Street Savvy: Plainfield

Cute shops, quaint eateries, historic homes—everything old is new again on U.S. 40.


Dedicated last year and organized by the Plainfield Optimists, the multi-use Miracle Movers Field at the Al and Jan Barker Complex gives special-needs kids and young adults opportunities to play baseball with purpose-built dugouts and rubberized turf that accommodate walkers and wheelchairs. 451 S. Vestal Rd., 317-839-7665

Pick up the scenic White Lick Creek Trail from the pedestrian bridge framed by birdhouses and picnic tables on the western edge of Plainfield’s Town Center. Skirting the creek itself, the 2.1-mile asphalt path also loops into the Vandalia Trail for easy jaunts over to Splash Island water park.

Retro-fab Oasis Diner was shuttered in 2008 and landed on the Indiana Landmarks list of most-endangered buildings. Now happily restored, relocated, and reopened, this nostalgic greasy spoon is once again dishing up soda floats, tenderloins, and breakfast all day, served by sassy waitresses who call you “hon” as they top off your coffee. 405 W. Main St., 317-837-7777

Sure, the traditional chocolate-frosted, lemon, and blueberry cake varieties are tempting, but “cowpatties”—gooey cinnamon rolls drenched in maple icing—are king at Al’s Donuts. Get here early; this tiny cash-only shop closes for the day once inventory runs out, often before 9 a.m. 311 W. Main St., 317-838-8694

Stroll the few blocks of Center Street north of U.S. 40 and take a gander at the gingerbread architecture common to Plainfield’s oldest stretch of historic homes. Sitting pretty at 234 N. Center St. and dating back to 1891, the garish green Oscar Hadley House (named for Plainfield’s founding father) boasts the title of the town’s “first modern home.” You can’t tour the private residence, but you can drive by.

Gear Up Cyclery outfits bikers of all ages and skill levels, from casual weekend pedalers to road warriors and mountain-bikers. And the full-service shop lets you try before you buy—customers are welcome to test-drive any set of wheels in the store. Looking for the wickedest recumbent tricycle? Gear Up is the area’s exclusive dealer of TerraTrike and HP Velotechnik. 124 W. Main St., 317-203-5045

The Real Food Shoppe was originally sited on a family farm in Brownsburg, then in Avon. With trail mix, Amish chicken, Fischer Farms meats, flavored-honey sticks, supplements, teas, and other natural fare, you can almost feel yourself getting healthier just browsing these wholesome-smelling aisles. 208 E. Main St., 317-203-4097

“People would be surprised how reasonable rent can be for the businesses we hope will join us. Not you, antiques stores—we want a cafe, a bookstore, an art gallery, and a brewpub.” —T.J. Hampton, co-owner of The Launch Pad Rock School and Recording Studios

More than 50 specialty flavors change daily at Sweetheart Cupcakes, but the bakery always stocks double-chocolate, vanilla, and birthday cake—along with seasonally decorated sugar cookies—in cozy, cafe-style digs. 212 E. Main St., 317-203-5951

At Nomad Yarns, hipster husband-and-wife team Dave Broughton and Erica Kempf dream up original patterns within a restored 1890s Victorian building. Covering the color spectrum, the lavish selection of fibers (including natural-dyed and hard-to-find European brands) will inspire you to grab some needles, even in the summer. 218 E. Main St., 317-742-7456

A local fixture since 1858, the handsome brick Plainfield Friends meetinghouse welcomes visitors for weekly Sunday school, worship services, and quiet reflection. As the website clarifies, Quaker Oats–box attire isn’t required. Don’t ever let it be said that Quakers don’t have a sense of humor. 105 S. East St., 317-839-6490

Sal’s Famous Pizzeria slings wood-fired pies and calzones built with fresh ingredients, hand-grated cheese, and sauce made from imported Italian tomatoes, just like Mamma mia might have cooked up. The signature pizza melds chicken, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, and pine nuts. Mangia. 350 E. Main St., 318-837-8800