What do you define as your go-to comfort food? Fried chicken and grits, biscuits and gravy, or just some good old mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese? The list could go on whether we’re talking sweet or savory. But if you’re not up for making some of these staple foods in the comfort of your own home, check out our recommendations for Indiana’s top places to find comfort food:
Pork Tenderloin – If you’re on a mission for a thick breaded tenderloin as big as your head, but maybe want to stay in your comfy PJ’s…opt to drive-in to Greenfield or Irvington’s The Mug, or simply order carry-out. Their farm-to-curb concept sources local, high-quality, antibiotic-free beef, pork and chicken from Tyner Pond Farm…straight to your car, vintage-style. Ask for the sandwich “mug-style,” plus add in an old-fashioned Sprecher root beer and try the maple-bacon flavored hand-dipped ice cream.
Southern Food – In-house smoked meatloaf, collard greens, country fried steak, corn bread – soul food at its finest at His Place Eatery on Indianapolis’ eastside. They even have red velvet chicken and waffles, and sweet potato cheesecake – who knew there was such a thing?
For more of a New Orleans-style creole, grab a quick bite or carry out from one of Yats 10 Indianapolis area locations (also in Columbus, Valparaiso and South Bend). For under $10, try two diverse sauces and stews like jambalaya or gumbo, atop rice. If you like seafood, don’t leave without trying their signature dish – the chili cheese etoufee with crawfish. Their options cater to dairy-free, gluten-free and vegans – check online for daily menu choices for each location.
Family-style – If you love skillet fried chicken, steak or seafood, bring the family to Iron Skillet for a 3-course homestyle meal complete with refillable bowls of potatoes and vegetables, plus made-from-scratch biscuits. Some might love the pickled beets and ending their meal with the not-so-common mince pie. Bring the whole family for a special occasion or holiday, but don’t forget to make a reservation first!
Vietnamese Pho (pronounced “fuh”) – When you’re craving a heaping bowl of soup (especially to warm you up in the wintertime!), cruise down Main Street in Westfield and stop in Super Bowl Pho. The space might be small, but the bowls are mighty. Opt for sliced beef, oxtail, brisket, chicken, shrimp or tofu. For a little over $6, you can get pho and a side for lunch! There’s a reason it’s the No. 1 Foodie Destination in Westfield, according to TripAdvisor.
Poutines – If you’re unfamiliar with Big Lug Canteen, head to Nora on Indianapolis’ northside (right off the Monon Trail) to try one of their poutines – translation, hand-cut French fries with a plethora of goodies on top. You’ll find a poutine in their weekly themed specials – cheese curds, gravy – oh my! Vegetarians, there is a poutine rendition for you as well! Pair it with a beer and try the Nashville chicken next.
Ice Cream – Operating since 1965, Ivanhoes in Upland offers up 100 shakes and 100 types of sundaes – all available in super-size! Dare you try all 100 varieties and become a “100 Club” member.
Authentic Amish-style – In the heart of Amish country, you’ll find Das Dutchman Essenhaus in Middlebury – generations-old family recipes serving buffet, family-style, menu-dining or to-go meals in bulk. A sliver of options include: chicken pot pie, country smoked sausage, bread dressing, noodles, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, apple dumplings and more. Holiday buffets are only $15 and you can’t leave without taking home one of their homemade pies – 30 options to choose from!
Country-style Suppers – Down on the farm, Joe Huber’s Family Farm & Restaurant in Starlight offers up made-from-scratch dressings, soups, pies and cobblers using homegrown produce in season. Menu items include chicken and dumplings, country-fried chicken, honey ham, chicken livers, farm-raised catfish and of course fried biscuits with apple butter. Added bonuses are the Huber wine they serve, live music on the weekends, family area where kids can feed ducks and fish, and the fact that they’re also open on major holidays.
What would you add to the list as your favorite spot to enjoy Indiana comfort food?