Street Savvy: Pendleton

A downtown streetscape featuring a bricked two-story building.
Downtown Pendleton

Photography by Tony Valainis


The namesake for Fall Creek, Falls Park was transformed from a landfill into a massive swimming hole below the cascades in the 1920s. A modern pool has replaced it, though the attraction remains a local jewel. 460 Falls Park Dr., 765-778-2222

According to the Pendleton Historical Museum, located in the park’s former bathhouse, the town is the place where, for the first time in American history, white men received capital punishment for killing Native Americans. “What principle of philosophy or of religion establishes the doctrine that a white skin is preferable in nature or in the sight of God to a red or black one?” said Judge William Wick. 221 Falls Park Dr.

Located in a white house with a sunny yellow door, Falls Perk Coffee House is the type of hangout that makes you believe small-town life could suit you. The shop doesn’t skate by on the lack of competition. The drinks are inspired—kombucha on tap, lavender honey lattes, and coconut cold brew in the summer. 125 N. Pendleton Ave., 765-778-3423

A young couple sits atop a small cliff that runs alongside a river.
Falls Park

Housing small businesses including Friends & Neighbors Books, Look Again Antiques, women’s clothiers Over the Moon and The Rusty Hinge Boutique, and Purdylicious kettle corn, The Galleria is built for browsing. 114 W. State St.

The Bank Restaurant building has done duty as a lending institution, dance hall, jewelry store, and soda fountain. Now it’s where you can find a Grown Up Grilled Cheese made with smoked cheddar, raclette cheese, and blackberry-peppercorn sauce on grainy wheatberry bread. 110 W. State St., 765-778-1446

Gallery 119, run by the Pendleton Artists Society, hosts art shows, offers classes, and sells lots of works in a gift shop. 119 W. State St., 765-778-0986

Raise a frosty glass of chocolate milk to Quack Daddy Donuts for introducing the choose-your-own-toppings concept to the Indy area when it openeda few years ago. Watch Facebook for announcements of the days when customer-favorite blueberry cake rings are available. 106 W. State St., 765-221-9174

Butchering is done in-house and single-malt scotch is well-stocked (co-owner Summer Hellis is a certified whiskey ambassador) at Pendleton’s fine-dining anchor, Madison’s. Elaborate cheese boards are a draw on a menu supplemented with wine tastings and cooking classes. 104 W. State St., 765-221-9390

A young girl in pigtails takes a massive bite of a sprinkle donut.
Quack Daddy Donuts

Stressing Italian authenticity, candle-lit and brick-walled Catello’s Mozzarella Bar takes everything from antipasto through gelato molto seriously, with plenty of options in between, including Frutti di Mare Napoli, Spigola al Cartoccio, and, if your unadventurous dinner companion insists, spaghetti with marinara sauce. 103 E. State St., 317-498-5906

A respectable list of bourbons and whiskeys highlights the drink menu at The Stable, a polished watering hole that also draws locals to clink martini glasses and raid the cooler for $5 “fun beers.” A hearty menu of appetizers, pizzas, and pretzel-roll sandwiches keeps the crowds happy on live-music nights. 105 E. State St., 317-221-9144

A steady parade of local carnivores files into Smith Family Farms: The Market, ordering fresh-as-can-be brisket and ham—even goat, rabbit, and quail. Most meat and other goods are direct from Madison County. 609 E. State St., 765-778-1024