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NORTHERN INDIANA LAKES COUNTRY CUISINE

NORTHERN INDIANA LAKES COUNTRY CUISINE

Waterfront restaurants are as prevalent as homemade pie in the Northeast corner of Indiana, thanks to Steuben County’s impressive menu of more than 100 lakes. Meals of aged steaks and flown-in seafood fuel visitors for swimming, hiking and sight-seeing adventures. It’s time to fill up and explore this trail from the editors of Midwest Living.

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CARUSO’S

CARUSO’S

Things have changed since 1976 when Joe and Barb Caruso bought their pizzeria, but not their passions— food and family. Back then, Joe worked the kitchen, Barb out front. These days, all three generations of Carusos work some nights cooking up the family’s recipes of pizza and pasta. The extensive menu also lists trendier versions of Italian fare. Parmigiana comes layered with tender chicken, veal or eggplant. Guests with gusto opt for the too-big-to-hold sausage roll, a concoction of meat, mushrooms, sauce and cheese baked to a golden brown. House-made blueberry ice cream accompanies the mascarpone cake. That freshness extends to the look: Gone is the red, white and blue siding. Now, stone and stucco hint at the Tuscan decor of rustic-color walls lit by wrought-iron chandeliers above guests warmed by a stone fireplace. 

CARUSO’S (2)

CARUSO’S (2)

Things have changed since 1976 when Joe and Barb Caruso bought their pizzeria, but not their passions— food and family. Back then, Joe worked the kitchen, Barb out front. These days, all three generations of Carusos work some nights cooking up the family’s recipes of pizza and pasta. The extensive menu also lists trendier versions of Italian fare. Parmigiana comes layered with tender chicken, veal or eggplant. Guests with gusto opt for the too-big-to-hold sausage roll, a concoction of meat, mushrooms, sauce, and cheese baked to a golden brown. House-made blueberry ice cream accompanies the mascarpone cake. That freshness extends to the look: Gone is the red, white and blue siding. Now, stone and stucco hint at the Tuscan decor of rustic-color walls lit by wrought-iron chandeliers above guests warmed by a stone fireplace. www.carusos-restaurant.com

  • Email
    info@lakes101.org
  • Telephone
    (260) 833-2617
CLAY’S FAMILY RESTAURANT

CLAY’S FAMILY RESTAURANT

 

The white clapboard exterior of Clay’s could be mistaken for someone’s home. In a sense, that’s what it’s been for diners over the past 65 years. Wooden tables and plaid curtains are homey touches, and there’s plenty of delicious homestyle cooking to keep the parking lot full. Dig into plates of tenderloins and fish, or opt for the reasonably priced soup-and-salad bar. Rookies may fall into the trap of eating too much before dessert; regulars save room for slices of from-scratch fruit and cream pies. The specialty Oops! pie is a dense treat with pecans and chocolate chips. On weekends, employees fuss like mothers at Christmas to make sure the buffet chafing dishes are full of scrambled eggs, corned beef hash, link and patty sausages, bacon, pancakes, French toast, and biscuits and gravy. Even if Fremont isn’t home base, you’re always welcome here.

MAD ANTHONY’S LAKEVIEW ALEHOUSE & RECEPTION HALL

MAD ANTHONY’S LAKEVIEW ALEHOUSE & RECEPTION HALL

 

The phrase “Peace, Love and Hoppiness” graces the front of the menu; it’s a fitting motto for this laid-back pub. Three friends with a passion for craft beer and food share the love in this fourth iteration of Mad Anthony’s, which has a reputation for pub grub with a twist. A 10-inch baked tortilla forms the crust for Unwraps, pizzas topped with spicy jambalaya, Philly steak or a garden of veggies. Whatever you have piled on your Unwrap, there’s a perfect house brew for pairing. Can’t decide? Order a sampler of six 3-ounce pours, including the refreshing Raspberry Wheat. During your pursuit of hoppiness, enjoy lakefront views from a picnic table in the beer garden on the bank of Lake James. A peaceful experience under the string lights includes an indulgent slice of turtle cheesecake or triple-layer chocolate cake. 

