Let's Do Brunch: Brunch Worth The Drive

Going the distance for great food is worth it. Here are three brilliant brunch spots that are just a car ride away. Featuring Taxman Brewing Company and more.

Taxman Brewing Company

The urge to eat like a fieldhand comes naturally at a spot that sits on the edge of a little metropolis of grain silos in Johnson County. When a couple of former accountants converted the old Tri-State Bolt warehouse in Bargersville into a polished two-story brewery and gastropub in 2015, fans of classic Belgian-inspired beers started making the pilgrimage to this small town along the railroad tracks. The menu’s lusty take on local farm stock translates well to an early-Sunday repast of braised lamb with potato hash and poached eggs on grilled pita, or breakfast frites topped with sausage gravy, bacon, cheese, and eggs. Menus affixed to battered wooden clipboards focus on rib-sticking savories, like a rich and complex sausage huevos bowl brimming with tortilla chips, beans, and Smoking Goose Kitchen Sink sausage under frizzled red onions that’s so delicious you won’t even notice if some of the sweet barbecue sauce drips on your Carhartt barn jacket. If you want to burn off that confit chicken-in-a-biscuit with scallion hollandaise (or the multiple “beer-mosas” that washed it down), do a little exploring in the surrounding blocks of small-town quaintness, including Pump House Antiques, Johnson Barbecue, and a local hair salon that preempted any hipster mockery over the winter, proudly proclaiming on its letter board out front: “Our haircuts are 100% gluten free.” Brunch hours: 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Sun. 13 S. Baldwin St., Bargersville, 317-458-0210, taxmanbrewing company.com   

The Wildcat

The pride of place is so refreshing at downtown Kokomo’s trending hangout that even outsiders feel like part of the new-Hoosier home team. The name, for starters, pays tribute to the scenic Wildcat Creek, which empties into the Wabash and was once populated by members of the Wea and Miami Indian tribes. (The upstairs cocktail/live music lounge, The Coterie, gives a hip history lesson through its drink list, written as a timeline that would impress Leslie Knope.) Slow Sunday mornings on the Howard County courthouse square—which hosts a farmers market, First Friday, and craft beer festival—might include a plateful of pastrami hash, fried chicken in a fat buttermilk biscuit, or flank steak and eggs in a narrow slip of a dining room that also houses a nanobrewery taproom and a couple of turntables. To eat like a local, take a seat at the counter with your folded Tribune and order the chef’s omelet with a side of piping-hot cheese curds and a Kokomo Coffee (espresso with whiskey and bourbon cream). Brunch hours: 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Sat.–Sun. 107 W. Sycamore St., Kokomo, 765-865-8374


The Golden

In hipper-by-the-minute downtown Fort Wayne, The Golden is the coolest new kid on the block. With sky-high ceilings, polished concrete floors, an open kitchen viewable from most of the house, and chef Aaron Butts of Joseph Decuis fame at the helm—you know this is someplace special. The acclaimed chef has built a serious foodie mecca here, with laid-back service and down-to-earth staff to boot. But be forewarned: the menu changes weekly, so try not to get too attached. Even if the savory breakfast fried rice—a Mexican/Japanese mash-up of maple-soy gastrique, rice, smoky ham hock, cheddar, jalapeño rings, and fried egg isn’t offered, the Gruyère-gooey croque “Macho Man” on sweet brioche toast might be. One hopes, though, that the stellar cocktail menu goes untouched. We want another round of peppery Bloody Marys and crisp, gin-y Grapefruit Four Ways. Or maybe just a large French-press of coffee and warm, crusty beignets. Brunch hours: 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Sun. 898 Harrison St., Fort Wayne, 260-710-8368, goldenfw.com