The laid-back aesthetic of Derek Means and Craig Baker’s farm-to-table charmer immediately puts you in your comfort zone. Simple wooden tabletops are covered in butcher paper, a chalkboard menu features chocolate and vanilla milkshakes, and an engaging waitstaff works the room in casual pants and Local-branded tees. Yet, since it opened in 2011, this dining room continues to be the safest place to cultivate a fearless palate. On any weeknight, you might see a family huddling over plates of braised beef cheeks, a mom feeding hummus to her toddler, or a child munching happily on the remnants of her father’s duck wings. This juxtaposition of adventure and simplicity balances classics—like a hand-breaded tenderloin smeared with the house sauce of mayo, stone-ground mustard, and horseradish—with more daring fare, along the lines of whole fried fish, white-asparagus salad, and roasted-eggplant rillettes.
INSIDER TIP: Upgrade your side of tots to an order of white-cheddar mac ’n’ cheese flecked with bacon.
SAVE ROOM: The beignets come light and fluffy, rolled in cinnamon-sugar and accompanied by a caramel-apple dipping sauce.
PREVIOUS MENTIONS: Best Restaurants 2011, 2013
14655 N. Gray Rd., Westfield, 317-218-3786, localeateryandpub.com
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This article appeared in the May 2014 issue.