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October Foodie: Will Holmes

Vegan kitchen wizard Will Holmes plates up tasty plant-based creations at 10th Street Diner.

Don’t tell Will Holmes he can’t make something from scratch. The younger half of the mother-son catering duo that opened vegan-friendly 10th Street Diner in May could buy pre-made seitan and dairy-free cheese for the restaurant’s sandwiches, chimichangas, and lasagna. But he prefers making his own. “I just don’t like what’s available,” Holmes says, referring to the meat replacements many eateries use. And he clearly loves playing mad scientist with tofu and cashews. At any time, he’s got 300 pounds of wheat gluten in stock for the protein-packed seitan he marinates to get his sub sandwich, Reuben, and “chicken” salad surprisingly close to the real articles. A humidifier controls the moisture level in his prep room. “Did you check on my jerky?” he asks over the counter to his mom, Karen. Yep—his latest back-of-the-house project is doing just fine.

“We had thrown around ideas for a restaurant, but it took us three years and a lot of construction delays to open 10th Street.”
Will Holmes of 10th Street Diner
An avid cyclist who got his business-management degree from Indiana State, Holmes started making his own grilled cheese sandwiches when he was 5 years old. At 15, he got his first kitchen gig, working alongside his mother, a vegetarian since 1971, in a catering group. But it wasn’t until nearly 18 years later that the pair finally opened their own spot. “We had thrown around ideas for a restaurant,” Holmes says, “but it took us three years and a lot of construction delays to open 10th Street.” A few customers turn around the moment they hear the place is vegan. But, Holmes says, “Once they taste our food, almost everyone leaves happy.”

Click here to get Holmes’s recipe for vegan sloppy Joes.


A graduate of IU’s Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing, Terry Kirts hails from a town in Illinois so small it didn’t have a restaurant until he was in the 8th grade. Since 2000, he’s more than made up for the dearth of eateries in his childhood, logging hundreds of meals as the dining critic for WHERE Indianapolis, Indianapolis Woman, and NUVO before joining Indianapolis Monthly as a contributing editor in 2007. A senior lecturer in creative writing at IUPUI, Terry has published his poetry and creative nonfiction in a number of literary journals and anthologies, including Gastronomica, Alimentum, and Home Again: Essays and Memoirs from Indiana, and he’s the author of the poetry collection To the Refrigerator Gods, published by Seven Kitchens Press in 2011.

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