Chef-owner Matt Burns got a good lesson in regional sourcing at Westfield’s The Local Eatery & Pub—and helped head up the kitchen at nearby Vera Mae’s Bistro with wife Jessica—before the pair teamed on this ambitious but amiable spot for “French soul food.” Inheriting the spacious, brightly paneled storefronts of longtime Muncie favorite White River Landing, the couple was quick to add farmstead fare to the town’s fledgling culinary scene. Chalkboards featuring an impressive beer selection, men’s-room walls collaged in comic-book covers, and light fixtures fashioned from wagon wheels add to the rustic charm. Ball jars, produced at a Muncie glassworks until 1998, abound. But it’s the hearty new Gallic dishes on the monthly changing menu that have been drawing hungry crowds since late June. Elevated-comfort favorites have included poutine (hand-cut fries covered in cheese curds and brown gravy with a hint of Chinese Five Spice), as well as an ale-braised chicken fricassee, mussels in a saffron broth, and biscuits and gravy dressed up with a housemade whole-wheat biscuit and fried duck confit. Don’t miss the blue-ribbon chess pie made from Jessica’s grandmother’s recipe—easily one of the best pies in the state. Tues.–Sat. 11 a.m.–11 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.–3 p.m., 117 W. Charles St., Muncie, 765-216-6982
While in Muncie, check out ...
The Downtown Farm Stand: Produce-lovers don’t have to wait for a weekend farmers market with this corner grocery. 125 E. Main St., 765-288-3775, munciefarmstand.com
Tonne Winery: A 25-foot tasting bar makes sampling the award-winning Traminettes and Rieslings all the more enjoyable at this winery. 101 W. Royerton Rd., 765-896-9821, tonnewinery.com
The Mansion at Shaffer Gardens: The B&B houses seven spacious suites, including one with views of the pond. 8989 N. Shaffer Rd., 765-216-6766, shaffergardens.com
Vera Mae’s Bistro: A clubby, Old World vibe permeates this downtown institution with a French-influenced fusion menu. 207–209 S. Walnut St., 765-747-4941, veramaes.com
Heorot Pub and Draught House: Ball State alumni flock to this Viking-themed bar with wooden beams, medieval iconography, and 70 draft beers. 219 S. Walnut St., 765-287-0173
Photos by Tony Valainis
This article appeared in the October 2013 issue. See more Destination Dinner stories here.