Drift Coastal Italian & French Lick Winery are the perfect pairing
STORY BY MANDY DETWILER | COURTESY PHOTOS
Talk about a perfect pairing: After Drift Coastal Italian opened at the French Lick Winery this past summer, both have garnered rave reviews. The family-owned winery is a favorite in the region, and the eatery brings a taste of coastal Italy to Southern Indiana, which has created a memorable match between the two.
Owned by business partners Jarrid Davis, Rishi Jadooram, and Nakia McPherson, the restaurant opened in July 2021 after the previous restaurant, Vintage Café, closed amidst the pandemic. Davis and his partners also own The Bagel Bistro and Stout’s Pub in West Baden.
Davis says he wanted to preserve jobs at the winery after learning the Vintage Café would be closing. In a small town, he says, the employees at the Vintage Café were both customers at the bagel shop and friends.
“The second motivation was to save the venue for the community because it was a popular place,” Davis says.
They wanted to offer an affordable, upscale dining experience that sits squarely in between casual and fine dining, a sector missing in West Baden. “We try to be very clear that we’re upscale casual, not fine dining,” Davis says. “We wanted to have an upscale product for the community that they don’t necessarily have ready access to without being very costly.”
The Vintage Café had really been the only Italian eatery in town, but Davis and his partners decided to focus on coastal Italy as a point of differentiation with a menu of seafood, pasta and pizzas. As much is made in-house as possible. The pizza dough is a legacy starter from the Vintage Café and originated in Naples, Italy. Dough is made daily. Pizzas include a vegetarian offering, an Italiano with Italian meats, a pizza Margherita and a cheese Formaggio. Prices range from $11 to $16.
Antipasto ranges from a salumi and cheese board with an assortment of Italian meats and cheeses ($20) to a lobster ravioli – ravioli stuffed with lobster and cheese served with a lobster crème ($19).
Among the entrees are a Mediterranean swordfish served over a bed of spinach and cherry tomatoes and topped with a sweet pear salsa and a side of seasonal vegetables ($33) and a saltimbocca ($22), a boneless chicken breast lightly breaded and charbroiled and smothered with Fontina cheese. It is topped with mushrooms and prosciutto sauteed in white wine lemon butter sauce, garlic, red pepper and sage.
Pastas include a rigatoni con broccoli – rigatoni pasta served with a creamy white sauce with fresh broccoli ($12) and the popular spaghetti con polpette, house-made meatballs over angelhair pasta topped with marinara, herbs and Parmesan ($18).
Side dishes and desserts are also offered.
Drift Coastal Italian does not have a liquor license, but guests are encouraged to bring drinks and wine from French Lick Winery into the restaurant to enjoy with their meals, which always creates a perfect pairing. The menu lists wine and cocktail pairings with the restaurant’s dishes to encourage diners to bring in drinks from the winery’s bar and “marry those two flavors at the table,” Davis says.
DRIFT COASTAL ITALIAN
Located inside French Lick Winery
8145 West Sinclair St.
West Baden Springs
FRENCH LICK WINERY
8145 W. Sinclair St.
West Baden Springs