PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV
Lafayette’s annual Christmas Parade was held on Saturday, December 3, in downtown Lafayette. More than 100 groups participated in the parade, including schools, businesses, service organizations and community leaders. The parade made its way down Main Street from 11th to Second Street, and the route was packed with festive parade goers dressed for the holiday celebration and the cold December temperatures. The parade’s big names —
Santa and Mrs. Claus — welcomed the crowds and spread holiday cheer as they kicked off the unofficial start to the holiday season.
BY KATHY MATTER
PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV
In bright pink script neon, high on the wall of Mary Lou Donuts’ new eastside Lafayette flagship store, four words say it all:
Eat more hole foods
In the friendly but competitive world of donut baking in Greater Lafayette everyone — from Cassidy Kitchel, who makes gluten-free and vegan donuts at Rose Market in downtown Lafayette to Debbie and Tom Corlew, who quietly run the area’s second oldest, and very traditional, donut shop on Veterans Memorial Parkway — agrees on that adage.
While donuts of varying types, and freshness, can be found in pretty much every gas station, convenience store and food market plus national donut chains, area pastry lovers loyally seek out and abundantly support the Corlew Donut Company, Hammer Donuts, Mary Lou Donuts and Rose Market in Lafayette and The Homestead in West Lafayette.
Chances are good there’s at least one name on this list you’ve never heard of, so let’s meet these folks. And when you’re done reading this, put these stops on your morning calendar. Nothing tastes better than donuts and cider in the fall!
Stop 1: Corlew Donut Company
Make this stop one because while you’re on the southside you can also pick up cider at locally owned Wea Creek Orchard, 5618 S. 200 East.
Tom Corlew, the shy baking genius behind the donuts here, prefers for his wife, Debbie, to do the talking. You might be shy too if you spent every night, six nights a week from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. by yourself making donuts.
“He’s 65 and started baking as a teenager. It’s all he’s ever done,” Debbie says. Originally, he worked for Payless in Anderson as a baker, then was asked to move to Lafayette to manage baking production at Payless stores here. “It’s a lot of hard work. You’ve got to know what you’re doing. Donut baking is a skill,” she says.
In 1999 Tom and Debbie decided to open their own southside Lafayette bakery. They’ve never advertised, but word of mouth brings in a steady stream of people. “Our donuts speak for themselves,” says Debbie. “The southside is booming and our business just keeps getting bigger.
“Our donuts are fresh every day. We don’t sell day-old donuts and we never freeze them. You can’t freeze donuts and make them taste good.”
Every night anywhere from 70 to 140 dozen donuts and pastries roll out of Tom’s kitchen. Weekends draw the most customers through the doors of this true mom and pop operation. Debbie, Tom and son Thomas do it all. After most of the donuts are baked, Debbie comes in at 3:30 a.m. to fill and ice them. Thomas makes the icing and glazes the super light yeast rings.
Besides the quintessential glazed yeast ring, best sellers at Corlew include tiger tails, long johns, apple fritters and jelly Bismarcks. With their mandate to bake fresh daily, “we can’t have all those weird, different donuts that we’d just have to throw away. We just go with what’s popular,” Debbie says.
Corlew Donut Company is open 5 to 11 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Look for them next to the Arco gas station on the corner of 18th and Veterans Memorial Parkway.
Stop 2: Hammer Donuts
If you’re looking for crazy, whimsical donuts, look no further than Hammer Donuts, which got its start in the now defunct Discount Den on Purdue’s campus five years ago but, since January, scents the air on Lafayette’s Main Street.
And, no, the owner’s name is not Hammer, as is often asked. Think “Boiler Up! Hammer Down!” and you’ve got it. The Taiwanese owners, Michael Cho and Cecilia Chiu, majored in engineering at Purdue, moonlighting in donut making.
In October 2017 an ambitious Purdue student, Tate Schienbein, taught himself to make donuts, built a team and started selling donuts to Purdue students through the Discount Den on campus. Michael joined as a donut chef a year later, later adding the title of general manager. A sugary tangle of circumstances iced by COVID issues nearly put the fledgling business out of business until Michael and Cecilia took a leap of faith and rented the space abandoned by Kathy’s Kandies.
On any given day you might find an elegant crème brulee donut or a kid-friendly Lucky Charms donut looking back at you from the glass case. For Valentine’s Day baker Cho and his staff painstakingly hand-cut donuts into hearts, and at the holidays they’ll carve out a handful of Christmas shapes and decorate them with multicolored icing. Have a special occasion, like a gender reveal, you want a donut for? They are your bakers.
Hopping across the river brought unexpected challenges. Temperatures and humidity levels in the kitchen demand constant watching in the donut making process, Cecilia says. “It was the biggest struggle; even the change of water made a big difference. A wider range of temperatures was OK in our West Lafayette location but we had to be more specific in Lafayette. We had to figure a lot out.”
As engineers they were data driven, and in the end data saved them, nudging changes in mixing times and frying temperatures, among others. They held onto their contract to provide donuts to Circle K gas stations, some campus locations and a lot of churches. “Right now, we’re geared to wholesale and that makes us stable,” Cecilia says, while they build up their walk-in business.
During the week the glass case is filled with more traditional choices. Years of appealing to adventurous college students plays out in the cases on Fridays and Saturdays when you’ll find marvels of modern donut making such as blueberry cheesecake donuts, lemon pie donuts, Samoa donuts inspired by Girl Scout cookies, S’more donuts with a marshmallow in the hole or Voo Doo donuts, which have to be seen to be appreciated.
Hammer Donuts is located at 611 Main St., Lafayette. Hours: 6 a.m.- 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday.
Stop 3: Mary Lou Donuts
Mary Lou Donuts opened the doors of its tiny A-frame bakery restaurant on South Fourth street in 1961. In the 61 years since, four different owners have opened new chapters in the venerable business.
Give Mary Lou and Stu Graves, who also operated Graves Bakery on the West Lafayette Levee, credit for originating the iconic Lafayette business. They gave the store its name and its donut recipes. Then came the Keith Cochran era, followed by the Brian Freed era. When former Jefferson High School math teacher and girls’ basketball coach Jeff Waldon took over in June 2017 he wanted his era to be marked by modernization and growth. “It’s an honor to carry on what the other three did for the community,” Waldon says.
Immediately Waldon began overdue planning for a bigger facility and this April opened a 4,000-square-foot bakery restaurant on Commerce Drive behind the Olive Garden. Initially visions of a bigger A-frame flooded his dreams, but builders nixed that idea. What emerged was a big, white happy donut box of a building with huge hot pink and turquoise polka dots sprinkled all over it, mindful of the sprinkled donuts inside. Ample kitchen space allowed him to make a million-dollar investment in an automated donut fryer. Soon a robot will be “hired” for its light touch that keeps donuts from flattening out in a key part of the automated process.
None of the time-tested recipes have changed, but Waldon acknowledges that a slightly different taste might be noticed beneath the glaze. Shortly after he took over “the FDA mandated the elimination of all trans fats in frying. It does change the taste a bit,” he says. Still, it hasn’t stopped people coming in the doors and walking out with polka dot boxes full of treats.
“With the new machinery we can produce 250 to 300 dozen donuts an hour, eight times what the old store could do,” he says. Customers used to complain that they couldn’t get enough cream horns because the original bakery could only produce 120 a week. Now the number is closer to 500 a week.
This fall you’ll find Mary Lou Donuts and their polka dot boxes replacing Kroger’s products in all the local Payless stores, another mark of Waldon’s expansion plans. His dreams are now filled with visions of a huge bakery in the Indianapolis area that would allow Mary Lou Donuts to be in all the Kroger stores there. He’s actively working on making that dream come true. “My job is to expand the business to honor all the people who put in hard work before me,” he says.
Locations for Mary Lou Donuts are at 1830 S. Fourth St. and 4150 Commerce Dr., Lafayette. Hours for both are 5 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday.
Stop 4: The Homestead
Although the glass front donut case fills just a small corner of West Lafayette’s Homestead, known for its foods to go as well as its breakfast and lunch business, the donuts are a point of pride in the store.
That’s because each and every cake and yeast donut is hand rolled, cut, fried, filled and frosted, something full-service restaurants rarely do. “We keep it fairly simple — basic customer favorites,” says owner Jody Bahler. “It’s just an enhancement for our business.”
Homestead’s flagship store calls Remington home and that’s where the donuts are made each night, Monday through Friday. Then they’re driven to West Lafayette in time for that store’s opening at 7 a.m. Three days a week they’re also delivered to Franciscan Hospital.
“We taught ourselves how to do it,” she says. “Friends of ours own a donut shop in southern Michigan and we watched their process (which takes 5-6 hours) then tweaked it for us. Labor is the most expensive thing in a donut.
“It’s so much fun. Yes, it is!” Jody says. “I like doing the finishing touches.”
High on the list of Homestead favorites sits a maple bacon long john. Bacon dusted with sugar caramelizes in a frying pan before nestling into its home in the long john’s creamy maple icing. “Long john” is a Midwest term for a bar-shaped donut, probably taken from long underwear worn on the farm in the winter, although no one knows for sure how it became attached to a donut.
Stepping outside the box, Jody has even constructed tiered wedding cakes out of donuts. For special events the restaurant will provide a big board with pegs on it with, of course, a donut on every peg so attendees can grab and munch.
Because donuts are best fresh, Homestead reduces its prices at 3 p.m. daily for any still left in the case. “You can fill a box for $5, but it’s always a risk.”
She offers a tip for making a donut bought late in the day taste like it just came out of the fryer. “I suggest popping it in the microwave for 5-7 seconds. It’ll taste like it’s just out of the fryer.”
The Homestead is located at 1550 Win Hentschel Blvd., West Lafayette. Hours: 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday.
Stop 5: Rose Market
Cassidy Kitchel was working at The Arts Federation when her parents first opened Rose Market, but she came on board as a baker in January and her gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan donuts have quickly put the small Main Street shop on the map.
A self-described health nut, she’s been creating and tweaking recipes for more than a decade, ever since her son was diagnosed with celiac disease as a toddler. “I baked my own stuff because you couldn’t find it, and when you did it was too expensive.”
There’s science and a lot of practice behind each donut in her glass case, which beckons buyers, a colorful treat for the eyes as well as a tasty treat for the tummy. “Being gluten and dairy free takes lots of practice but I think I’ve perfected it,” Cassidy says. Even folks who are not gluten free find the taste surprisingly delightful, something they don’t have to lie about liking.
Cassidy feels her grandmother Dolores Rose, for whom the store is named, has become a cooking angel watching over her shoulder. “I was really close to her. She found so much joy in cooking for others and I really channel her. Love comes through in what you bake,” she says. “I can feel her with me.”
Her joy comes in seeing donut-deprived celiac kids go crazy over a bright blue Cookie Monster donut with bulging eyes. “When they haven’t had it, or can’t have it, and are finally able to pick something out, it makes me so happy,” she says. “I’ve had people literally stand in front of the case and cry to have this in our community.”
That includes treat lovers of all ages who have allergies, need to eat dairy free or eat vegan. When they go to a regular bakery there’s often just one choice they can eat, or more often, no treats at all.
Cassidy takes pride in using cage-free eggs, high-quality flour and top of the line ingredients all through her process. There are no artificial dyes in Cookie Monster’s blue icing. All her rich colors come from plant-based superfood powders. Even the colored sprinkles can boast of being dye free, perfect for kids who have allergies to food dyes.
Although Rose Market offers donuts all week, the widest selection fills the case on Saturdays. French toast, coffeecake and streusel donuts are among the best sellers along with perennial favorite blueberry. Every time you go there’s likely to be a new treat staring back at you, such as a stuffed donut that’s a play on strawberry shortcake with vegan whipped cream and fresh strawberries on top.
Vanilla donuts provide the base for ice cream sandwiches with non-dairy chocolate ice cream, a dollop of vegan whip, a drizzle of chocolate syrup and sprinkles. Also in the freezer case you can find gluten-free biscuits and gravy.
Because Cassidy’s donuts are baked, not fried, you can pop them into the freezer and expect them to come out just as fresh as they went in.
Word of the business has spread quickly on social media, generating a loyal base of kids and adults that come in weekly and “we have new people every week too. I think we’ve just scratched the surface,” Cassidy says.
During the interview for this story a Mexican baker, owner of a bakery in the Yucatan who was visiting relatives in the states, happened upon Rose Market and walked out with a small box of donuts. Ten minutes later she was back extolling their virtues and asking Cassidy for a gluten-free baking lesson. “The donuts are amazing. They taste so good and they’re beautiful,” exclaimed Maru Medina. “Oprah needs to find you.”
Rose Market is located at 816 Main St., Lafayette. Hours: Monday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. ★
BY KEN THOMPSON
From humble beginnings
50 years ago inside an old church building, the Lyn Treece Boys and Girls Club has been a welcoming embrace for Greater Lafayette’s children.
Treece was a Lafayette businessman whose interests included Burger Chef franchises. He was one of the original owners of the Indiana Pacers when the team joined the American Basketball Association in 1967.
He paid $30,000 for the former Riverside Church of God, located on North Ninth Street across from the then-Tippecanoe Junior High, to set up the first Boys Club in Lafayette. Steady growth during the next six years led Treece to put $100,000 toward a new building that opened at 1529 N. 10th St. in 1980.
