A new amphitheater opens, offering the latest reason to visit the heart of this ‘burb.

[1] Shop 

Its name means “everyday” in Swedish, but there’s nothing plain-Jane about Vardagen, a rustic-cool boutique taking advantage of the bumper crop of Indiana-made T-shirts over the last few years. Hoosier-pride designs by People for Urban Progress and United State of Indiana complement Vardagan’s own label, best-known for a collection based on Christmas-sweater motifs. 8684 E. 116th St., 317-572-5570,

[2] Lather

An eco-friendly secret, Herbal Art hums with the sounds of Beethoven and boasts yummy-smelling soaps, shampoos, and creams, all handcrafted by owner Brian Paffen, a certified Indiana Artisan. Find the place in an office building in front of Target and choose from chunks of shea butter–infused soaps for $6. Paffen aims to whip up gender-neutral scents—like his newest creation, Beer, infused with barley and hops. 11650 N. Lantern Rd., Ste. 205, 317-418-8227,

[3] Taste 

The who’s who of Fishers—and on occasion, familiar faces from the local news—gather at the Nickel Plate Bar & Grill for pork tenderloin sandwiches and breaded mushrooms. Though the institution turned 20 this year, the building has stood since the 1800s. 8654 E. 116th St., 317-841-2888,

>> IN THE KNOW: Jennifer Kehl
Executive director of the Fishers Freedom Festival and the police chief’s wife

What’s the last thing you bought in Fishers? I took my son for a haircut at the Fishers Barber Shop. I know the owner, Kurt. We grew up together in Carmel, and it had an old-time barber shop. When Kurt moved here, he started the same thing.
Any Carmel envy? No. It was nice when it was all cornfields.
The squad car must come in handy when I-69 is backed up. When you compare communities the size of Fishers, our traffic congestion isn’t that bad.

[4] Snack 

If its standard menu of 100-plus flavors isn’t enough, each location of the GiGi’s Cupcakes chain creates its own recipes, too. On Indianapolis Indians game days, you can order a Rowdie Berry cupcake, created by the team’s mascot. 8981 E. 116th St., 317-577-2253,

[5] Relax 

Inspired by Europe’s bean-and-brew fusions, Hearthstone Coffee House and Pub offers freshly roasted joe alongside a roster of
regional craft beers on tap.  Its own Hearthstone Bavarian Brown is a chocolate coffee jazzed up with Mr. People’s Brown Ale.
Tasting dinners focus on both espresso and suds. 8235 E. 116th St., 317-436-7049,

[6] Connect 

A festival on October 13 will celebrate the new Nickel Plate District and outdoor amphitheater.  While they’re in the area, entrepreneurs will want to peek inside Launch: Fishers, a recently opened members-only space where those with a start-up business are encouraged to gather and collaborate. 6 Municipal Dr. 

Photo of Vardagen by Patrick Kolts; photos of Nickel Plate and Gigi’s by Tony Valainis

This article appeared in the October 2012 issue.