THE CAPTAIN’S CABIN

THE CAPTAIN’S CABIN

A classic date-night atmosphere flows throughout this two-story log cabin on the southern bank of Crooked Lake. Wood-paneled walls, candlelit tables and a stone fireplace with flickering logs set the tone for an intimate evening. Diners toast the romantic waterfront view with classic martinis served in stainless-steel glasses while perusing the menu of old-school surf and turf. What’s not to love about options like tender shrimp in a kicky cocktail sauce, single or twin rock lobster tails and New York Strip steak with house-made steak sauce? Sides of mashed potatoes made zippy with horseradish and signature blue cheese coleslaw pair beautifully with the artfully prepared entrees. Experienced waitstaff check in regularly to make sure guests are enjoying every savory moment at this special-occasion destination.

THE HATCHERY

THE HATCHERY

Change is in the air at downtown Angola’s fine-dining establishment. A 2014 rebranding of The Hatchery turned the place from a more exclusive establishment with strict dress code into a place where everyone’s welcome. Don’t be mistaken: The two-story redbrick building still houses a quality atmosphere with white tablecloths and a fireplace. But now you can choose your level of formality, from a casual deck and lounge to the upscale dining room. No matter where you sit, a refreshed culinary lineup will satisfy you. Starters include an addictive pairing of bacon-wrapped scallops and sweet potato fries. House sauces elevate dishes like wine-cherry glazed Indiana duckling and the dill-caper sauce that marries a French baked potato. Hand-cut steaks and flown-in seafood round out the new menu that adds a dash of spice to Angola’s dining scene.

The Historic Dining Room

The Historic Dining Room

Full-size canoes hang upside down from the ceiling, and miniature ones top tables at this home-style restaurant within The Potawatomi Inn at Pokagon State Park. The playful atmosphere caters to park-going families, some of whom make the Grille a tradition thanks to its outstanding Sunday brunch buffet. Navigate a culinary river of fried chicken, biscuits and gravy, crispy bacon, made-to-order omelets and pillowy DIY waffles. Guests can also order from the extensive menu of aged steaks, regional fish (lake perch, walleye and blue gill), meat loaf and burgers. While you’re waiting for the food to arrive—or if you just need a break between plates— bring out your inner child by coloring the paper table coverings with provided crayons. You’ll leave happily full, but calorie-burning activities abound here, including hiking, biking and, of course, canoeing. 

TIMBERS STEAKHOUSE AND SEAFOOD

TIMBERS STEAKHOUSE AND SEAFOOD

A sign billing steaks and seafood hangs on the A-frame log building just off Angola’s main drive. And mounted animal heads inside complete the hunting lodge look. But the menu offers more than your stereotypical American foods, it’s a world tour of surprises. Tried-and-true appetizers include loaded cheese fries alongside rumaki (baconwrapped chicken livers) and balls of sauerkraut, ground beef and sausage. Order your catch-of-the-day one of five ways, including Japanese-style, with sesame and pickled ginger, or Timbers Style (charbroiled with garlic butter). Mexican specials reign on Wednesdays, and Thursdays feature all things Italian. Want a good steak? Timbers has you covered with five varieties, from an 8-ounce ribeye to a 20-ounce porterhouse. Still hungry? They serve hearty breakfasts—pancakes, waffles, three-egg omelets, steak and eggs and more—until 2 p.m. 

TIMBUKTOO’S

TIMBUKTOO’S

Like most mothers, Connie gave her son a solid start. It was her 15 years in the restaurant business and time as owner of the Herb Garden that provided chef Tim Barry the organized base he needed to build his successful, unique place. In 2008, Tim took over the rustic-chic log cabin, where model airplanes hang from the ceiling and baskets perch on wooden beams. Tim’s love affair with cooking began with fish, so it’s no surprise that the menu features a wide range of seafood, including seared ahi tuna, chili-glazed mahimahi, almond-crusted walleye and New England-style crab cakes with homemade remoulade sauce. Steaks, chicken sandwiches and build-your-own burgers leave meat-lovers satisfied. Most satisfying for Barry: Mom still prepares Timbuktoo’s soups and desserts.