An early member of the Boys Club was one of five brothers living with a divorced mother and on welfare.
“My lifetime has been with the club,” says Barry Richard, executive director of the Lyn Treece Boys and Girls Club.
“The Boys Club allowed me to develop the areas I needed to, to then become a member of the Lafayette Police Department, become the sheriff, become a city councilman, county councilman, be able to do all the things I’ve done.”
With pride, Richard gave a tour of the building that he says is unlike most Boys and Girls Clubs across the United States.
Walk inside the door and to the left are rows of tables and chairs designed to be used by 60 to 100 children a day to do their homework.
“Typically, when you go into a Boys and Girls Club you’ll see a pool table, ping pong table, foosball, air hockey. We prioritize academics,” Richard says. “This is set up as our academic hall. We help them with their homework after they’ve had their snack. We have certified teachers come in to help them.”
That’s not the only academic space in the building. Thanks to the generosity of SIA associates in 2012, a learning theater room is available for smaller groups.
“We can conduct lessons and help the children in a classroom setting,” Richard says.
The Lyn Treece Boys and Girls Club also prepares children for life outside the classroom. Richard says Lafayette is the only Boys and Girls Club in the U.S. to have an area dedicated to a barber shop/beauty shop. It even has a replica barber pole outside the door.
“To help children with their self-esteem and their personal hygiene, I thought it would be neat to have our own barber shop/beauty shop,” Richard says of the shop, which is stocked with everything one would see at a local establishment. Volunteers take care of the services, which are free to the children.
There’s even a laundry room inside the club, where staff members teach children how to use a washer and dryer.
It’s not all work and no play, though. There are enough board games to stock a toy store. A multipurpose room is used for arts and crafts and includes a TV set. Meals can be eaten in the room, too.
An old locker room has been converted into a game room, where the Boys and Girls Club standard air hockey, foosball and pool tables are located along with video games.
“We’ve utilized our building to the full capacity,” Richard says. “Typically, by mid-winter we’ll have 100-plus children here a day.”
The future at the North 10th Street location includes baseball and soccer fields. Land has been purchased surrounding the Boys and Girls Club and much of it has been cleared of unsightly dilapidated housing.
Open to children ages 6 to 18, the club offers an annual membership for little to no cost. For $10 — or 83 cents a month, as Richard says — that’s the only expense families will pay at the Boys and Girls Club. Scholarships are available for families that cannot afford to send multiple children.
“Beyond that, there’s never any charge,” Richard says. “They don’t pay for programs, snacks, meals, field trips. Nothing.”
The Boys and Girls Club expanded its services in 1999 to the former Tahoe Swim Club on Beck Lane in Lafayette. With expansion of that facility, which includes a game room, a gym and two academic spaces, approximately 100 students are welcomed daily.
A third location on land at South and 23rd streets is nearing the fund-raising stage. Richard expects that club to serve 150-plus students from the surrounding Murdock, Sunnyside and Oakland schools as well as the Columbian Park neighborhood where Richard grew up.
“It’s going to be amazing,” Richard says. It’s going to have two gyms, game rooms, arts and crafts, personal hygiene area, the learning theater, the academic support.”
Richard estimates that once funding is in place, construction would take 18 to 24 months.
“I want to make our facilities, our organization their Disney World,” he says. “The children we serve don’t get to go to Disney World. This is some of the highlight of their childhood, that they know it is a safe place to come and they’ll be taken care of.
“We’ll make sure they get their homework done, that they have the Christmas presents, the acknowledgment of them doing well. We’re going to fill that void in their life, to let them know that they have self-worth and they are able to be successful. To break the cycle and become a giver back to our community. That’s what we all need.”
The cycle was broken in the Richard family, and he gives much of the credit to the Boys and Girls Club.
“What I was able to get from the club was that independence and self-worth,” Richard says. “I never thought growing up I had to be rich. My thought was I don’t want to be poor. I know what poor is. What do I need to do not to be poor? The answer was you need to work, you need to be responsible, you need to have a good work ethic, you need to treat others well and you need to have that vision of goal setting to become successful down the road.”
Richard’s children grew up to be a Major League Baseball player/high school coach, a school principal and a teacher.
He has seen others break the cycle, too, when the club was the only positive thing in their lives. They’ve become businessmen, police officers, teachers and members of the armed forces.
“I really do believe that what we are doing with our programs, our discipline, our structure, our caring, our academic support, is developing those next generations to be the leaders of our community,” Richard says. ★
BY RADONNA FIORINI
PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV
Pandemic pups. COVID kittens. Lock-down lizards. Many of us acquired new pets in the last three years as we spent more time at home, cuddling in front of screens. But we’re now venturing out and looking for venues that also welcome our fur babies.
From parks to trails to restaurants with outdoor dining, Tippecanoe County offers many places to explore with pets.
Brad and Heidi Harner have been taking their dogs to Prophetstown State Park since it opened near Battleground in 2004. They like what state parks have to offer and were excited to explore the native prairie and wooded paths that make Prophetstown unique.
“The wide open spaces are wonderful, especially prior to any weather events,” the Lafayette couple explains in an email exchange. “The subtle seasonal changes of the prairie are beautiful to see and learn about. We love the variety of walking through the woods, circling a pond, out in the fields and down around the marshes.”
For many years and in all seasons, the couple took Lucy, a rat terrier, and Joey, a beagle/border collie mix, to explore the more than 18 miles of trails at Prophetstown. And some of those jaunts were more exciting than others.
“One cold late autumn hike, Joey mistook the stillness of the pond for a grassy field and went plunging in head first (Joey was not a “water dog” in the least!),” recounts Brad Harner. “After his (and our) initial shock, he was able to get out quickly without me having to go in and get him.”
Joey and Lucy are no longer living, but the Harners sometimes take their current corgi/Jack Russell mix, Meghan, to Prophetstown and other area parks and trails. Because Meghan is not as socialized as their previous dogs, the couple is more cautious about taking her out where they might encounter other dogs.
Knowing your pets and how they interact with others is important when deciding to visit the park, says Prophetstown Office Manager Kristin Sauder. Every Indiana state park has similar requirements for pet owners coming out for the day:
• All pets, no matter the species, must be on a six-foot or shorter leash at all times
• The park has a “carry-in, carry-out” policy, so you must clean up your pet’s waste and take it with
you out of the park. There are no trash receptacles available
• You’ll pay an entrance fee
• Animals are not allowed in any enclosed building at Prophetstown, or any state park, and can’t
go into the Aquatic Center. Service animals are welcome in some buildings
• If your pet becomes a nuisance, you may be asked to leave the park
The leash law is in place to protect your pet, as well as wildlife and other visitors, Sauder says. She remembers an incident in which a dog on a very long leash wandered into tall grass and had an unfortunate encounter with a snake. Visitors should keep their animals in sight and stay on the trails to avoid unexpected encounters with wildlife.
The park also allows overnight camping, and lots of people bring pets with them, but owners should never leave their pets unattended.
“Keep them with you,” Sauder says. “We once had a dog get loose and it was running around the campground. It escaped from a pop-up camper while the owners were at the Aquatic Center and (park personnel) had a hard time finding them.”
For more information about visiting Indiana state parks with your pets, go to https://secure.in.gov/dnr/state-parks/property-rules-and-regulations/pet-rules/
Knowing your pets and how they interact with others is important when deciding to visit the park, says Prophetstown Office Manager Kristin Sauder. Every Indiana state park has similar requirements for pet owners coming out for the day:
The leash law is in place to protect your pet, as well as wildlife and other visitors, Sauder says. She remembers an incident in which a dog on a very long leash wandered into tall grass and had an unfortunate encounter with a snake. Visitors should keep their animals in sight and stay on the trails to avoid unexpected encounters with wildlife.
The park also allows overnight camping, and lots of people bring pets with them, but owners should never leave their pets unattended.
“Keep them with you,” Sauder says. “We once had a dog get loose and it was running around the campground. It escaped from a pop-up camper while the owners were at the Aquatic Center and (park personnel) had a hard time finding them.”
For more information about visiting Indiana state parks with your pets, go to https://secure.in.gov/dnr/state-parks/property-rules-and-regulations/pet-rules/
City and county parks
Fall is a beautiful time to explore the 25 parks and public facilities in Lafayette with your pet, the more than 1,200 acres of parks and trails in Tippecanoe County, and the 460 acres of recreational areas in West Lafayette.
Samantha Haville, marketing manager for Lafayette Parks and Recreation, says all the city parks are pet friendly and most feature pet waste stations with bags and trash cans. There are six miles of paved trails and many more unpaved in the city limits.
Other city recreational facilities welcome dogs at certain times of the year. No pups are allowed in the city pools except during the annual Pooch Plunge, held at Castaway Bay at the end of every summer season. Pets are not typically allowed at Loeb Stadium in Columbian Park, but once a summer the Aviators baseball team sponsors Bark at the Park, when dogs are invited in, Haville says.
Only service animals are allowed in the Columbian Park Zoo because pets can be upsetting to the full-time zoo residents, Haville says. And not even service animals are allowed in the Wallaby Walkabout exhibit or the IU Health Family Farm that includes a petting zoo.
For a complete list of city parks and trails, go to http://www.lafayette.in.gov/408/Parks-Trails
Tippecanoe County Director of Parks Randy Lower says most county parks are open to pets, but he encourages pet owners to be considerate of other park goers and the park staff charged with maintaining the properties.
“By all means, clean up after your pet,” Lower says. “As an example of what can happen, we have soccer fields at the (Tippecanoe County) Amphitheater and Davidson Park, and those are wide open spaces where people like to walk their dogs. It’s tough for the poor people who come out to play soccer when they first have to clean up the fields.”
And the maintenance crews are not happy when they have to clean poop off their mower blades at the end of the day.
“Just use common sense and be cognizant of other people,” Lower advises.
While the county website does not have a comprehensive list of trails, you can find that information at https://www.alltrails.com/us/indiana/lafayette
West Lafayette boasts more than 460 acres of recreational areas, picnic grounds, nature trails and playgrounds. Included is the beautiful Celery Bog Nature Area, replete with native plants and wildlife and about five miles of trails. Using good pet etiquette is important when visiting these natural spaces that already are home to wild animals.
Happy Hollow Park is a city favorite with families and their fur babies. With two miles of trails and footpaths, picnic areas, accessible playgrounds and restrooms, this park near the city’s heart has features to please the entire family.
Maps and more information about West Lafayette parks and trails are available on the city website, https://www.westlafayette.in.gov/parks/
All local parks and trails require the same common sense behavior: keep your pet on a six-foot or shorter leash; clean up your pet’s waste and deposit it in a trash receptacle; make sure water is available on site or bring some with you, keep aggressive animals at home. Both Lafayette and West Lafayette also have dog parks, where dogs can play off-leash.
Many local restaurants with outdoor patios welcome pets. A quick call to the restaurant can confirm whether or not pets are welcome in their outdoor spaces.
The spacious, shaded patio at Teay’s River in Lafayette has hosted many dogs and even a few cats, says Manager Molly Sundquist.
“We have water available and we welcome pets outside,” she says. “They have to be on a leash, even the cats, but people are welcome to bring them.”
Downtown Lafayette eateries Red Seven and East End Grill also welcome well-behaved dogs and make water available for furry companions. In West Lafayette, Brokerage Brewing Company and Café Literato have patio spaces where animals are allowed.
Consider the weather before going since many patios are concrete and your precious pet could overheat if not in the shade. The American Kennel Club also recommends taking a big bag of treats with you, so your pup doesn’t feel left out of the feast.
Animals that are well-socialized may enjoy a trip to a restaurant patio, but be clear-eyed about making that choice. Dogs that are aggressive or anxious around new people, noises and smells should be left at home.
And just remember that not everyone loves animals as much as you do. Some diners may be skittish about sitting next to Fido or Fluffy, so be considerate of other diners, the wait staff and your fluffy family member. ★
BY JILLIAN ELLISON
PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV
Arms stretched forward, face down on a rolled-out floor mat, instructor Betsy Totty asks her yoga class members to take a deep breath and slowly exhale, timing their breathing to match the in’s and out’s. In the studio at Community Yoga, Totty wants the group of a dozen people to take the time to familiarize themselves with their own bodies, the same ones that serve them each day.“Listen to what your body is telling you,” Totty says. “Are you feeling any areas that feel a little tighter today? How have you thanked your body for carrying you through this week?”
Something newcomers to yoga classes don’t often realize is that not only is the hour-long session an exercise of the body, but more importantly it’s an exercise of the mind, says Jacqueline Allen-Magers, owner of Community Yoga in Lafayette. There are physical benefits to yoga, of course, she explains, but the practice of vinyasa yoga – the yoga her studio’s classes focus on — works to calm your nervous system.
“Our lives are very go, go, go, and when your sensory perception is bombarded, that’s when we become overly stimulated,” Allen-Magers says. “Practicing yoga does the opposite. It’s trying to turn your perception inward, calming your nerves, leaving you feeling lighter, both mentally and physically.”
While yoga studios across Greater Lafayette offer different versions of the practice, they are all supportive of each other’s goals: breaking down obstacles that exist around yoga, working to make it an inclusive environment.
Finding your Zen
A quick internet search to find out just how many forms of yoga there are will make your head spin. Courtney Biancofiori, co-owner of Society Yoga, isn’t interested in putting a label on what her studio offers.
