Street Savvy: Danville

Hendricks County’s lively courthouse square preserves its small-town charm.

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1. Reminisce
It’s easy to spot Mayberry Cafe in Danville thanks to the vintage black-and-white squad car parked out front, as if Andy Taylor has just run in for a plate of fried chicken. Wallpapered in floral prints, the bustling diner (an intentionally hokey homage) serves themed homestyle favorites like Floyd’s Fish Sandwich and Clara’s Cobblers. But go for the spectacle: framed stills, a counter selling bedazzled Mayberry Cafe T-shirts, and episodes of The Andy Griffith Show playing perpetually on high-mounted TVs. Remember the one when Barney tried to sing opera? 78 W. Main St., 317-745-4067, mayberrycafe.com

1014-DANVILLE_MAP2. Refuel
Regulars at Diesel’s Sports Grille sidle up to the bar for Mason jars of draft and craft beer and pub grub with aspirations, including grilled-fish tacos that deftly balance the flavors of gingery pickled cabbage and Sriracha cream sauce. But first-timers should opt for a table, if only to fully appreciate the bar’s marvel of a centerpiece: the monstrous front grill of a Freightliner semi cab embedded in the wall over the draft taps. Yes, the headlights work. 20 W. Main St., 317-386-3024, dieselssportsgrille.com

3. Restock
Savory handpies in flavors ranging from portabella-feta-spinach to bacon-cheeseburger dominate the grab-and-go menu at The Beehive, a busy little spot with gourmet-market dreams. Tidy shelves are lightly stocked with local provisions, including creamed honey from Huntington, and a bay of soft-serve spigots proves that the froyo trend has no boundaries. 55 E. Main St., 317-718-8470, beehivemarket.com

1014-DANVILLE_MAP24. Browse
Created by the Hendricks County Arts Council as a co-op for local artists, Gallery on the Square houses a boutique-y mix of paintings, photographs, pottery, jewelry, and all things handcrafted. While away an hour admiring the dreamy Impressionist oils by Donna Nolan Sanders, Blue Moon Pottery’s bonsai-ready Ikebana flower vases, and Shirley Adams’s fiber-art pillows. Artist-run classes include a biweekly Paint and Sip session. 51 S. Washington St., 317-386-3111, hendrickscountyarts.org

5. Indulge
Truffles, cake bites, and bonbons in flavors from salted caramel to Key lime crowd the small case at Confection Delights. Fill a box for your sweetie (or to eat on I-465), and don’t ignore the handmade cherry cordials, in both dark and milk chocolate, designed for popping by the stem. As with all of the chocolates, they’re dipped on-site. 57 S. Washington St., 317-718-7060, confectiondelightsindy.com

6. Watch
Locals used to call The Royal Theater, an 87-year-old picture house, “The Royal Rat Hole.” That was long before renovations and rebrandings brought the venue back to its current luster. Inside, the walls are draped with blue fabric, in Old Hollywood fashion, and with 250 seats, it’s still intimate enough to feel like an art-house cinema. Catch a first-run flick for $6 ($4 matinees). 59 S. Washington St., 317-745-1499, royaltheaterdanville.info

1014-SARAHSTOGSDILL
Sarah Stogsdill

“There are quite a few homes on the national historic registry right off the courthouse square, and I love to walk around that neighborhood with my dog.” —Sarah Stogsdill, jewelry designer

7. Caffeinate
Espresso drinks and tea by the pot reign at Court House Grounds, an elegant two-story java shop. The large, daintily appointed dining room fills up with breakfast and lunch patrons forking into pecan pancakes and Mandarin Orange Salad. Four bistro tables out front make for prime chai latte–and-newspaper seating on sunny days. 65 S. Washington St., 317-989-1600

8. Shop
Try not to imagine how much money your long-gone childhood toys would have fetched as you explore Outta the Shed, a trove of antiques and primitives in an old RCA storefront—and a great place to find a vintage hurricane lamp. 71 S. Washington St., 317-518-4249

9. Appreciate
Housed in the former sheriff’s residence and jail, the Hendricks County Historical Museum is no dry rehashing of the past. The 1866 building itself is a vision of crisp, Second Empire–style brick architecture, with a central tower, mansard roofs, and rosette details. Inside, several rooms have been restored to their original functions: two vintage kitchens (fans of kitsch, take a deep breath), a sheriff’s office, and the original town jail (its cell walls scrawled in graffiti), which might tide you over until the next season of Orange Is the New Black. 170 S. Washington St., 317-718-6158, hendrickscountyhistoricalmuseum.org

10. Nosh
As you sit in the sunny yellow dining room of Bread Basket Cafe & Bakery, slicing into a strawberry-banana Belgian waffle, you might overhear a giddy bride-to-be sharing wedding plans, or town-council members greeting each other. The bungalow is the kind of place where business (big and small) gets tended to—despite the darling distractions of a shaded brick porch decked with geraniums and a pastry counter brimming with coconut-cream pies and red-velvet cakes. 46 S. Tennessee St., 317-718-4800, breadbasketcafe.com

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