In the center of Wabash Valley, Terre Haute has grown to embrace its college town persona and the perks that come with it, including a growing restaurant and bar scene. In 2010 it was named Indiana Chamber’s Community of the Year due to its thriving downtown, Wabashiki Fish and Wildlife Area, and regular community events. Below are our choices for dinner in the USA’s heartland.
J. Ford’s Black Angus
J. Ford’s is a casual but still upscale establishment that has the vibe of a restaurant found in larger cities. Since 2007 J. Ford’s Black Angus has served up a variety of fine foods with a down-to-earth twist, such as the lobster corn dogs and NY strip steaks. Finding good quality foods and the best quality cuts of meat is of central importance to the owners of J. Ford’s, and they consistently strive to create menus that are up-to-date with current industry trends. In addition to food, J. Ford’s likes to keep their guests in good spirits courtesy of their large selection of liquors, spirits and award-winning wine list.
One of Terre Haute’s most popular breakfast and lunch spots, Cackleberries serves up a mix of good old-fashioned American dishes alongside Greek cuisine. Only open for breakfast, brunch and lunch, Cackleberries sticks with what it does best. Its large dishes and low prices, alongside the good quality and variety, keeps locals coming back again and again. Most of the dishes come in the form of skillets with a side of toast or pancakes – so patrons should be sure to bring their appetite. In addition to this, there are sandwiches, burgers, salads and a wide range of changing daily specials available.
More than just one of the most popular brands of baking soda in the US, Clabber Girl‘s Terre Haute bake shop shows diners and bakers alike the heights of home baking. All of the baked goods are made from scratch on site, and they also have a good selection of savory lunch items. The restaurant is next to the Clabber Girl museum, so the interior has interesting signs and memorabilia from the brand’s history dotted around the restaurant. The company started in Terre Haute in 1850, and over time has developed from a grocers store to the popular business that it is today. Still a family-run business, Clabber Girl displays an interesting slice of Terre Haute history.
Harry and Bud’s European Cuisine
Since 1993, Harry and Bud’s European Cuisine has become one of Terre Haute’s most renowned and popular establishments. It is a mixture of the traditional Mom and Pop place and Greenwich Village hangout, along with food that pushes culinary boundaries. As for the menu, the European-inspired dishes change daily depending on the availability of their fresh ingredients, with the only ‘constant’ dish being their black bean soup. The decor is quirky and fun, with purposefully mismatched Formica table sets and an eye catching bathroom wallpaper, along with exposed brick walls and a glass brick window to truly reinvent the original 1950s building.
The homely ambiance of Magdy’s shouldn’t make you think that you will be getting ‘Mama’s home cooking.’ With a menu devised by head chef Magdy Atwa, Magdy’s serves up cuisine from European classical cuisine, including beef Wellington, filet mignon, venison, and chicken marsala, made for the palates of the Midwest. The staff is small in number and Magdy often makes his way to the front of the restaurant to greet customers. The restaurant is situated within an old Victorian house and the decor is reminiscent of a period mini-mansion that is comfortable without being too imposing. Traditional cookery, good portion sizes and a refined atmosphere will whisk you away momentarily across the Atlantic.
Piloni’s Italian Restaurant
Piloni’s is run by two generations of the Piloni family who bring big city-quality Italian food to Terre Haute. With recipes that have been passed down through the family, as well using influences from Puerto Rico, where patriarch Pedro hails from, Piloni’s exemplifies the best element of these cuisines; heart, family and a love of cookery. Guests are given an authentic Italian dining experience complete with fresh, local ingredients and pasta that is made on the premises. The menu comprises of pizza and pasta dishes, changing seafood and meat dishes, and salads and vegetarian options, all with Pedro’s signature flair. Perfect for dates and for family dinners, the restaurant also has the option of family style dining for larger parties.
The Saratoga Restaurant
A Terre Haute institution, The Saratoga first opened in 1942 and has continued to be popular among the residents of Terre Haute for the best part of the last century. The restaurant is family owned, with the two owners being pillars of the community and their hospitality and home cooking giving them a substantial number of patrons. The substantial breakfast, lunch and dinner menus include salads, steaks, sandwiches and Saratoga specials, as well as other foods such as flatbreads and burgers. The interior is comfortable, with memorabilia from the restaurant and town history showing the establishment’s strong connections with the community.
Stables Steakhouse captures the rich history of Terre Haute in both its food and its decor. The interior features rich, dark wood and leather furnishings, plaid carpeting, exposed brickwork and chandeliers to sweep you off your feet and give you a feeling of the old town Elk Lodge, which used to occupy the building. The bar is one of the best in town, with the largest selection of scotch, bourbons, cognacs and fine liquors in the area, as well as a cigar humidor. Their award-winning steaks are all aged for 28 day, and there are also seafood options, and surf and turf for when you can’t decide.
Umi Grill Sushi Bar
For the freshest fish and seafood in Terre Haute, head over to Umi Grill Sushi Bar. It opened in 2001 as the first Japanese restaurant in the town and has since expanded to a larger site, and inspired others to hop on the Japanese food wagon. Previously also a fish market, Umi allows patrons to order in advance to take fresh fish home. The menu has specialty sushi rolls, ramen, bento boxes, sashimi and grilled seafood, as well as the house special Umi steak. The central point of the restaurant is the sushi bar – and the high ceilings, exposed brickworks and light features give the restaurant a sense of refinement.
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