“Focusing on a specific type of yoga in the studio, I feel, takes away from the entire Yogi narrative,” Biancofiori says. “It is all yoga, and I want to break down the barriers that hold the average person out on the street back from walking in here, taking some time to destress and sweat a bit and find a sense of belonging.”
Across the Wabash River at HOTWORX, co-owner Megan Wilson says sweating it out won’t take you long. Offering virtually instructed classes in its studios, HOTWORX offers “Hot Yoga,” a 30-minute isometric workout inside a sauna room. “As the infrared heat penetrates your body causing you to sweat, the isometric postures further accelerate detoxification by physically removing the toxins from your organs through muscle contraction,” Wilson explains.
While they try not to label classes at Society Yoga, Biancofiori and co-owner Kim Barrett say if you’re looking for a class in a style you’re accustomed to at other studios, they can help you find it, and possibly more.
From low intensity up to what Barrett calls a “Society Sculpt” class, classes featuring different equipment offer the opportunity for newcomers to dip their toes into the practice of yoga, which for Biancofiori, boils down to linking our breathing with the body’s movements.
“Everyone’s idea of relaxation is different. Some people might not be able to sit in a meditative pose for a long period of time,” Biancofiori says. “They might find meditation through push-ups. I find my Zen just by sweating it out.”
Bridging people through yoga
For the past seven years, Be Moved Power Yoga has hosted “Yoga On The Bridge” across the John T. Myers Pedestrian Bridge, and for owner Anita Trent, watching as people come from the two cities to meet in the middle builds the definition of community for her.
“Our community in Greater Lafayette is so special, because it is one so rich in culture and varying levels of experience,” Trent says. “To watch these people come together from all corners of the world is something I love and look forward to.”
There is always room for growth and improvement, however, Trent says, as she aims to create a more inclusive space for all in her studio. “We are a wonderful and unique group of female teachers, but what I would love in our studio is to see some more diversity in our teaching team,” she explains.
“I am very interested in bringing on more gender diversity as we continue to maintain a friendly, open space. If you’re willing to work hard and you’re willing to sweat, then you’re going to fit in great here.”
Trent says she was introduced to practicing yoga as a child, when her mom would leave early in the morning for work and would turn on PBS, which ran “Lilias, Yoga and You.” Into adulthood, she ran half marathons and played soccer, but after a knee injury put her on the sidelines, a friend who’d become a yoga instructor encouraged her to come to a class to start slowly easing back into fitness. Getting back into the motions of yoga for Trent was like a flood of memories, reinspiring her love for the practice.
That moment of memory and clarity on her yoga mat several years ago is something she hopes to bring to all who walk through her doors, and she knows her colleagues across Greater Lafayette strive for that, too.
“Yoga gives us the tools on how to be really clear about who we are and who we’ve been, but it also helps find clarity in simply loving ourselves and doing good for our bodies,” Trent says. “In yoga, we are working to take the next best step, and here in Greater Lafayette, we have so many amazing people teaching yoga and bringing that good into our community.” ★
BY CINDY GERLACH
PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV
Need a place to pick up a quick lunch to take to your desk? How about a snack, or groceries for dinner? … Downtown Lafayette is now home to three markets, each with its own personality and niche for the urban shopper.
Bistro Market & Deli
115 N. Fifth St.
If you’re looking for elegance and a European shopping experience downtown, step into Bistro Market & Deli. The former Lahr atrium has been transformed into an upscale, French-themed market, with wares to match. As a bonus, the space was designed to historically honor the former Lahr Hotel — the current layout mirrors the way space was used more than a century ago, with vintage photos in the foyer as evidence.
The bodega has a variety of offerings — everything from a coffee bar with bagels (imported from New York City), fresh local produce, a deli counter, refillable oils and vinegars, and international foods.
The space fills a specific need downtown says Mary Buckley, who, along with her daughters, Theresa and Cheyenne, owns and operates both the market and Bistro 501 next door. Buckley knew that with downtown residency at an all-time high — and with construction looming — the demographic of young urban professionals and empty nesters would welcome a downtown market. So the three went to work to determine how to make such an idea a success.
“There’s a difference between a dream and business,” Buckley says. “What does the area need and what do you know?”
The pandemic interrupted their plans to expand into the atrium, but it also gave them a chance to plan with great intention. They were able to carefully survey the space and look for exactly the right layout, along with finding appropriate furniture and fixtures.
The result is a charmingly customized space, with walls in Cape Cod blue, an elaborate iron entry gate (also locally crafted), and an eclectic feel.
But it’s more than just a market — it’s a place to visit, to relax. There is a seating area upstairs — where hotel guests would have sat a century ago — and down, so patrons may sit and sip their coffee and eat their sandwich or salad, using the WiFi. There is a table to play checkers and an area to read the newspaper.
The vibe is friendly and inviting — even dogs are welcome. Customers can find groceries to cook their own meals, or they can pick up sandwiches or pre-prepared dinner for two. You can find products for a gift box, with fun and quirky items available — everything from toys for children to sauces to charcuterie boards — or even cleaning supplies from the Broom Closet.
The Buckleys have a commitment to excellence and to supporting small business. As a women-owned and operated business, it works with local vendors and with other small businesses.
The market can be a bit overwhelming, Buckley says, as it does not use traditional overhead signage. So, she says, patrons should ask an associate if they need assistance finding anything. Parking can be a challenge, she knows, but if customers park in the city parking garage, the market will refund the parking fee and offers curbside pickup — do your shopping, leave your cart, go get your car, and come back for valet grocery service.
The market is open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. every day but Tuesday, and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays. Mondays are market days, with special sales. And if you don’t see what you want, the market can get it for you in 72 hours.
Buckley says the market’s business is booming, and she is pleased with the role they can play downtown.
“We really took a page from the past and brought it into the present, hoping for a successful future.”
Specialty Food Market & Apothecary
816 Main St.
If you’re shopping downtown with dietary needs, look no further than Rose Market.
Owner Tracy Deno says the first mission of the market was to be a haven for people who need allergen-friendly foods. But it has expanded to also feature items that are non-GMO and organic. It has a large selection of gluten-free foods — for the gluten intolerant crowd, shopping can be difficult, as gluten can be a hidden ingredient in so many foods — even in places that seem unlikely.
Rose Market fills that niche. It offers a wide variety of healthy, tasty foods.
“We try to focus on the ingredients,” Deno says. “We don’t like a lot of junk.”
She even offers gluten-free and vegan donuts, which have been a big hit. (See story on Page 48.) People are surprised to find formerly unsafe foods available to them.
“We’ve had people get emotional,” Deno says.
Rose Market is committed to being environmentally friendly. It offers sustainable cleaning products, which can be refilled. And it is committed to maintaining health without an abundance of chemicals, so the market sells personal care and wellness items that are natural as well.
400 Main St.
Friendly Market, the newest arrival on the downtown scene, is a basic convenience store, offering its patrons quick snacks, drinks and amenities.
The store, at the corner of Fourth and Main, has a full offering of candy, snacks and beverages. If you’re looking to grab a quick drink, this is your stop. It has a full soda fountain as well as canned beverages of all types.
Food offerings are limited, but Friendly Market does have some canned and frozen foods. It also carries an assortment of cleaning items and household necessities.
Coffee is available, as is a space in which to drink it — a small seating area in the front of the store offers newspapers and a view of Main Street. It’s the perfect place to sit, sip coffee and read the news of the day. ★
BY RADONNA FIORINI
While there is nothing resembling a mountain in Tippecanoe County, there is a growing group of local mountain bike enthusiasts who are creating and maintaining trails and opportunities to participate in the sport they love.
The Amphitheater trails are geared for novice riders, although some areas are a bit challenging, he says. There are two sections of trails and even a kid’s loop that is smoother and shorter so young riders can get a feel for the terrain.
There are many possible mountain bike features, but the basic requirement is a bike with a suspension system to soften the jolt of riding over roots and rocks, and a sturdy frame that can take the impact of rough terrain, says Garrett Wass, bike mechanic at Virtuous Cycles in downtown Lafayette.
Wider tires with heavy-duty tread take the bumps better than narrow road bike tires. Working with a professional to determine the best kind of suspension, tires and brakes for the terrain you want to traverse will make your rides more enjoyable, he says.
On a recent June evening, more than 20 TMBA members gathered at the Amphitheater for a weekly ride. The group meets each Wednesday during the warmer months at different trails to ride, practice needed skills and receive updates on upcoming work sessions that keep the area trails in good shape, says Pruitt.
The group was made up of bikers of all ages and experience levels, including Owen Broadstreet, a 14-year-old student from Delphi. His father introduced Owen to the sport when he was 10, and he rides regularly with TMBA.
“This group is really inclusive,” says Broadstreet. “You just show up and you’re in.”
Claire Stirm, who handles events and outreach for TMBA, has been riding for two years, after her husband introduced her to mountain biking. The couple rides together about three times a week, and she particularly enjoys the Wednesday TMBA rides and helping new or inexperienced riders feel comfortable.
The riders split up into groups that start down the trails at staggered times. The fastest, more experienced riders go first, but Stirm often rides with the last group, which is affectionately called the “party pace.” This group may stop to go over techniques needed for certain trail features, and members are happy to wait for slower riders so everyone feels included.
Seth Aichinger, who has been riding mountain bikes for more than 20 years, says being part of TMBA has been life changing. He calls the members “super supportive and friendly” and he appreciates the educational elements that are included on rides.
“There’s always room for improvement and the trails are always changing, so you have to pay attention,” he says. “It’s such an adrenaline rush and the Wednesday group rides are awesome.”
While the Amphitheater trails are a great place to learn the sport, more experienced riders are partial to the trails at Hoffman Nature Area. The six miles of trails in this heavily wooded area off old Indiana 25 west of Americus were cleared and specifically designed for mountain biking by TMBA members. The county parks department oversees the property. It’s a favorite spot for Wass, from the bike shop.
“Hoffman is the best,” Wass says. “It has more advanced features than some of the other trails and was built by mountain bikers, for mountain bikers.”
The Hoffman trail is a loop, and certain features are labeled so bikers can choose to go over the feature, such as a log or steep rock incline, or around it on a separate path, Wass says. In fact, labels have been added to several of the TMBA-maintained trails so bikers can make informed choices as they ride.
Parks Superintendent Lower concurs that the Hoffman trail is popular with more experienced riders, adding that the construction and maintenance of those trails, and others, would not be possible without the work of the TMBA.
“They are always looking to expand and improve the trails,” he says of Pruitt and other members. “We wouldn’t be able to maintain all the trails because we just don’t have the manpower. And some of them run close to the river and creeks, which means the trails change because of erosion. (TMBA members) are out there rerouting them, improving and expanding them.”
When the group first formed, it focused on just keeping the existing trails clear of fallen branches and deadwood, says Pruitt. Now the group meets many Saturdays to clear trails, cut back invasive species, pull weeds and break out new trails.
Another challenging area is the Haan Trail, located off State Street near downtown Lafayette behind the Haan Museum of Indiana Art. A separate, lower section is accessed from Valley Street. Bob and Ellie Haan owned the property and lived in the mansion on the grounds when they became interested in mountain biking after making a trip out west in 1998.
“We got interested in it on that trip and realized it was a skill sport, not an endurance sport,” says Bob Haan. “We came home and started building a trail behind the house so we could learn the skills needed for mountain biking.”
The Haans worked on the trails for about a decade, creating such features as benched areas, bridges, ramps and whoop-de-dos, along with 45-degree drops in the advanced sections. During that time, they made lots of friends in the mountain biking community and in 2011, opened the trails to the public. TMBA has since taken over maintenance of the trails that are connected through Valley Street. The Haans, both in their 70s, continue to enjoy mountain biking and the community that surrounds the sport.
The TMBA also maintains the Murdock Park Trail, owned by the city of Lafayette, and McCormick Woods Trails, just west of the Purdue campus in West Lafayette. Two years ago, the local group was the first state-wide to join the Hoosier Mountain Bike Association, which advocates for the creation of trails in Indiana and natural resource protection.
One of the goals of TMBA is to find ways to connect the different county trail systems so riders can easily get from one to another. The group also is working with such organizations as the Girl Scouts to teach mountain biking skills and safety, and recruit others to help with trail upkeep. ★
BY ANGELA K. ROBERTS
When Retail Therapy owner Alicia Dunbar heard about an upscale shopping district near Indianapolis offering a ladies’ night out promotion with branded shopping bags, she had an idea: What if she and her Greater Lafayette colleagues did something similar, and what if they created reusable bags to dually promote the event and create a more eco-friendly buying experience?
Last July, Dunbar co-launched Girls Gone Local, which takes place the second Thursday of every month. For $10, women can purchase an exclusive tote to carry as they sip, shop and stroll through downtown Lafayette in early evening, at a time when smaller retailers typically are closed.
Instead of getting multiple bags from multiple stores staying open late just for them, women can place all purchases in a single bag. Along the way, they can participate in seasonal experiences, like assembling a bouquet of flowers from various shops or posing for a photo with the Easter Bunny.
The promotional events target a desirable retail demographic: busy women for whom a night out with friends is a rare opportunity. It’s a win-win for local businesses and buyers with a lot of purchasing power.
“We tend to not make time for ourselves,” Dunbar says of women. “We always say ‘Let’s get together soon,’ but we never do it.” Girls Gone Local is something that friends can plan for month after month, she adds – without having to do any of the planning.
