Indiana is considered "The Crossroads of America" because of all the highways that run through it. It’s next door to a number of great states, but has some amazing attractions of its own. The farmland is beautiful and makes for some incredible restaurants. While Indianapolis is an awesome city, check out Valparaiso the next time you’re in the Chicago area. The food scene will surprise you.
Valley Kitchen and Bar
Valley Kitchen and Bar comes from a husband-and-wife team with a love for farming. I had a great time in their kitchen making their take on a chicken potpie. When you come here be open to their seasonal menu and enjoy trying different comfort dishes. Don’t forget to have a drink or two like the John Deere Margarita!
Abby Leetz took her catering business to another level and landed a great spot right downtown. She can bake anything and everything for her guests. I got a crash course in her croissant bread pudding and peach-raspberry crisp, and it was absolutely amazing. I can promise you’ll find something here for your sweet tooth.
The Mark Dine & Tap
The Mark Dine & Tap is right next to the fun and busy University of Notre Dame. They have a huge selection of cocktails based on top-notch liquors. Order dishes from their exciting tasting menu, like veal sweetbreads, cider-glazed ribs and chipotle-seared scallops, to share with family and friends.
Evil Czech Brewery
George Pesek is a prominent food figure in Mishawaka. Evil Czech Brewery combines a great menu made up of high-quality ingredients with the best local craft beer, including brews of their own. Fan favorites include the smoked wings, rotisserie chicken mac and cheese, and bison shepherd’s pie.
Tomato Bar is a hot new pizza bar in Valparaiso, founded by the owners of Valley Kitchen and Bar. Their tasty menu is locally sourced for a hip crowd. You can start off your meal with Dough Nuts — their baked house dough with cheese and marinara. If pizza isn’t your thing, they have a huge selection of hoagies and calzones stuffed with different meats, veggies and cheeses.
Corndance Tavern in Mishawaka really wowed me because of just how many components they can pack into a dish. Bison short rib, fried green tomatoes, cheddar grits, fried onions, and kale explode with flavor. Other dishes, like the ham hock cupcake and Sword of John Adams, will amaze you when they come to your table. If you like to dine on good-looking food, this is a great spot on your Midwest road trip.