The southwest Indiana food trail from Jeffersonville to New Harmony combines Southern comfort, German heritage and locally grown produce from fertile farms.
From fried biscuits at Joe Huber Family Farm and Restaurant in Borden to spatzle at the Gerst Haus in Evansville, the region’s beloved foods reflect Southern influences from Kentucky, German and Swiss roots and the rural heritage of farms and orchards. You can pick your own fruit at Bryant’s Blueberries in New Salisbury, visit goats at Cabriole Farmstead Goat Cheese in Greenville, try local wines at Huber’s Orchard, Winery and Vineyards and enjoy artisan beer at the New Albanian Brewing company. You’ll also find treats that have been favored for more than a century, such as buttery sweet caramels and spicy Red Hots at Jeffersonville’s Schimpff’s Confectionery or the astonishing crunch of Tell City Pretzels.
It’s all a tasty excuse to launch a 340-mile road trip. The route begins near the Falls of the Ohio State Park then heads northwest to the resort towns of West Baden and French Lick. Here you’ll find elegant dining at 1875 Steakhouse and sports fans enjoying casual fare at 33 Brick Street.
Continue west and south to Jasper and its renowned Schnitzelbank German restaurant. Stop in New Harmony to enjoy farm-to-table dining at the charming Red Geranium. Then slow your pace heading east along the Ohio River.
Eat your way through historic Ohio River towns, from Evansville where Madeliene’s Fusion builds its menu around fresh seafood, over to Café Arazu in Newburgh with a menu as worldly as its setting. Continue on to Tell City to find New Orleans and Indiana flavors at Capers Restaurant and finish in Corydon, Indiana’s first capital and home to The Green Door, featuring guest chefs and creative cuisine. Along the way, take time to enjoy the spectacular bluffs, winding valleys, thick forests and the big river linking them.
Celebrate Jasper’s German heritage with culinary classics like Wiener schnitzel and apple strudel.
The Schnitzelbank Restaurant is a never-ending festival of German heritage: servers in dirndls and lederhosen, a “wunder-bar” of salads, walls of cuckoo clocks and nutcrackers, and a glockenspiel clock tower. The Hanselman family drew on its German roots to develop the restaurant, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011 and is a beloved landmark in the community. The traditional menu offers favorites such as goulash, Wiener schnitzel, sauerkraut, knackwurst and apple strudel. Stop by in August for Strassenfest, held in partnership with Pfaffenweiler, Jasper’s sister city in Germany. During this four-day festival of German heritage, nearly 1,300 pounds of bratwurst are consumed, Catholic churches offer polka Masses, and the Schnitzelbank—not surprisingly—serves an elaborate buffet of German specialties.
French Lick Resort’s premier restaurant, 1875 Steakhouse serves gut-busting portions of steak house food and excellent wine.
Even hearty appetites will be satisfied at the high-end 1875 Steakhouse, which impresses with bright decor, white tablecloths, oversize comfy chairs and a top-notch wine list. Starters include a tasty lobster mac-‘n’-cheese with a tangy Gorgonzola-cheddar sauce. Entrees are flavorful and large enough to split. Rosemary-crusted rack of lamb came with eight large chops. An 8-ounce filet mignon was nicely seasoned. The truffled Kobe steak burger was savory and larger than a spread hand. Don’t miss: the decadent Kentucky Bourbon Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie.
33 Brick Street
Grab a sandwich and super-crunchy chips while catching a game in this sports bar filled with memorabilia from legendary athletes—especially hometown hero Larry Bird.
Conversation starters are everywhere in this downtown French Lick sports bar dedicated mostly to Larry Bird, the “Hick from French Lick.” Bird played with the winning Boston Celtics from 1979 to 1992, the year he helped win Olympic gold for the United States in basketball.
Bird’s awards fill a double-decker case separating the bar and restaurant, which features The Bird, a popular grilled-chicken sandwich with bacon and cheese. Known for its burgers, homemade soups and kettle-style potato chips served with its sandwiches. Try the chips slathered with Philly-style beef, peppers and onions in a creamy sauce. Other collectibles include a signed Joe Montana jersey and a guitar autographed by country music greats.
Joe Huber Family Farm and Restaurant
Come for the home-style comfort foods, including fried biscuits, honey ham, fresh veggies, cobblers and pies.