Now entering its second year, the event is drawing not only Greater Lafayette residents but also out-of-towners looking for a destination shopping experience.
It’s also attracted some unexpected vendors, such as a chiropractor, a law firm and a dental practice. During April’s gathering, the urban-chic Downtown Dental opened its doors to showcase a waiting room gallery of sunflower photos and offer each woman a single stem to add to her spring bouquet.
To help support local women-owned businesses without a storefront, many participating shops offer pop-up space for selling products such as crepes, popcorn, leather goods and cookies. Restaurants and bars offer specials, too, such as a free treat along with a cocktail.
For up-to-date information on specific businesses that will be open these months, visit:
BY RADONNA FIORINI
PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV
1) A delicatessen specializing in dressed meats and meat dishes, also: the products sold in such a shop (Miriam Webster)
2) The hottest food trend since sliced bread (Everyone)
It’s the perfect food for the age of Instagram, but the practice of serving cured meats and accoutrements on a flat dish is centuries old. Charcuterie originated in France from a time when every bit of fresh meat available was used to create salted, hard sausages or dry-aged meat products that did not require refrigeration.
While the word charcuterie refers specifically to preserved meats (think salami, prosciutto, soppressata), in the last few years it has come to define about any food presented on a board or platter that allows guests to serve themselves.
Charcuterie is a given at Cellar Wine Bistro because it goes so well with wine, says Michelle Wise, who co-owns the downtown Lafayette wine bar with her sister Marla Milner.
“People expect it at a wine bar and we’re the only one in town,” Wise says. “We sell a lot of charcuterie and cheese boards.”
The bistro gets most of its meat from the Indianapolis-based Smoking Goose meatery and serves charcuterie with such interesting ingredients as lamb and elk, along with more traditional pork. European cheeses are on the menu as well as local selections and some from around the Midwest. The cheese and meat boards include lots of extras such as crostini, dried fruit, marcona almonds and house-made spreads.
Few other local restaurants offer charcuterie, but you’ll find it on the menu at The Fowler House Kitchen, and Bistro 501 offers a cheese board that includes house-made crackers, pickles and fruit preserves.
For Hannah Esteban, owner of The Charcutie Girl, charcuterie is both passion and vocation. Esteban fell in love with the idea after visiting Italy in 2016 and began making boards at home for friends and family. After attending Bible college in Oklahoma, Esteban and her husband, Kelson, moved back to Indiana in 2018 and bought her grandparents’ farmhouse in White County.
On Valentine’s week, 2021, she decided to test the retail waters and posted a picture of one of her creations on social media, offering to do custom boards. She was surprised when 60 orders came in, and the online business took off.
“Pretty quickly I thought, ‘Man, if I’m going to do this I have to get permits and licensing and get my business set up through the state,’” Esteban says. “It was kind of overwhelming, and it’s all been a learning process.”
The orders kept flooding in, so she obtained state permits and insurance and earned certification through ServSafe, which teaches food safety and handling procedures. Esteban also found space at a commercial kitchen in Carroll County where she prepares and assembles charcuterie boards, boxes, mini-boxes and even individual cups for corporate events and parties. She also delivers the products she creates.
“It’s very labor intensive,” she says. “I wash every vegetable and piece of fruit, chop it all up, make salami roses, and assemble everything. It’s just a lot of prep work. We have something for everyone now and just put our own twist on it.”
That “something for everyone” statement is not really hyperbole. In January, she began providing snack boxes to the two locally owned Java Jo’z coffee shops, and they frequently sell out. She can prepare vegetarian boards, offers number-shaped boxes for special birthdays and anniversaries, prepares candy and sweet trays and her favorite — grazing tables.
Prepared for a minimum of 30 guests, the grazing tables feature a spectacular array of meat, cheese, bread, crackers, dips and spreads, honey and preserves, veggies, fruit, chocolate and other sweets. They are assembled on site and she sometimes hires a family member or friend to help with assembling such large orders, Esteban says.
Esteban also pairs up with other small businesses to offer classes on creating your own charcuterie boards. For a per-person price, she provides the food and a platter for each one attending, gives instructions, and sends a finished board home with each guest.
This busy entrepreneur is expanding her reach and has secured a lease for space in Market Square Shopping Center on Elmwood Avenue in Lafayette. She plans to open a store there in September that will feature a small café with retail space for gifts and a room for classes and private gatherings. In the meantime, her products can be ordered through her colorful website — thecharcutiegirl.com.
And it’s easier than ever to create your own charcuterie at home. Local stores, from Aldi to Fresh Thyme, offer pre-assembled packs of meat and cheese and a nice selection of salami, summer sausage, cheese, olives and other accompaniments.
If you’re looking for vegetarian or vegan options for a board, look no further than downtown Lafayette’s Rose Market. Owner Tracy Deno has stocked up on such specialty items as fig hard “salami” that is plant-based, gluten free and comes in four flavors. It looks like a cured meat, and has a spicy, fruity flavor that pairs well with cheese.
The store also offers products from Herbivores Butcher, which produces vegan “meat” and dairy-free cheese products. You’ll find shelves of vegan honey, nut butters, spreads, condiments, dipping sauces and pickled vegetables.
“We’ve gone in this direction for those people who are trying to eat differently,” Deno says. “We’re always looking for new products for vegans and vegetarians.”
Rose Market also offers a few charcuterie boards and accessories, so there’s no excuse to not get fancy with your party snacks. ★
BY MEGAN FURST
Wolf Park • wolfpark.org/summer-camps
Wolf Park, an education, conservation and research facility located in Battle Ground, offers Summer Science and Art & Enrichment camps for children of all ages.
Two-day camps are arranged for grades K-8 and vary by theme, date and age group. For example, children in grades 4-5 will explore ecosystems, and children in grades K-1 will learn about the wonders of wildlife in their backyards and beyond.
Education and Advocacy Director Christopher Lile says, “Wolf Park’s summer camps provide a unique opportunity for youth to connect to the rich history of Indiana’s wildlife. Campers learn about wildlife conservation, animal husbandry and how to become wildlife advocates through engaging games, crafts and activities.”
There also are opportunities for teens ages 14-17 to be wildlife advocates in an 8-week volunteer program geared for those interested in pursuing a career in wildlife. An additional opportunity, called Junior Keeper Camp, is a 2-day experience that introduces youth to the field of wildlife conservation where campers will carry out daily keeper duties at Wolf Park.
Lastly, new this summer is Art & Enrichment Camp for grades K-8. Campers will use their artistic skills through nature and conservation-themed projects. The projects will serve as enrichment for several of the animal ambassadors throughout Wolf Park.
“All youth programs focus on empowering the next generation of conservation champions — their voices are essential to ‘Save Wolves, Save Wilderness,’ ” Lile says.
Dance Moves & Gymnastics (DMG) • flipdmg.com/camps
Dance Moves & Gymnastics, also known as DMG, is on Meijer Drive in Lafayette and offers several different summer camp options.
Dance Director & Marketing Manager Kaitlyn Williams says, “DMG is the place to be for summer camps, starting at age 18 months with Mommy and Me camps though school-age children.”
Three-day camps feature different themes including princess, adventure island, jungle gym and Olympic dreams. One-day Mommy and Me camps also are themed and geared for toddlers from 18 months to 3 years old.
“We have dance, gymnastics and baton twirling with fun performances. Come help us celebrate 40 years of DMG this summer,” says Williams.
For youth interested in cheerleading or baton twirling, campers have the opportunity to perform at a Lafayette Aviators baseball game at Loeb Stadium. Registration for all DMG summer camps begins in April.
Greater Lafayette Commerce Robotics in Manufacturing
Organized by Greater Lafayette Commerce and in partnership with local Boys & Girls Clubs, Robotics in Manufacturing Camp provides week-long day camp sessions to area students in grades 1-8. Sessions vary by location and grade, but all focus on educating youth about the applications of new technology in modern manufacturing.
Workforce Development Director Kara Webb says, “Robotics in Manufacturing Camp is a great summer activity for campers in our region. Campers develop and grow in their knowledge of coding and programming in a fun environment with robotics, 3D printers and more. We bring in local industry at the camps as well.”
A typical day at camp rotates children through stations that build upon what they learned the day before. Stations will cover EV3 robots, Sphero robots, littleBits, 3D printing, Scratch coding software and more. It’s a great way to get hands-on with manufacturing skills and processes while meeting local manufacturers.
“Campers get to engage with local manufacturing and logistics employers to learn about what is created and produced in their backyard, and what careers they have in the industry,” Webb explains. “I’m always fascinated by how creative and innovative the campers are!”
Civic Youth Summer Theatre • lafayettecivic.org/camps
Civic Theatre in Greater Lafayette hosts a number of camps serving youth interested in choreography, singing, acting, musical theatre, improvisation, design and performance. This summer, Civic Theatre has planned the following camps: Choreography; Theatre Intensive; Rising Stars Camp: Moana’s Island Vibes; Out of the Box; and Curtains Up Camp: Disney’s Moana, Jr.
“Summer camps with Civic Theatre are incredible opportunities for kids to develop performance skills and theatre knowledge in a fun and team-focused environment. The most beneficial takeaways the campers have shared have been the friendships, sense of accomplishment and self-confidence gained from working together towards a common goal,” says Julie Baumann, director of education and outreach.
As an example, the Curtains Up Camp will prepare camp participants for a final, full-scale production of “Moana, Jr.” with lights, sound and costumes. Technical crew members are also needed for this production. Interested teens should email Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org for possible tech crew openings. Positions include set construction, sound board operators and backstage crew members.
Wild About Horses • wildabouthorses.net/summer-camp-2018
Wild About Horses Equestrian Center, located in West Point, was established in 1998 by Pam Bowen Gibson. She focuses on teaching the fundamentals of a balanced rider through horsemanship, partnership on the ground, kindness and respect for horses.
Her summer camp program, going on 24 years now, includes two lessons per day in this week-long camp. The week concludes with a Friday afternoon horse show, open to camper families and friends. Children ages 7 and older are welcome and are encouraged to bring a change of clothes and boots.
Lafayette Parks and Recreation Department
lafayette.in.gov • columbianparkzoo.org
McAllister Center Summer Camp: Children ages 6-12 are welcome to the McAllister Center each summer for day camp full of fun activities. Campers go on field trips to the City of Lafayette’s aquatic facilities and parks. They’re also able to visit the movie theater and bowling alley.
Registration is available in weekly sessions, and there are discounts for households with multiple campers. Before and after care services are included in the weekly fees, and a junior counselor program is an option for 13-14 year-olds.
Columbian Park Zoo Camp: Zoo day camp programs are planned for children ages 3-14 with a variety of themes and schedules. Zoo Cub mini-camp is organized for children ages 3-4 in three-day sessions. Preschoolers experience hands-on animal encounters, games, crafts and other activities. Children also enjoy supervised outings to zoo exhibits.
Learning Adventures Camps are offered to three different age groups: ages 5-7, ages 8-11 and ages 12-14. The learning camps highlight nature-based topics alongside hands-on activities and animal
encounters. Behind-the-scenes tours are a popular addition to zoo camp as well as games, crafts and STEM activities.
The campers in the oldest age group get an inside look at what it’s like being a zookeeper. This unique week-long day camp has been offered at the Columbian Park Zoo for over a decade, and it’s perfect for those interested in animal-related careers. Campers work alongside staff zookeepers and gain experience with public speaking in front of small groups of zoo visitors.
West Lafayette Parks and Recreation Department
West Lafayette Wellness Center Summer Camp: After celebrating its one-year anniversary since opening, the West Lafayette Wellness Center is ready to host campers for a second summer. Children ages 6-11 participate in this day camp for one-week sessions. Campers get to make a splash in the indoor pool, participate in both indoor and outdoor sports and games, create crafts, go on field trips and enjoy special guest speakers.
Lilly Nature Center Camp: In addition to the camp held at the wellness center, the West Lafayette Parks and Recreation Department is also hosting a new summer camp at the Lilly Nature Center off Lindberg Road. Children will explore a new, nature-themed day camp for each week-long session. Session themes cover such topics as insects, wildlife, plants and geology.
Head Camper Program: Area teens ages 13-15 are invited to apply for a new Head Camper Program at the West Lafayette Wellness Center. Participants will gain leadership skills and work experience in a day camp setting. Head campers have to undergo an interview process and must be responsible, enthusiastic, reliable and be willing to serve as role models to the younger campers.
Boiler Kids Camp • purdue.edu/recwell/sports-and-programs
After a two-year hiatus due to Purdue’s COVID-19 policies, Boiler Kids Camp is returning this summer at Purdue RecWell. Youth ages 5-12 register for week-long sessions.
Activities include rock climbing, swimming, arts and crafts, cooking, games and visits to on-campus landmarks. Before and after care services are included, and both RecWell members and non-members are welcome.
YMCA – Camp Tecumseh • camptecumseh.org
Located on the banks of the Tippecanoe River in Brookston sits Camp Tecumseh. There are a variety of camp options for kids ages 5-12, including overnight, equestrian and day camps as well as adventure trips.
Summer day camps are themed, week-long sessions full of planned activities that include games, horseback riding, swimming, arts and crafts, archery, obstacle courses, fishing, nature adventures and more. With more than 600 acres to explore through trails, lakes and pools, there’s opportunity for a new adventure every day in this faith-based environment led by expertly trained counselors.
