Destination Dining: Joseph Decuis

Farm-raised everything and the James Beard crowd.

Savvy Indiana foodies know that local, seasonal nirvana isn’t too far away. In fact, GPS coordinates position it just southwest of Fort Wayne in a charming blip of a town called Roanoke. The whole Joseph Decuis (pronounced day-QUEEZ) operation began as a way for owners Pete and Alice Eshelman to entertain business clients out of a downtown-Roanoke bank building they had converted into a private dining facility. Word about their novel undertaking spread, and in 2000, they opened their doors to the public as well. Named for a distant French Creole ancestor, the thriving hospitality enterprise now includes the fine-dining restaurant, a gourmet food emporium/cafe, and a cozy bed and breakfast up the street. Besides frequenting the restaurant for top-shelf meals served in a heady supper club–style atmosphere, loyal fans mark their calendars to attend  harvest wine dinners; monthly vineyard luncheons; and casual blue jeans, burgers, and beer gatherings on Friday nights between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The Joseph Decuis Farm that produces most of the ingredients you’ll find on your plate (organic vegetables, herbs, eggs from free-range chickens, Mangalitsa pork, and that famous Wagyu beef) is just six miles away.  Mon.–Sat. 5:30–10 p.m. (The emporium next door is open for casual lunches Mon.–Sat. 11 a.m.–3 p.m.) 191 N. Main St., Roanoke, 260-672-1715,


While in Roanoke, check out …

Two-EE’s Winery: Customers can feel the love at this newly launched winery/vineyard where co-owner Eric Harris proposed to his fiancee, Emily Hart (the two E’s, get it?). 6808 N. U.S. 24 E, Huntington, 260-672-2000,

Nick’s Kitchen: Huntington native Dan Quayle announced his run for every public office he’s ever held from atop the same chair at Nick’s Kitchen. The place also gets extra credit for creating the original Hoosier tenderloin. 506 N. Jefferson St., Huntington, 260-356-6618,

The Party Shop: This old-school candy store’s been hatching batches of turtles for 90 years. 413 N. Jefferson St., Huntington, 260-355-0142

Joseph Decuis Farm: At this event space/working farm “dressed in a tuxedo,” Wagyu cattle, free-range hens, turkeys, and other coddled livestock go about their business while guests tour the grounds in the wagon bed of a tricked-out tractor. The highlight of the year is July’s reservation-only James Beard Celebrity Chef Dinner. 6755 E. 900 S, Columbia City, 260-672-1715

Cerulean: In the nearby resort town of Winona Lake, the original restaurant helmed by chef-owner Caleb France offers a more casual version of downtown Indy’s CityWay stunner. 1101 E. Canal St., Winona Lake, 574-269-1226,

Photos by Tony Valainis

This article appeared in the October 2013 issue. See more Destination Dinner stories here.