Joe Huber Family Farm and Restaurant makes a perfect family outing with kids' activities, a year-round farm market and soda fountain. Founded in 1843, this farm blossomed in the late 1960s when it began offering the still-popular pick-your-own green beans. But the restaurant is the real star. Though massive in size, it feels homey with its comfort foods, made-from-scratch with the farm's fresh produce. Begin with crisp fried green tomatoes, then try a country-style supper: fried biscuits and apple butter, your choice of meat and two sides. Country-fried chicken, Huber honey ham, chicken and dumplings, and grilled pork chops are favorites when eaten with mashed potatoes and gravy, lima beans and seasoned green beans. Yummy desserts include coconut cream and peanut butter pies and fresh fruit cobblers. Sample mini versions for just $1.99.
Huber’s Orchard, Winery and Vineyards
Indiana’s largest estate-bottled winery, Huber’s offers wine tours and tastings, a year-round farm market, you-pick options and more.
Huber's Orchard, Winery and Vineyards is a true family destination, with everything from a children's fun park to the first brandy distillery in Indiana since Prohibition. Spend a day browsing the farm market, picking peaches, lunching in the cafe, and exploring the cheese and ice cream shops. The highlight, however, is the winery, which is Indiana’s largest estate-bottled winery. Complimentary tours are given daily, providing an inside look at the wine cellar and bottling equipment. A tasting bar in the soaring barn loft offers samples, including Traminette, made with Indiana's signature grape, and the best-selling Starlight White and Sweet Marcella. The new Starlight Distillery's Peach Nectar is included in the tasting, but its other infusions, ports and brandies cost extra.
Watch fourth-generation owner Warren Schimpff make famous Red Hots by hand, then visit the candy museum and soda fountain.
In business since 1891, Schimpff's Confectionery is a southern Indiana landmark offering vintage candies and local specialties. You might catch sight of owner Warren Schimpff in the demonstration kitchen where candymakers use antique equipment and happily answer questions about the process—handing out yummy samples, too. Explore the small candy museum’s vintage packaging and promotional materials, or order a treat at the 1950s soda fountain. At the candy counter, try the famous Cinnamon Red Hots or harder-to-find goodies such as anise and horehound drops. A specialty, fish-shaped hard candies celebrate the area's Ohio River ties. Modjeska, a caramel-covered marshmallow, is another favorite. Fortunately, the shop’s most popular candies can be purchased online.
New Albanian Brewing Company
The New Albanian Brewing Company puts an elegant twist on gourmet sandwiches best enjoyed with a beer brewed on-site.
Shiny vats of beer signal this is a working brewery. But they take food—and local producers—seriously, too. Beer names—Bat out of Helles, Bonfire of the Valkyries (a black lager), Hoosier Daddy and Hoptimus India Pale Ale—hint at the creativity found on the menu. Dine on intriguing twists on American fare, such as house-cut fries with lavender oil, bacon and horseradish sauce. Signature sandwiches include porter-braised beef short ribs on crusty bread with pickled red onions and honey mustard or croque madame with applewood-smoked ham, prosciutto, white cheddar, Mornay sauce and a sunny-side egg on locally baked bread.
Glass garage doors in both the main restaurant and enclosed patio open to let in warm weather.
The Green Door
A one-meal menu changes daily at this increasingly popular, creative restaurant where guest chefs are welcome, local ingredients are emphasized and diners choose what to pay.
Go to this corner restaurant in Corydon with an open mind and appetite; then, pay what you think it's worth. Dinner menus showcase talented executive chef Jesse Badger, as well as guest chefs who volunteer their time. The meal could be Irish, South American or a hodge-podge with local greens and bacon vinaigrette, grass-fed T-bones, biscuits and homemade apple butter, gourmet mac-‘n’-cheese and panna cotta sandwiched between cookies. Sunday brunch is an adventurous seven- to 11-course small-plate feast.
The only predictable thing at Green Door is creative enthusiasm and a love of good, local food. Reservations at the 36-seat restaurant aren't required, but are a good idea as word gets out about this unique spot.
Grab a basket and visit this tranquil you-pick farm growing eight varieties of blueberries on 10 tucked-away acres.
Bryant's Blueberries is all about blueberries, eight varieties in all. Founded in 1977, Bryant's Blueberries uses integrated pest management to reduce reliance on chemicals, keeping blueberries as pure and natural as possible. Owners Dale and Diane Bryant claim once you try their berries, you'll never settle for anything else. The season runs early June to late July, but picking may be restricted when supplies run low. Call ahead or check the website for information on picking days and varieties. Come prepared with baskets or buckets, preferably with handles, and be sure to have your empty containers weighed before heading out to the field.
Tell City Pretzels
In business since 1858, Tell City Pretzels offers a friendly, hands-on factory tour and crunchy, hand-twisted pretzels.