YMCA – Straight Arrow Day Camp • lafayettefamilyymca.org
The YMCA hosts the Straight Arrow Day Camp just outside Lafayette at Camp Treece for weekly sessions during the summer. Camp sessions are themed with related activities that include swimming, canoeing, arts and crafts, archery, obstacle courses and team building.
Campers are divided into age groups: Preschool Camp for ages 3-5, Regular Camp for ages 5-9 and Youth in Action overnight camp for ages 10-12. Straight Arrow Day Camp also offers a Junior Counselor Camp for youth ages 13-15.
Bus transportation is provided for pick-up and drop-off from the YMCA. Additionally, a pick-up and drop-off site is available at West Lafayette Elementary School. ★
BY ANGELA K. ROBERTS
PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV
Sunlight streams through the windows of the red-painted brick building at 623 Main St., casting soft rays into the vintage space. On a white painted cabinet between the front door and the check-out counter, packages of walnut shortbread cookies rest on an elevated cake plate, while clusters of biscotti stand at attention in ivory mugs bearing the bakery’s logo. Nearby on the same wooden countertop, handmade doily bags bearing pieces of chocolate hang from the branches of a gilded tree, while a house plant on a marble-top stand adds a contrasting green to the vignette.
In this Pinterest-perfect space, gallery-white walls and honeyed wood floors serve as the backdrop for carefully curated displays of dozens of different pastries, all handmade by bakers Sergei and Natasha Vasili.
Founded eight years ago, their Scones and Doilies Bake Shop serves up European-inspired, made-from-scratch baked goods that are as delicious as they are pretty.
“Our products are unique, handcrafted and freshly baked using quality ingredients. Our recipes are all original, and you’ll see seasonal flavors and varieties. For example, during Easter we make decorated Easter cookies and Greek Easter bread,” Natasha says.
A fresh look
Natives of Albania – a mountainous coastal country situated on the western part of the Balkan Peninsula within the Mediterranean Sea – the couple worked in food service after immigrating to the United States. “We learned a lot about the industry – product trends, food safety and customer service,” Natasha explains. They baked on the side, getting rave reviews from family and friends for their pastries and decorated cakes.
Eventually, with the encouragement of their daughters, the two launched their business at local farmers markets, using a commercial kitchen for baking. Then they moved downtown into a space that they shared with City Foods Co-Op.
Two years ago, when City Foods closed its Main Street location, the Vasilis became the sole proprietors of the space, and they set to work on freshening it up. Rustic wood walls and corrugated metal trim gave way to a cheerful, neutral and slightly boho space that allows their intricately detailed pastries to be the stars of the show.
Their goal, says Sergei, was to make the place “feel like something different, something really unique. I think people in Greater Lafayette really enjoy that.”
Rustic and elegant
Albanian baking is a mix of Mediterranean, European, rustic and elegant, and all of that is on display in Scones and Doilies. On any given day, customers may discover gingerbread cookies piped with tiny flowers nestled next to delicately rolled pieces of baklava and berry galettes enveloped in flaky dough and sprinkled with sugar.
Menu items vary but generally include scones in such flavors as honey fig pecan and white chocolate raspberry, challah bread, rugelach, baklava, biscotti, cookies, cupcakes, and galettes in savory flavors such as roasted vegetable and ham and cheese. Several gluten-free pastries are regularly available, including scones made on site.
“We also craft specialty cakes, all baked to order, dense in texture with our signature buttercream icing and beautiful decorations,” Natasha says. Along with traditional flavors of chocolate and vanilla, the bakers offer specialty flavors in lemon blueberry, blackberry lime, raspberry champagne and carrot, in double-layer, triple-layer, half-sheet and full-sheet styles. Pricing varies by flavor and decoration. Some of these special orders are spotlighted on Scones and Doilies’ Instagram page, their colorful sprays of flowers puddling over iced layers.
Sales for a cause
The Vasilis love giving back to their adopted community of Greater Lafayette as well as communities around the world. In addition to being active in the International Center at Purdue University, the couple supports Gift of Life International (GOL), a Rotarian-based organization whose mission is to provide life-saving heart surgeries to children in developing countries.
Nine years ago, they helped to facilitate surgery in Indiana for their niece in Albania, who was born with a heart condition. Today, the couple says that Luna is a happy, healthy young girl – a testament to the partnership between GOL and Riley Hospital for Children. The couple continues to raise funds for the charity through the sales of some of their baked goods and handmade items such as doilies and mittens.
“We’re able to support them in bringing the babies here, or sometimes they bring the doctors there,” Sergei explains of the charity, which to date has treated more than 40,000 children from 80 countries, according to the organization’s website. ★
BY KEN THOMPSON
Nostalgia is defined as a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.
For many of us who grew up in Greater Lafayette during the 1960s and 1970s, one of those places was Columbian Park. It had everything for children of all ages and their parents.
A merry-go-round. A train ride. Playground equipment such as the imposing “curly” slide. Gas-powered bumper cars on a winding paved track. A large swimming pool whose fenced-off 10-foot deep section was at first scary and then a rite of passage toward adulthood.
“We’ve brought back some things for people who remember the park when they were kids,” says Jon Miner, director of operations for Lafayette Parks and Recreation.
No, “monkey island” isn’t coming back. Nor is that swimming pool or the bumper cars.
But the COVID-delayed carousel will be opening sometime this summer. Returning for a full season of operation is the train that gives riders a tour of Columbian Park, and the paddle boats.
“We’ve changed enough to adopt what people are looking for today in recreation,” Miner says. “So those families who don’t remember that can still come to the park and make their own memories. Coming to the ballpark to watch the Aviators play, going on a paddle boat ride or seeing a concert at Memorial Island. Visiting a first-rate zoo.
“Even though the water park is different than the old pool, I think people growing up with Tropicanoe Cove will have the same memories we had of the old round pool. There’s a lot there for the community and people of all ages. Bringing back the paddle boats, the train and the carousel will add to that experience.”
It’s been more than 20 years since the last time a merry-go-round entertained children in Columbian Park. The 42-foot diameter carousel, which was budgeted for $600,000, will feature 36 carved horses and other animals. Morgan Constructors of Lafayette built the building that will contain the carousel.
“Once that’s up we’ll have a full allotment of rides,” Miner says.
“I think it’s probably the thing most people are excited about. The paddle boats kind of surprised people last year when we said we were bringing them back. That brought a lot of nostalgia back. We’ll experience some of that same thing with the carousel. I think the carousel will be that same type of experience for those of us who remember the old carousel at Columbian Park, and for kids who didn’t experience that it’ll add another reason to come to the park. I think the community will be really, really pleased.”
The carousel and the restrooms under construction on the site of the former Jenks Rest building will wrap up several years of renovation at Columbian Park.
“We’re really looking forward to this summer since it’s going to be the first since 2018 where we haven’t had any construction happening inside the park,” Miner says. “Once that carousel is in, we’re going to have a good year where people will come and not have any construction fences up and around. It’s exciting to get to see what you want to see and not have to worry about restricted parking or ‘we can’t go over there because it’s under construction.’ ”
The new restrooms will serve the east side of Columbian Park that is home to Memorial Island as well as the SIA Playground and the picnic shelters.
“While bathrooms are typically not the most exciting thing to construct, they are critical infrastructure,” Miner says.
The biggest news coming out of Columbian Park during the past few months came from the zoo. Six of the nine African penguins died after contracting avian malaria.
The three surviving penguins – Shazam, Sagely and Donner – are “doing well,” according to Miner.
“They’ve gained weight and are holding their own,” he says. “I am not a veterinarian nor an animal person but I think we’re past the illness stage with them. There can be some long-term effects of avian malaria on surviving penguins. It’s a matter of keeping an eye on that and making sure we’re doing the things necessary to keep them healthy.”
The Columbian Park Zoo is set to open April 16.
By that time, the zoo’s neighbor – Loeb Stadium – will be home to Lafayette Jeff high school baseball for the second consecutive year following Loeb’s renovation.
Loeb also will host a movie night on April 22. The animated film “Onward,” featuring the voices of Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Octavia Spencer, will be the second movie shown at the ballpark following “Elf” this past fall.
The Lafayette Aviators summer collegiate baseball team opens its home schedule at Loeb Stadium June 1 against Terre Haute.
Residing west of Loeb Stadium, Tropicanoe Cove is preparing to launch its 23rd season. The water slides that remind some park-goers of the old Big Dipper slide is back for the fourth year.
“That’s hard to believe for those of us who remember the old round swimming pool,” Miner says.
Once the carousel and new restrooms open, that will be the last of planned construction at Columbian Park until possibly 2023. That’s a potential date to replace some of the equipment at the SIA Playground, which sits on the land formerly occupied by the pool.
“Playgrounds have a shelf life, and the SIA Playground is approaching 23 years,” Miner says. “That gets to be about the point in time you have to start looking at replacing some of those pieces for safety.”
Future plans also include bringing exhibits featuring primates and North American cats to the zoo.
Also in the next year or so, fishing may be allowed again in the lagoon, which Miner was proud to say still has crystal clear water following years of decay and mud buildup.
“We’re continuing to work on the ecosystem in the lagoon,” Miner says. “We did a lot of stocking (of fish) last fall. It’s not going to be ready for fishing quite yet. The fish that are in there won’t be of size, but we’re working with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and Purdue on stocking it with the appropriate species.” ★
BY KAT BRAZ
FOWLER PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV
FLOWERS PROVIDED BY RUBIA FLOWER MARKET IN WEST LAFAYETTE
Are you dreaming of glamour or country chic? Looking for a comfortable business setting or a place to unwind? Book your next event at one of Greater Lafayette’s premier venues for that perfect spot.
Fowler House Mansion
909 South St., Lafayette • fowlerhouse.org
Built by Moses Fowler in 1852, the house is considered one of the finest examples of a large Gothic Revival residence still standing in the United States. Ornately carved woodwork adorns surfaces throughout, and the ceilings in the north and south parlors feature elaborate plasterwork. With a combined indoor/outdoor seating of 150-200, the mansion is an iconic location for weddings and other private rentals. The Tudor-style formal dining room and Italian-style tiered patio and formal gardens combine to create an elegant and refined setting. On-site catering services ranging from charcuterie and crudités to full-scale entrées or buffet are available to enhance any event. All proceeds from rentals and catering benefit the 1852 Foundation, established to preserve the mansion.
619 Ferry St., Lafayette • duncanhall.org
With its striking architectural details and stately grandeur, Duncan Hall evokes an unforgettable experience for guests. A variety of rooms from the intimate Victorian tearoom to the majestic ballroom can accommodate parties large and small. Benefactor Thomas Duncan bequeathed the resources to build this gracious, Colonial-style building, and the hall’s mission carries on Duncan’s wish to provide a place for cultural, educational and celebratory events that enrich the community. Since 1931, the hall has hosted myriad events, including plays, art shows, ballroom dances, wedding receptions, community forums and fundraisers — even a speech by JFK in 1959.
Gathering Acres Event Center
5074 E 550 S, Lafayette • gatheringacres.com
Situated in a picturesque country setting overlooking a pond, Gathering Acres provides an idyllic spot to tie the knot. A four-bedroom, two-bath bridal suite located in the main house is also available for rental. The 8,000-square-foot facility can accommodate 300 attendees and is climate controlled and available for year-round events. The charming space is accented by wooden chandeliers and plank flooring. There’s also a 1,500-square-foot covered patio that seats 75 with an expansive view of the countryside. Not just for nuptials, this event center books company events, church retreats, graduation parties, quinceañeras and family reunions.
522 Columbia St., Lafayette • tippecanoehistory.org
This newly renovated history center in the heart of downtown Lafayette offers several spaces well suited for a variety of events. The former home of the Masonic Lodge of Lafayette, a building now owned and operated by the Tippecanoe County Historical Association, includes an auditorium with optional dance floor and a commercial kitchen. There’s also a banquet hall, a lounge and plans to install a hardscaped brick patio. TCHA purchased the building in 2017 as a curatorial event space, offering affordable rentals and adaptable space, particularly for other area nonprofit organizations.
Lafayette Country Club
1500 S. Ninth St., Lafayette • lafayettecountryclub.com
Billed as an everyday oasis, the Lafayette Country Club has provided a nearby vacation spot for area families since it opened in 1909. Available for weddings and other special events as well as meetings and luncheons, the facilities accommodate banquet events from 10 to 300 people as well as private meeting rooms and a conference center with a board room. While it is preferred that all non-members have a member host the event, it does have the capacity to sponsor events to non-members. Available catering menus include everything from simple refreshments to decked out buffets with a carving station.
New Journey Farms
2181 S 800 E, Lafayette • newjourneyfarms.com
Located on nearly 14 acres in a secluded country setting, New Journey Farms offers both indoor and outdoor ceremony sites with the ability to host up to 350 guests, and ample parking. The climate-controlled facility allows for year-round use and provides modern amenities such as spacious private bridal suites. Large, covered porches perfect for socializing with refreshments flank the building and a grand staircase allows couples to make a memorable entrance. Polished concrete floors and lofted white ceilings contribute to an airy, bright vibe and modern ambiance.
