Foodie: Alicia Sweet

The King Dough and Natural State Provisions co-owner combines her punk sensibilities with her love of family, food, and wine.

 

YOU CAN often find restaurateur Alicia Sweet knee-deep in some new and exciting project, no matter where in her empire she is hanging out. Whether she’s managing her King Dough locations (including a brand-new Carmel pizzeria), working at Natural State Provisions (her and husband Adam’s Holy Cross tribute to their Southern upbringing), or tweaking unique wine lists for their restaurants, Sweet is in perpetual creative mode.

Raised in the rural South, she learned to grow, forage, hunt, and fish in the backwood landscapes of Florida and Tennessee. “Pulling a sarsaparilla root and chewing on it or selling our goods at the outdoor flea market—to me, that was just magical,” Sweet says. Those memories helped define her in many ways and inspire everything she does, from adorning her restaurants with decor straight from her grandmother’s garage, to creating kid-friendly spaces for customers to enjoy good food and wine with their families, to developing menus that bring to mind the Southern table.

Sweet has blended the influences from her rural upbringing with her early adult years spent traveling and running a communal punk living space in Bloomington. That’s where she met and fell in love with her husband, and where they began their adventures together, starting a family and eventually becoming a force in the local food and drink world. It was not a surprising jump for Sweet to turn what she learned from her DIY childhood into a “no rules” mindset as a restaurant owner.

Her newest obsession is soft serve ice cream. You can find it on the Natural State Provisions menu in rotating flavors like Thai iced tea, chocolate mint, and Indiana sweet corn. “It’s my opportunity to feed everyone’s inner child,” Sweet says.