Tell City Pretzels, headquartered in a non-descript building on a quiet residential street, is an Indiana legend, founded in 1858 and still producing crunchy, hand-twisted pretzels from a carefully guarded secret recipe. A display window lets you watch workers twist and salt pretzels by hand while owner Brad Smith offers tastings of the company's pretzels, including bestseller Honey Mustard. Free tours are available, too—maybe even with a quick lesson in pretzel twisting. If you like the hands-on aspects of the tour, call ahead for the production schedule, which changes with the seasons and weather. Before leaving, be sure to grab a few bags of pretzels for the road because you'll be craving that delicious salty crunch later.
Find New Orleans specialties and down-home Hoosier favorites in the shadow of an Alaskan moose head and a giant steamboat wheel.
Built in 1894, Capers Restaurant has high tin ceilings, exposed brick walls, and an eclectic decor sporting movie posters, moose heads and a giant steamboat steering wheel. The menu is equally diverse. Owners Christopher and Dorothy Watts have Gulf Coast roots so New Orleans specialties like po'boys, red beans and rice and muffaletta sandwiches sit alongside Hoosier faves. Start your meal with the best-selling potato soup, a creamy concoction topped with green onions, shredded cheddar and bacon. For home-style Hoosier cooking, your best bet is the fried chicken, expertly prepared with a secret herb-spice blend. Other popular choices include steaks, pasta, burgers and pizza. With affordable prices, Capers is the town’s best choice for a casual, straightforward meal.
Exotically spiced meats, skewered lamb, savory appetizers, and steaming pots of tea and espresso keep this Middle Eastern restaurant bustling.
Silky textiles, gleaming bronze and copper kettles, and world music set the mood at this cafe known for Middle Eastern specialties. Among the most popular items is shwarma: chicken seasoned with lemon and cumin then layered into tender flatbread with a light yogurt sauce, pickle, lettuce and tomato. Other temptations include chicken tangine simmered in apricot sauce with rice or couscous and kubideh, skewers of flame-broiled minced beef and lamb. For lighter appetites, try thick Moroccan red lentil soup, Persian eggplant dip with pita, and a daily rice with gourmet grains and berries. Baklava, a pineapple pecan carrot cake (a Newburgh tradition) and eight-layered Lithuanian torte headline the desserts. With all the activity, it’s no surprise there is an expansion planned for this year.
Enjoy goulash, schnitzel and other German fare with cold beer in a century-old storefront sporting the battered, well-loved floor of a former hardware store.
Grab a booth in this high-ceilinged restaurant and enjoy the atmospheric mix of southern Indiana’s German roots and hardware store memorabilia. German flag bunting, Hofbrau signs hang alongside Feed, Paint and Tools labels in the colorful storefront. The bar serves more than 100 brews from around the world, including 24 on tap and its own Gerst Beer, brewed since the original Gerst House opened in 1891 in Kentucky.
While the restaurant feels somewhat German—with its decor and menu—it's also very American Main Street with casual tablecloths and comfort foods. Dishes include goulash with tender chunks of beef and mushrooms served on a bed of spatzle dumplings, a sausage sampler and schnitzel.
Tucked into a historic residential neighborhood, this artsy restaurant specializes in seafood shipped overnight from Hawaii and unique twists on gourmet dinners.
The menu at this renovated corner restaurant changes often because it’s determined in large part by seafood shipments from Hawaii and fresh ingredients. Meals often start with signature martinis such as sweet-tart lemon drop or aromatic elderflower.
Seafood stars. Appetizers include octopus or seared scallops with cumin and carrot oils. Entrees feature lobster tail with saffron risotto, sea bass or skate wing with udon noodles. But, this being the Midwest, chef Timothy Mills of course serves meats. Offerings vary. During our visit, these included Illinois duck breast with roasted beet hash and a hormone-free dry-aged Duroc pork chop in trotter sauce with skin-on mashed potatoes and asparagus. Leave room for dessert: lush cakes, a daily crème brulee and homemade ice cream.
Good taste is always in season at this classic eatery located within the New Harmony Inn and Conference Center.
Slipped into a charming green Gothic home, you’ll find red geraniums on the windowsills and red-checked tablecloths on the tables. Dining here is more than a way to satisfy hunger: The sense of calm pervading the town flavors your experience. The restaurant is famous for drawing on local resources like organic produce and Indiana goat cheese to create seasonal American cuisine. Dinner highlights include crab cakes, a chef’s specialty, and pecan-breaded chicken with sautéed apples and caramel sauce. A wine bar offers a dozen or more wines by the glass. Eat outdoors to be surrounded by twinkling lights in a peaceful garden.