SOUTHERN INDIANA’S CULINARY SCENE IS ATTRACTING ATTENTION FROM ALL OVER THE REGION – AND BEYOND. HERE’S WHY WE SHOULD BE CELEBRATING.
BY ANGIE FENTON
PHOTOS BY CHRISTIAN WATSON TAKEN AT MESA, A COLLABORATIVE KITCHEN, 216 PEARL ST. IN NEW ALBANY
Months ago, a “foodie” friend asked me for dining recommendations when she was in the area for a business trip. I text her plenty of options, only to get this reply: “I trust you, but…” followed by a few emojis along with several unfavorable GIFs.
“Trust me,” I told her, biting my tongue before adding that I would pay if she had a terrible experience. And then I waited.
After my friend’s visit, she took the time to call me – we’d seen one another in person during her visit, so this was extra – to just say, “Thank you. Wow. Southern Indiana is the next.”
The next? What does that mean? I asked.
“The next BIG thing happening,” my friend replied with a heart emoji.
Call our Southern Indiana culinary scene whatever you want – including “the next” with emoticons – but what we are is here to stay, amazing, ready to redefine and share with others. We are a community filled with talented people executing amazing accomplishments in the culinary arts, in small kitchens and high-priced ones, too, from comfort to cutting-edge food.
For example, MESA, A Collaborative Kitchen in downtown New Albany gives people the opportunity to engage with chefs and experts. This phenom in the foodie world continues to grow rave reviews while booking chefs from around the region. (Go to MesaChefs.com for more information.)
Want evidence? Look to publications and online resources like Southern Indiana Eats ‘n Treats (southernindianaeatsntreats.com), Food & Dining Magazine (foodanddine.com), Southern Indiana’s Clark-Floyd Counties Tourism Bureau (gosoin.com), and, of course, Extol (extolmag.com). Collectively, you’ll find everything culinary related from exciting and ingenious to mainstays and down-home establishments.
Whatever your taste is, celebrate Southern Indiana and what our talent brings to the table. We’re hot stuff. So, eat up – and invite others to join in.
EXECUTIVE CHEF BROOKLYN AND THE BUTCHER
What’s to Love: Everything. Yes, this place is pricey, but if you have the money to spend, do it. There is not a steak around that can rival one of those at Brooklyn and the Butcher.
Dish to Die (or try) For: Any steak on the menu, though the Brooklyn Wedge, Scallops and Braised Short Ribs are also knock-outs.
FYI: Speaking of knock-outs, the atmosphere is a hit for birthdays and special events. It’s also a really cool place to grab a special drink just because.
BROOKLYN AND THE BUTCHER
148 E. Market St.
What’s to Love: The view. The food. The walls. The staff. The view.
Dish to Die (or try) For: Char-Grilled Oysters are phenomenal, but so is the Roasted Cauliflower. Order both and cocktails. Then, decide if you want an entrée.
FYI: Portage House has so many beautiful views, it deserves to be rated “Best Date Place,” “Best Anniversary Spot” and “Best Southern Indiana Space of Solitude.”
117 E. Riverside Drive
OWNER/OPERATOR ORANGE CLOVER
What’s to Love: Owner Rachel Smallwood may have the biggest heart in Southern Indiana while also possessing one of the most amazing work ethics. Once you meet her, you’ll never forget her, her food or her spirit. Goodness, we are lucky to call her one of Southern Indiana’s gems.
Dish to Die (or try) For: Nope. Not even going to pretend to call a favorite here. Instead, try everything on the menu – including the daily specials – and you let us know. We give up. They’re all amazing.
FYI: The lines are long at lunchtime. Forgive us, but duh. Be patient. Orange Clover is worth the wait.
590 Missouri Ave. Ste. 100
GENERAL MANAGER PARLOUR
What’s to Love: The deck, obviously, but so is the gorgeous inside. But the deck. Did we say the outdoor area as in the deck?
Dish to Die (or try) For: Pizza, but you knew that already. Whatever your pleasure, Parlour delivers (when you order in-house, we mean). Take a walk across the Big Four Bridge – or don’t – but whatever you do, order a pie and you’ll want to reach for the sky (for napkins, clearly).
FYI: The pizza is the highlight, but the salads rival any we’ve found in town. (You’re welcome.)
131 W. Chestnut St.
EXECUTIVE CHEF THE EXCHANGE PUB + KITCHEN
What’s to Love: This is THE place that made downtown New Albany a foodie destination, and it continues to impress. Changing menus, great atmosphere and the owners’ support of what else is happening in New Albany continue to make The Exchange a must-try spot.
Dish to Die (or try) For: Hands down, at least in this weather, the ramen. This is an “I am not sharing with anyone” dish, and once those with you try it, they’ll understand why you were so stingy and want a bowl of their own.
FYI: In warmer months, The Exchange welcome’s animals on its beautiful patio. And, the owners are majorly involved in giving back to the community. Love them for that with your business.
THE EXCHANGE PUB + KITCHEN
118 W. Main St.