Northend Community Center
2000 Elmwood Ave., Lafayette • faithlafayette.org/northend
Multiple community, conference and break-out rooms accommodate groups of various sizes at the Northend Community Center. A commercial kitchen stocked with amenities, a gymnasium with two full-size basketball courts and an innovation center with work tables for creative endeavors also are available for rent. The community center is an entity of Faith Ministries.
The Stables Event Center
7071 S 100 E, Lafayette • thestableseventcenter.com
Clad in wood paneling with wagon wheel chandeliers, the Stables Event Center is awash in rustic chic elements. The family-owned facility is nestled on 40 acres of pastures and woodlands with a creek and horse farm providing attractive backdrops for photos. Sliding barn doors open to a spacious covered patio with firepit that looks out on to the bucolic countryside. Private bridal suites, ample catering and bar space and plenty of parking allow for a flawless event. The Stables is available for a range of events from live concerts to parties, even prom!
Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds
1401 Teal Road, Lafayette • tippecanoecountyfairgrounds.com
Reopened in 2021 following a $21 million investment in renovations, the fairgrounds event center anchors the complex and provides a welcoming home for traditional fair, farm and animal-related events. The large, multi-purpose facility consisting of the coliseum and three wings is equipped with state-of-the-art audio equipment and rigging points. The space can be divided as needed to accommodate smaller rentals. There’s also a large fully appointed commercial kitchen available. The fairgrounds offers a number of other buildings and grounds for rent, too, including the west pavilion, horse barn, outdoor festival area and shelter house.
Wea Creek Orchard5618 S 200 E, Lafayette • weacreekorachard.com
Owned and operated by three families who are descended from the pioneers who purchased the farm in 1855, Wea Creek Orchard and its 3,600-square-foot vintage barn create a lovely setting for weddings, showers, graduation parties and special events. Delight guests with wagon rides and incorporate orchard produce into your celebration. There’s plenty of space for yard games and a bonfire surrounded by wooden benches and hay bales.
West Lafayette Golf and Country Club
3224 US Hwy 52 W, West Lafayette • wlgcc.com
The West Lafayette Golf and Country Club has been serving the community since 1941. Its remodeled clubhouse banquet facility complements the stunning golf course grounds the space overlooks. Services are offered to the public as well as to club members, so there are no limitations on who can book an event. Multiple dining rooms offer seating for events accommodating 25 to 300 guests. Whether it’s an elegant wedding, reception or rehearsal dinner, a golf outing or an important business affair, the country club staff attends to every detail from event coordination to custom menu creation.
Rat Pak Venue
102 N Third St., Lafayette • ratpakvenue.com
With exposed brick walls, tin ceiling and enormous windows that overlook the Tippecanoe County Courthouse, Rat Pak Venue features architectural details befitting a glitzy city event. Whether it’s a wedding, graduation party, corporate gathering or social event, the combined ballroom and lounge can seat 220 guests or accommodate more intimate engagements. The name Rat Pak stems from the company’s mobile DJ services that are available to enhance any event, in addition to bar catering. ★
BY CINDY GERLACH
PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV
COLLAGE PHOTOS PROVIDED
A small name change can go a long way. For The Arts Federation — known locally as TAF — the removal of Tippecanoe actually means more gains than losses.
Tetia Lee, TAF executive director, says the name has always caused a little bit of confusion. People have been known to refer to “Taft,” she says. Or when she’s out in the field, working with artists in other counties, the Tippecanoe label seemed to fall a little flat.
Because as a Regional Arts Partner of the Indiana Arts Commission, TAF serves more than half a million residents in a 14-county area in north-central Indiana, the largest geographic area in the state. It’s much more than Tippecanoe County, and the time had come for the name to truly reflect that.
Thus with this rebranding, The Arts Federation helps to more accurately represent the counties represented by Region 4.
Since 1997, TAF has provided support for artists and is the umbrella organization for more than 200 different member organizations. This encompasses everything from vocal and instrumental music organizations — large established ones such as the Wabash Valley Youth Symphony, or smaller ones like the Jazz Club — as well as individual artists — painters, sculptors, weavers or writers. Even performance venues such as the Long Center for the Performing Arts are members, using TAF services to help them network and reach their audience, or expand to a new one.
TAF provides a physical home for those groups who need it, in their newly renovated facility, the Wells Community Cultural Center on North Street in downtown Lafayette.
The building has large and small meeting spaces, a dance studio, recording studio and craft space. TAF offers after-school arts programming for children of all ages.
Financial support also is available to member organizations, as TAF helps administer a series of grants, both state and federally funded, both for operating and project support, to its members.
The whole change began with a website redesign, Lee says. The organization knew it needed to update the site, make it more user-friendly, for ease of access.
“Our greatest change, we knew we would be overhauling our website to make it more beneficial and add some widgets,” Lee says. “We knew we wanted to do a rebrand.”
As they began to go through their style guide, emphasis fell back on the logo, which, Lee had known for a long time was less than ideal. With its multiple elements, it tried a little too hard to
represent too much, says Lee.
And a market test found that people found the old logo unrelatable. “People thought we were a manufacturing company,” Lee says.
“It was a printer’s nightmare,” Lee says. “No one would even embroider it for us.” The new logo, a more simplistic yet visually appealing design, represents the arts with a sleeker, more cohesive look.
New logo, new name — sort of — yet the same mission. And best of all, the acronym TAF is still accurate, so there’s no learning curve for longtime members. This rebranding will help better spread this message to the people TAF wishes to serve. And in the end, the new name better represents TAF’s mission and its outreach to the entire region.
“When I was out in the field, it was hard to gain trust because we had Tippecanoe in the name,” Lee says. “We are a regional arts organization.
We want everything to reflect our focus.” ★
BY RADONNA FIORINI
PHOTOS PROVIDED BY CHRISTINE PETKOV
With warmer temperatures and the promise of locally grown fruits and vegetables just around the corner, some restaurants are freshening up their menus from the comforting warmth of winter to the bright palate of spring.
Outdoor tables are being dusted off and fresh, herby menu options are popping up. Here’s a look at some of the changes coming for spring at area dining establishments.
1820 Sagamore Parkway W, West Lafayette
Executive Chef Alejandro “Alex” Cruz is all about fresh from farm to table when he creates seasonal menus at The Bryant. Spring and summer mean more local produce with which to experiment and achieve the fresh flavors he loves.
Cruz shops at the farmers markets and also buys direct from some local producers. He generally offers new items as specials and those that do well may become part of the regular menu.
“I like to help local farmers and I like to play with flavors and offer something different,” Cruz says.
“Having salt and pepper on the table isn’t necessary if the dish is seasoned well. I try to make something that is good, just as it is.”
This spring he’s excited about serving lamb dishes with meat purchased from a local farmer. More gluten-, dairy-free and vegan options are in the works, from entrees to desserts. Look for the gluten-free Key Lime tart with an almond flour crust.
Fresh produce means colorful sides and salads, including a Caprese salad appetizer featuring a gazpacho/kale pesto, burrata cheese and prosciutto on a crostini. Or how about a corn cake BLT with local bacon, heirloom tomatoes and avocado on homemade corn cakes adorned with honey sriracha mayo?
Really hungry? Dig into the new Monte Cristo sandwich that features local ham, Swiss cheese and cherry jam, that is dipped in batter and deep fried. Wanting something a little lighter? The new Basil Ranch salad made with arugula and baby kale and topped with blueberries, peaches, fontina cheese, candied walnuts and pancetta might fit the bill.
Teays River Brewing and Public House
3000 S. 9th St., Lafayette
The patio doors are open at this south-side brewery and restaurant that focuses on artisanal sandwiches, steaks and pizza, along with unique craft beer.
“Our patio is the most popular outdoor seating area in Lafayette,” says owner John Hodge. “We’ll have an official patio opening party in mid-May, and it will be open as often as the weather allows.”
While the Teays River menu doesn’t change with the seasons, some warm weather specials will be offered every month. The menu was refined in late winter to reflect current supply chain and labor market challenges, says Hodge. Rising food prices and the continuing difficulty in hiring staff meant the restaurant needed to focus on the most popular, easy to prepare items. More vegetarian and vegan choices also are available.
You’ll still find hand-crafted pizza, chops, salmon, flavorful sandwiches and salads, along with an extensive menu of signature beers. Here’s to the wind in your hair and a cold one in your hand.
East End Grill
1016 Main St., Lafayette
From salads to appetizers to handcrafted cocktails, the spring menu at East End will be veggie and fruit forward, says General Manager Laila Syed.
Lots of herbs and fresh vegetables play a crucial role in the lighter fare featured currently. The grill changes its menu twice a year, freshening up salads and adding some lighter fish choices in the spring. For example, the fall salad featuring apples, seeds and goat cheese has been replaced with a green salad topped with berries and candied almonds.
The chef is working on a fresh fish appetizer to accompany the menu favorites that remain throughout the year, including the Wagyu beef, which comes from a farm in Cutler, Indiana. The restaurant works with about 10 different food venders, many in the region, to find the best quality and freshest ingredients possible.
“Our handcrafted cocktails are very fruit forward for spring,” Syed says. “We also feature lighter wines and funky beers.”
Due to Indiana’s unpredictable weather, it’s hard to know when East End’s outdoor tables will be open regularly. Just head downtown when a soft, warm breeze wafts through, heralding the lengthening days and promise of fresh flavors from locally grown produce.
The Whittaker Kitchen
702 W 500 N, West Lafayette
The kitchen at the Whittaker Inn is open to the public from 4-8 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday, with a reservation made 48 hours in advance. To-go orders also are welcome. Call in your reservation or send an email.
Chef Andrew Whittaker — who owns and operates the inn with wife Elizabeth — looks forward to freshening up the dinner menu each season and sees spring as the time to feature leafy herbs and seasonal veggies.
While the protein options — steak, fish and chops — are fairly consistent year-round, side dishes, salads, sauces and soups now feature lighter, brighter flavors. There will be a few new entrée options as Whittaker is experimenting with trout this season, in addition to his popular salmon dish.
“Our winter/fall menu has more shallots and robust veggies,” Whittaker says. “Spring and summer we use more leafy herbs such as basil, which we grow out in front of the inn.”
Seasonal vegetables such as asparagus and peas are going in risotto, and salads are updated with baby tomatoes, artichoke or steamed asparagus. Regular trips to the area farmers markets keep Whittaker supplied with many of the fresh ingredients that go in his signature dishes.
Overnight guests also enjoy a complimentary breakfast, made to order from an a la carte menu, and can raid the night kitchens, which feature fresh baked goods and beverages.
Farmers market opening soon >>
It’s almost time again for delightful strolls through one of the areas three farmers markets, all of which open the first week of May and plan to operate through October. Here are the details:
West Lafayette Farmers Market: Opens Wednesday, May 4, 3:30 – 7 p.m., in Cumberland Park, 3065 N Salisbury Street, West Lafayette. More than 50 vendors offer fresh produce and baked goods, prepared foods and juried crafts. Wine by the glass from area vineyards is featured along with food trucks.
Purdue Farmers Market:
Opens Thursday, May 5, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. on the Purdue Memorial Mall, West Lafayette. Organizers are expecting more than 20 vendors offering produce, baked goods and prepared foods. Pay attention to parking restrictions and use nearby parking garages when possible.
Lafayette Farmers Market:
The area’s oldest market opens Saturday, May 7, 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. and will be open most Saturdays. Stretching along 5th Street in downtown Lafayette
between Main and Ferry streets, the market features produce, meat, fresh flowers and house plants, crafts and jewelry, handmade soap, baked goods and more. ★
BY KAT BRAZ
Any season is the ideal season to linger over a scrumptious brunch. Perfect for celebrating a special occasion, catching up with friends or cozying up with a good book, the leisurely atmosphere of brunch invites you to tarry a while. Whether you’re in the mood for sweet delights or savory noshes,
Greater Lafayette boasts a bevy of brunch options. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite local restaurants to indulge in seriously delicious Sunday eats (and drinks!).
201 Grant St., West Lafayette
If you’ve yet to check out 8Eleven, the culinary anchor of the recently remodeled Union Club Hotel at Purdue University, brunch is a great place to start. Its intimate setting preserved the historic building’s vintage oak paneling, sweeping Gothic windows and original stone fireplace. Soak up the classy aura as you savor farm-inspired cocktails and classic American dishes with a few French signatures.
What to try: The croque madame is sinfully delicious. The menu lists it under handhelds, but with all that silky mornay sauce, you’re going to need a fork. The nearby Boiler Up bar enhances its craft cocktails with fresh garnishes provided by the College of Agriculture. Go ahead, make it a double.
Black Sparrow Pub
223 Main St., Lafayette
Don’t be surprised to encounter a line of people waiting to dine at the Sparrow’s legendary brunch. The eclectic pub known for a mastery of craft cocktails and innovative bar food opens on the last Sunday of the month to serve up a hearty brunch. The menu changes every month and is often themed. Past brunches celebrated Lunar New Year, St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo and Oktoberfest.
What to try: The frequently featured French toast with inventive toppings (think strawberry Baileys or baklava) is sure to please. You can’t go wrong sipping a greyhound. It’s half grapefruit juice so that counts as a serving of fruit, right?
501 Main St., Lafayette
This airy upmarket bistro has anchored the downtown brunch scene for many years, serving up French-inspired fare that highlights local ingredients. Executive chef Cheyenne Buckley changes the menu with the seasons so there are always new flavor combinations to explore. Reservations recommended.
