization in Indiana, the state is still an agriculturally important region. A great deal of corn is grown here (some to feed the beef cattle), along with other garden crops. So, when you are dining in Indiana it pays to look for local produce. There are plenty of recipes for corn, and a favorite food in Indiana is corn bread. Orville Redenbacher (of nationwide popcorn fame) is from Valparaiso and he was originally an Indiana corn farmer. Many restaurants in Indiana will proudly serve one of his corn bread recipes.
Food in Indiana is celebrated at many events and festivals in the state. These especially are centered around the produce grown in the state, as well as beef. The Clabber Girl Brickyard Barbecue Fest is held in Terre Haute during July, and the Barbeque Rib Fest in Fort Wayne encompasses four days of great food and concerts. There are strawberry and blueberry festivals, and the state fair and numerous county fairs showcase the many farmers markets and terrific Indiana produce.