This article is part of the Rediscover Brown County package in the October 2016
Indianapolis Monthly issue. For more on our favorite fall destination, click here.
Brown County Inn: Old Fave, New Flave
Beloved since 1974 for its rustic charm and views, sprawling Brown County Inn underwent extensive renovation after new ownership took the reins last year. Included in the sprucing-up was what was once known as the Harvest Dining Room, where patrons have long filled up on hearty comfort fare under a canopy of high-pitched wood beams. And just as the owners removed much of the hotel’s former clutter, the restaurant’s menu is lighter and fresher, too, featuring a Midwest cheese board with the finest from local creameries; a harvest salad with toasted pumpkin seeds and goat cheese; and entrees like Fischer Farms bone-in pork chops with a bourbon-peach glaze. Rest assured the kitchen fries up just as much delectably crispy chicken as it used to, as well as baskets of compulsively airy biscuits with apple butter. Another fried favorite comes in the form of beer-battered Wisconsin cheese curds, served with tangy housemade ranch. With plenty of crisp greens, pasta salads, and fresh soups, the salad bar is a satisfying throwback and just three dollars with any entrée. Strolls on the pretty 10-acre grounds—past a garden that supplies the kitchen—are complimentary, whether you’re staying the night or just for the meal. 51 State Rd. 46 E, Nashville, 812-988-2291, browncountyinn.com
Brozinni Pizzeria: New in Town
Indy Southsiders have long had the skinny on where to go for crispy, chewy, foldable slices of textbook New York–style pizza and butter-dripping garlic knuckles: Brozinni Pizzeria. Now ’za lovers in Nashville can enjoy a slightly scaled-down, recently opened version of the original joint. Whole pies are available all day, but lunchtime slices allow for sampling of the pizzeria’s most tempting combos, such as the 34th Street (roasted garlic, ricotta, basil) and Fifth Avenue (Frank’s RedHot Sauce, chicken, bacon). Sicilian fans might opt for the homey Grandma’s Pie, with chunky sauce on golden, crackling crust. The sweet knuckles, original to this location, pair yeasty dough with sticky icing, a marriage of breadstick and cinnamon roll vying to unseat fudge as the richest treat in the village. 140 W. Main St., 812-988-8800, brozinnipizzeria.com
Story Inn: New Chef
While the cuisine at the former general store has provided flashes of genius throughout the past four decades, recent changes have underscored the main dining room’s reputation as a destination worth the drive for its own sake. Owners Kate and Jacob Ebel brought formal culinary training when they took over last year, and executive chef Eric Swanson, who joined in 2014 after a stint at Bloomington’s Restaurant Tallent, crafts the exacting seasonal menus, using Maple Leaf Farms duck with an Asian-inspired gastrique, or a fresh take on Viking Farms lamb with mint chimichurri. Swanson’s crisp sides—a tartare of radishes, sesame risotto, bright couscous salad—are particularly impressive, some with ingredients grown on-site by staff gardener Jackie Wilkerson. Brunch brings French toast with syrup from nearby Burton’s Maplewood Farm, burgers with bacon jam, and daily changing po’ boys—a lowbrow staple well suited to the remote rustic outpost. 6404 State Rd. 135, 812-988-2273, storyinn.com