What to try: The waffle Monte Cristo with blackberry maple dip offers an imaginative twist on an old brunch favorite. A delectable menu of boozy cocktails and virgin mocktails will keep you refreshed.
Cellar Wine Bistro
1001 Main St., Lafayette
Open for brunch on the first and third Sundays of the month, the inviting ambiance at Cellar Wine Bistro creates a relaxing brunch vibe. The much-coveted window table for two allows you to watch the world go by as you dine. Chef Ethan Wise enjoys introducing atypical menu items that showcase global flavors. Reservations accepted.
What to try: For an intense
flavor explosion order the okonomiyaki, a cabbage and sweet potato pancake topped with marinated pork shoulder and a poached egg. Mimosas are a must at the area’s premier wine bar.
526 Main St., Lafayette
Billed as a casual, upscale eatery featuring seasonal French and New American plates, Folie may be the gem of Main Street. Though its brunch took a hiatus at the end of 2021, we look forward to its return this year. With a kitchen that focuses on classic preparation and draws inspiration from regional and global gastronomy, guests embark on a culinary adventure during every visit. Watch Folie’s Facebook page for updates on the brunch schedule. Reservations accepted.
What to try: The ever-popular plántanos fritos (fried plantains) are divine. When paired with a chelada (Mexican beer cocktail) the combo is sensational.
Fowler House Mansion
909 South St., Lafayette
The Fowler House Kitchen hosts brunch once a month on the second Sunday. Take in the grandeur of one of Lafayette’s most stately homes, built in 1852 by Moses and Eliza Fowler. Despite the opulence of the ornately carved woodwork and exquisitely crafted plasterwork throughout the Gothic Revival home, this brunch is a casual affair. The best part? Proceeds from brunch help fund the continued preservation of the Fowler House Mansion. Reservations recommended.
What to try: Though the menu is ever-rotating, a savory biscuits and gravy is a signature entrée. The bar serves both mimosas and bloody Marys.
Sixth Street Dive
827 N. Sixth St., Lafayette
This no-frills watering hole specializes in Tex-Mex and American comfort fare, and those flavors influence the weekly brunch menu as well. As Diverienos know, brunch specials here are truly innovative and unlike anything served elsewhere in town. If apple cinnamon breakfast tamales in a whiskey cream sauce won’t get you out of bed on a lazy Sunday morning, what will? 21+ only.
What to try: Anything on special. Truly. And if you’ve never experienced the decadent Canadian grub that is poutine (French fries topped with fresh cheese curds and gravy), this is a good place to be indoctrinated. Not only does the Dive serve mimosas, but they serve beermosas and margmosas, too. ★
BY KEN THOMPSON
Legendary college basketball coach John Wooden and his defending national champion UCLA team were the first to find out that Mackey Arena is a difficult place to play for Purdue basketball opponents.
A team featuring Lew Alcindor (aka Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) came within a last-second shot of being the Boilermakers’ first upset victim when Mackey Arena opened on Dec. 2, 1967. More than 14,400 also witnessed Rick Mount’s debut in a Purdue uniform. The Indiana Mr. Basketball from Lebanon nearly shot the Boilermakers to victory with a game-high 28 points in a 73-71 loss.
Since then, Purdue has won more than 650 men’s basketball games, been home to the Big Ten Conference’s only women’s basketball national championship team and set a record attendance mark (10,645) for an NCAA women’s volleyball match.
Purdue men’s basketball, which achieved the No. 1 ranking in The Associated Press poll in December, expects to fill Mackey Arena’s more than 14,000 seats for every game in the 2021-22 season.
“Without question it gives us an advantage,” says Matt Painter, in his 17th season as Purdue’s head coach and a four-year letterman under his predecessor, Gene Keady, from 1989-93.
“The noise, the way it bounces off the ceiling, I think that’s a bit of a difference in how loud it gets. I used to always walk into the locker room after we win close games and say I don’t know if we would have won that game anywhere else in the country besides Mackey Arena. There’s no question the fans get us six to 10 points with the atmosphere here.”
The loudest Mackey Arena crowd was registered at 122.3 decibels during a 2017 victory against Indiana. That decibel level has been compared to sitting in the front row at a rock concert or the sound of a thunderclap overhead.
The noise quickly gets the attention of visitors and fans watching the games on TV.
“There is a possibility that Mackey Arena at Purdue is the loudest venue in college hoops. It kinda hurts to work here actually,” says ESPN’s Dave Flemming.
Mackey Arena was hailed as “the first of its kind among collegiate sports facilities” when groundbreaking for the circular concrete and steel structure with a domed roof took place on July 20, 1965.
For more than 50 years, Purdue has gotten its money’s worth from the $6 million investment that replaced the old arena inside Lambert Fieldhouse next door.
Originally named Purdue Arena, it gained its current name in March 1972 when the facility was named in honor of long-time athletic director Guy “Red” Mackey, who had died the year before.
On Dec. 12, 1997, the floor of Mackey Arena was declared “Keady Court” in honor of Gene Keady, the winningest coach in Boilermaker basketball history.
If possible, Mackey Arena became a louder place to watch and play a basketball game when an organized student section was added in the early 2000s. Originally called “The Gene Pool” to salute Keady, the organized body was renamed “The Paint Crew” when Painter replaced Keady in 2005.
Purdue senior Bryce Randolph, vice president of The Paint Crew, takes pride in doing his part to help the Boilermakers intimidate rivals.
“From the opening tip to the final buzzer, every single fan in Mackey is into the game,” Randolph says. “Mackey is such a tough place because of how engaged and passionate the fan base is every day and especially every game. Every game is insanely loud and it does not matter who they are playing against.”
Randolph cited a 96-52 victory against Wright State early in the 2021-22 season.
“Purdue was up 30 points in the first half and the crowd would go crazy for every dunk or big 3-pointer the team had,” he says.
The Paint Crew’s support hasn’t gone unnoticed by the players. Senior guard Sasha Stefanovic notices during pre-game warmups that the Paint Crew is usually full an hour to 90 minutes before tipoff.
“You feel our students right on top of you, always yelling,” Stefanovic says. “It feels very intimate at the same time. The intimate feel is something you notice right away.”
The deafening roar of Mackey Arena sometimes has its drawbacks. At Mackey’s loudest moments, Painter can’t call plays for his team and his players can’t hear what he’s saying.
“More or less, you can’t hear yourself think when it gets that loud,” Painter says. “You will have a moment or two every now and then where you are like, ‘This is unbelieveable.’ You become a spectator at times because (the players) can’t hear you. It is a pretty cool setup when it gets that loud. Even though it might be a little harder for us, it’s definitely harder for your opponent.”
Adds Stefanovic: “I’m telling you there are tons of times we don’t understand (Painter), can’t hear. Ball screen assignments, plays. Sometimes you practice with crowd noise when it’s going to be a big game. It’s a good problem to have.”
Mackey Arena was a quiet place to play during the 2020-21 season, when only family was allowed to attend games due to the COVID-19 restrictions. Painter wondered how his players would react to playing before crowds this season. Only junior guard Isaiah Thompson and Painter’s three scholarship seniors (Eric Hunter Jr., Stefanovic, Trevion Williams) had experienced Mackey Arena at its most boisterous.
“Our freshmen and sophomores had never played in a sold-out Mackey until this year,” Painter says. “Those guys walking into their first game and having a sellout in an exhibition, they think that’s the way it is. It’s not normally the way it is.
“Your exhibitions, they might call them a sellout but you don’t see 14,000 people there like this year. I think it was something pretty cool for all of us, to be out for a year and then be able to see a sellout every single game.”
It’s been more than 30 years since Painter played his first game as a Boilermaker in Mackey Arena. While he doesn’t remember many details, one memory stands out.
“I remember how much Coach Keady was fired up at the time,” Painter says. “I’m thinking, ‘Man, is he like this all the time?’ He was really amped up because the season before they hadn’t played as well. I was fired up watching him.
“He would try to get the crowd even more amped up than they already were. I’m a little different how I’m wired. I’m constantly trying to keep my poise and think about the next thing coming up.”
Stefanovic was 11 years old when he experienced Mackey Arena for the first time. Thanks to his brother, a Purdue student, Stefanovic found a seat among The Paint Crew when Robbie Hummel, JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore led fourth-ranked Purdue past sixth-ranked West Virginia on New Year’s Day 2010.
“It was a crazy, crazy environment,” Stefanovic recalls. “Those are definitely vivid memories.”
Randolph grew up imagining himself wearing a Purdue uniform in Mackey Arena. The next best thing was becoming a part of The Paint Crew when he enrolled at Purdue.
“After getting in, I fell in love with going to the games with all my friends,” Randolph says. “I really feel like we have a huge impact on the games. The loudest I have heard it was against IU during the (2019)-20 season. Eric Hunter had a breakaway dunk to end the half and Mackey exploded.
“I have never been to another college arena so I cannot compare them to Mackey. But I have a hard time believing them being anything close to Mackey in terms of fan engagement and level of intimidation for opposing teams.” ★
WHAT THE FANS SAY
“Few things feel as helpless as being on the visitor’s bench when Purdue gets rolling at Mackey Arena.” – Mark Titus, former Ohio State player
“Look up intimidation in the dictionary and you’ll find a picture of Mackey Arena.”
– Loren Tate, Champaign News-Gazette
“There are some environments that can’t be replicated and Mackey Arena is one of them.”
– Kenyon Murray, former Iowa basketball player
“Mackey Arena is one of the underrated, great environments in basketball. Does not get the attention it deserves for a place that absolutely rocks.”
– Dan Shulman, ESPN
“I feel like I say this every time Purdue plays a big home game, but Mackey is a legitimately terrifying place.” – Eamonn Brennan, The Athletic
MACKEY BY THE NUMBERS
(As of Dec. 3, 2021)
» Games played: 810
» Sellouts: 409
» Overall record: 665-145
» Non-conference record: 306-38
» Big Ten games: 359-107
» Average attendance per game from 1967-present: 13,096
BY KAT BRAZ
PROFILE PHOTO BY CHRISTINE PETKOV, OTHERS PROVIDED
When Lauren Reed joined the staff at The Farm at Prophetstown six years ago as events and education coordinator, she had no idea her role would evolve into her dream job as an executive chef. At the time, the nonprofit Museums at Prophetstown was in the red, and Reed and then-director Leslie Conwell focused their energies on restoring livestock and crops to reinstate the working farm and attract more visitors.
“We needed to make money and I happened to have these skills as a chef, so I suggested we try holding farm-to-table dinners,” Reed says. “The first year, I did maybe five or six with 20 guests at each dinner. It took a couple of years but it’s really become a thing.”
Indeed it has. Chef Reed’s farm-to-table dinners, where diners feast on five courses while seated in various rooms of the Gibson farmhouse, are so popular that last season’s dates sold out within two days. A few dinners each year are reserved for members of the farm, and Reed also schedules private dinners for parties of 12 or more.
“To my knowledge, we’re the only organization offering farm-to-table dinners in a museum environment,” Reed says. “Serving on vintage china in a 1920s setting creates a special ambiance and memorable dining experience.”
Although the atmosphere reflects the ’20s — the farmhouse is a replica of a kit home sold via catalog by Sears, Roebuck & Co. outfitted with antique furnishings and decor — the menus decidedly do not. Reed describes the most notable dishes of the decade as “downright nasty” as they featured lots of mayonnaise, gelatinous concoctions and canned seafood. Instead, she draws inspiration from the seasonal ingredients — greens, starches and proteins — grown right there at Prophetstown or sourced from other local farms.
“I love using ingredients we produce here on the farm,” Reed says. “My focus is to use local ingredients as much as possible so it pigeonholes my menus in some ways. I don’t use pineapple, for example. I do bend the rules a bit; I’m not going to cook without lemon. But I don’t put a lot of extra stuff in the food because I don’t think you need to.
You don’t need 35 ingredients on a plate to make something taste good. When you use quality ingredients, the flavors will shine through.”
Reed’s passion for cooking became evident at an early age. Family lore holds that when her parents bathed her in the kitchen sink, she’d reach out one hand to the stand mixer on the counter and idly spin the mixing bowl. Growing up in Rossville as an only child, she remembers coming home from school and frying up batches of homemade onion rings at age 12. It was no surprise that her very first job was working in the kitchen at the Milner nursing home in Rossville.
“I’ve always loved food and I’ve always loved cooking,” Reed says. “But I didn’t think I would become a chef. I went to school to study food nutrition and journalism. I wanted to write about food. But I never stopped cooking.”
Reed earned her bachelor’s degree from Indiana State, cooking at commercial restaurants throughout her collegiate years. When an upscale wine bar opened in Terre Haute, she contacted the executive chef who agreed to give her a two-week trial in the kitchen. It was a trial by fire.
“It was me and a bunch of older guys; I was the baby,” Reed says. “I was the only woman. I had to climb my way up and I did. I ended up taking the grill job from the guy who was on the grill and he never spoke English to me again. He hated me after that because he had to wash dishes.”
Though her skills were undeniable, she still faced sexism in the kitchens where she worked in the form of lewd comments, unwanted touching and targeted harassment. At one point, she worked as the head grill cook at a busy steakhouse, grilling upwards of 50 steaks at a time to temperature. She’d be in the walk-in cooler unwrapping steaks and coworkers would turn the lights off on her. Once, the general manager cornered her in the dish room and a bunch of guys laughed as she was sprayed down with the dish hose. She had to finish the final five hours of her shift in sopping wet jeans.
“It’s very hard to be a woman in a kitchen, especially a male-dominated kitchen, which many of them are,” Reed says. “It takes a strong personality. You have to hold your own.
You have to work harder and you have to work smarter. It’s an unfortunate culture that I had to endure. But I’m very proud of where I’ve been able to go and now, I’m the only chef here. I don’t have anyone to disrespect me. My kitchen is my own little baby.”
When Reed first started the dinners at Prophetstown, she worked out of a much smaller residential galley kitchen that still exists adjacent to the compact commercial kitchen nestled in the basement of the farmhouse. Former Tippecanoe County Commissioner Nola Gentry was a big supporter of the farm and its mission and donated the funding to install the sleek stainless steel commercial kitchen that serves as home base for Reed and her small team of helpers who put on the dinners. After everything is served, Reed takes time to visit with every table to express her appreciation for the diners.
“I love the mission of the farm; I love what I do,” Reed says. “I want our guests to enjoy a unique experience, to talk with the other diners and maybe make a new friend. I hope they get to experience ingredients they haven’t tried before or perhaps haven’t had prepared in that way. That they experience this place and want to support what we do here.” ★
About The Farm
The Farm at Prophetstown is a historic living farm museum set on 125 acres in Prophetstown State Park complete with a 1920s Sears, Roebuck & Co. replica farmhouse, outbuildings, orchard, livestock pens, pasture and croplands. For more information about events at the farm, visit prophetstown.org.
Reserve Your Seat
Reservations for the first wave of farm-to-table dinners this year opened January 10. A second block of dinners, scheduled from August 13 to November 4 will be available for booking on April 11. Call the farm at 765-567-4700 to claim your spot.
Know Before You Go
• No more than six spots per reservation. Larger parties are encouraged to schedule a private dinner.
• Payment is due at the time of reservation. Refunds offered with cancellations made at least 48 hours in advance.
• All guests must be 21 years of age or older.
• No menu substitutions. Vegetarian options may be available upon pre-arranged request.
• Out of respect to fellow diners, please arrive on time.
• As a small kitchen using farm-to-table ingredients, cross-contamination of allergens cannot be prevented.
Prophetstown State Park requires guests to pay $8 per vehicle for park admission, which is free with a farm membership or annual state park pass.
BY CINDY GERLACH
Greater Lafayette has been named Community of the Year by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. The award recognizes the community’s growth over the past decade and how it has prospered and thrived in a variety of areas, from infrastructure and jobs to beautification and quality of life.
This year’s award looked, too, for a municipality that was a shining example during a year of weathering the pandemic.
A large part of the credit for being chosen for this award goes to the various components that define our community, says Scott Walker, president and CEO of Greater Lafayette Commerce, and their ability to communicate, to plan, and to work together. As the application was assembled and written, Walker says, it became evident just how much planning had gone into the progress of the past 20 years.
“We looked back at where we’d been over the course of two decades, the evolution of the community, the trajectory, and why we should be considered for this award,” Walker says.
Back at the start of the 21st century, the community looked very different. And community, Walker says, is defined as the entirety of the area, with both cities and the county governments all working together. All these governing bodies were collaborating on a vision of what they wanted to see over the coming years. Hence Lafayette Urban Enterprise, Vision 2020 and the Downtown Development Corp. all played a role, as well as incorporating input from all three school corporations, leaders in industry, the arts and recreational facilities.
Back in 2000, the population of Tippecanoe County was at 149,000 people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Walker said leadership could see that the community was poised for potential growth, but it wanted to be prepared and for the growth to be intentional.
The result was these various entities examining where the community was at the time, what the trends were, and what Greater Lafayette wanted to accomplish. A clear goal was attracting business and industry that would provide good-paying jobs that would contribute to the economy and would enhance quality of life for residents. The area has a strong manufacturing workforce, and the focus on talent and workforce retention has resulted in more than 3,800 jobs being added in the past five years. This is thanks to companies as diverse as Caterpillar, Antique Candle, Copper Moon Coffee and Schweitzer Engineering Labs, to name a few.
And along with that, Greater Lafayette needed a community that would attract these businesses; needed neighborhoods, restaurants, parks, schools, and arts and culture that would make life attractive for families. This investment came in various forms, from public projects such as Lafayette Downtown Development Plan, the Hoosier Heartland Development Plan, the Five Points Development Plan and the Wabash River Development Plan.
Quality of life projects also contributed to the community’s revitalization, including a new Loeb Stadium, upgrades to the Columbian Park Zoo and Tropicanoe Cove water park, as well as other updates to Columbian Park. The Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds underwent a major renovation, and the Wabash Riverfront is looking at a $150 million investment, including the Riverfront Promenade, which was completed in 2020.
Ultimately, Walker says, all groups came together to work toward this common goal. Today, with the 2019 population at 195,732, the growth clearly did occur. And because of the planning, the communication, the collaboration, the county was prepared to absorb and accommodate that growth. As evidence? Many school districts in Indiana are seeing a decline in sizes of incoming kindergarten classes; in Tippecanoe County, schools have all seen significant growth and kindergarten class sizes have increased, says Walker. The area is clearly a destination; the $250 million investment in education over the past five years — including the implementation of the Greater Lafayette Career Academy — has paid off.
For Walker, this award speaks, in great part, to a process. And it’s a process that involved the input of so many entities — from the cities, the county, parks departments, Purdue and the public schools, and business and industry — partnering and working together.
“It appears that the city, the county, we’re all on the same page with the same goals and objectives,” Walker says. “We’re at a point where people are working together, collaboratively. We’re all pulling on the rope in the same direction. This is a well-run region.
“It’s that planning element that we’ve embraced in this community that works so well.” ★
BY KEN THOMPSON
PHOTOS PROVIDED BY CHRISTINE PETKOV
Jon Miner knows first-hand the magic spell Loeb Stadium has woven over Greater Lafayette youths since 1940.
In 1984, at 15, Miner stepped foot on the Loeb Stadium infield for the first time as a member of Lafayette Jeff’s freshman baseball team and as a player for Firefighters in the Colt Recreation League.
“Growing up in this community and playing youth baseball, that was always a big deal to go to Loeb Stadium and watch a baseball game (and) hopefully play there one day,” says Miner, who played two years of varsity baseball at Jeff and visited Loeb Stadium as a senior member of the McCutcheon High School team.
Miner is now the director of operations for the Lafayette Parks and Recreation Department. At the time of this interview, the renovated Loeb Stadium was just a few weeks away from opening day.
The renovation project spearheaded by Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski will make sure thousands of baseball players – and hopefully other athletes – will continue to play inside Loeb Stadium for decades to come. The renovation, which was estimated to cost $20 million, was completed on schedule for Lafayette Jeff’s baseball season opener against Central Catholic on March 31.
“The driving vision behind it, Mayor Roswarski who grew up in this community and knowing the history of Loeb Stadium, was to design and build a facility that would last another 80 years, like the old Loeb Stadium did, if not longer,” Miner says. “To give this community not just a wonderful venue for baseball but a wonderful venue for other community events.”
Roswarski’s vision for the new Loeb Stadium includes the potential to host soccer and football games as well as non-sporting events such as concerts. The new stadium has a seating capacity of 2,600.
“I think when it’s finally open and we break out of this pandemic and people are able to get into the stadium and watch an event – whether it be a baseball game, a soccer game or a concert – they are going to be really pleased with how this stadium has turned out,” Miner says.
There was much anticipation in Greater Lafayette when a front-page headline in the Journal and Courier on July 2, 1940, proclaimed “Park Stadium for Athletic and Cultural Events to be Memorial to Solomon Loeb.”
Bert and June Loeb contributed $50,000 (almost $935,000 in today’s dollars) for the construction of a 3,152-seat reinforced concrete structure inside Columbian Park. The stadium was named Columbian Park Recreation Center, which remained until 1971 when it was renamed Loeb Stadium.
“Its purpose being to serve as a public stadium for athletic, cultural and educational events of various kinds; in fact any legitimate entertainment under sun or stars,” the 1940 article stated.
With lights installed as part of the construction, the stadium was projected to not only host baseball games but softball games, boxing matches, concerts, pageants and even horse shows.
Architect Walter Scholer had the foresight to make the stadium dimensions of Major League Baseball stadiums with 333 feet down the left field line, 404 feet to center field and 322 feet down the right field line. Retaining similar distances in the 2021 renovation required some out-of-the-box thinking.
When the decision was made to rotate the field 180 degrees from its original layout, placing home plate near the corner of Main Street and Wallace Avenue, the right field area needed a few extra feet. Since moving the zoo was out of the question, architects came up with a plan to extend the stadium entrance a few feet from the original footprint into Main.
But even that idea wasn’t as simple as it sounds.
“A lot of the fiber infrastructure in this community comes right up Main Street,” Miner says. “There’s only so far you can go into Main Street before you have to get into relocating that.”
Making the most of every foot available, home plate is positioned just a few yards from the corner of Main and Wallace.
When it comes to construction in Indiana weather, nothing comes easily. Toss in a shutdown of nearly a month in April 2020 due to COVID-19 precautions and it’s amazing that the project was completed in time for the Lafayette Jeff baseball season.
“All the contractors have done a marvelous job working through the snow we had, the cold snaps,” Miner says. “We couldn’t be more pleased with their work.”
The new Loeb Stadium also will serve as the front door to the 21st century Columbian Park. Spectators will have a view of the new carousel building beyond the centerfield fence, plus Tropicanoe Cove and the water slides just past left field.
Fans sitting in the suite level will be able to follow the progress of construction going on at Memorial Island.
“It was important to build a beautiful stadium and have the viewpoints be on the inside of Columbian Park and not have the people in the stands looking out into Oakland School, the Frozen Custard and Arni’s,” Miner says. “I think it brings Loeb Stadium more into the park and it will transform Main Street.
“We’re going to have state-of-the-art lighting, state-of-the-art concession facilities. There’s not really a bad seat in the stadium to view a baseball game. Then we have the video board that is really going to add to whatever event is going on there. This is something even communities with nice baseball stadiums don’t have.” ★
BY KAT BRAZ
The Spinning Axe
Barbara Huddleston spent years growing her catering and event business. At the start of 2020, her calendar was booked with weddings, parties and corporate events. When the pandemic forced the cancellation of large gatherings, Huddleston watched her business evaporate almost overnight. During a trip to Bowling Green, Kentucky, over Labor Day weekend, she discovered a new passion — axe throwing.
“We actually went to visit Mammoth Cave, but it was closed due to COVID,” Huddleston says. “Looking for other things to do we found an axe throwing place near our hotel. About four throws in, I realized I loved it. I knew I needed to bring this sport back to Lafayette.”
That’s right. Urban axe throwing is a worldwide sport growing in popularity. The World Axe Throwing League, formed in 2017 by representatives from Canada, the United States, Brazil and Ireland, holds sanctioned tournaments year-round. Budding future champions could reside right here in Tippecanoe County and get their start at Huddleston’s latest enterprise, The Spinning Axe, 351 South St., Lafayette. After returning from her trip, Huddleston leased the location and took about seven weeks transforming a former sushi restaurant into an axe throwing venue and bar serving wine, beer, liquor and snacks such as nachos, pizza, soft pretzels and popcorn.
The family-friendly venue (they recommend ages 10 and up, depending on the physical ability of the child) accepts walk-ins and reservations, which are encouraged for large groups and on Saturdays. After signing a waiver, guests are assigned to a lane and an axe coach reviews safety precautions, gives pointers and explains different types of games that can be played. At the end of the lane, a large round bullseye painted on wooden boards serves as the target.
“I’ve been surprised at the number of women who’ve shown interest in axe throwing,” Huddleston says. “They want to do a girls night out, they want to schedule a date night. That’s been a really cool thing. Axe throwing isn’t as scary as it sounds. Our trained axe coaches will show you how to do it safely. We’re going to help you have a great time.”=
The Spinning Axe is open seven days a week. Cost per hour: Adults $22; Children $15. Military, fire and police personnel receive a discounted rate of $17/hour.
Learning to Thrive
Struggling to take your vitamins? Thrive IV Lounge, 1343 Sagamore Pkwy N, Lafayette, offers a relaxing and hydrating infusion of vitamins, minerals and nutrients directly into your bloodstream for maximum effect. Administered by registered nurses using the same medical grade supplies found in hospitals, the medspa offers an array of therapy treatments to boost immune function, bring migraine relief, reduce inflammation and even recover from a hangover.
Owner Sarah Kurtz was inspired to open an IV lounge after learning about the rising popularity of drip spas in other parts of the country. As an emergency room nurse for the past seven years, Kurtz wanted to offer preventative care that might help keep chronic condition patients out of the ER.
“There’s just not enough information out there for people to understand the importance of how to prevent getting sick,” Kurtz says. “By building the immune system, getting a lot of sleep, staying, hydrated, taking the correct vitamins and eating healthy you can prevent a lot of things from being a lot worse. After all these years in medicine, I’m just taking a different approach to help people get there.”
Once a client fills out paperwork covering medical history, medications, allergies, height and weight, the Thrive IV nursing staff checks vital signs before discussing available drip treatments. Once the IV is started, it takes anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour to complete the infusion. There are three private treatment rooms as well as a large communal lounge which Kurtz hopes to open up as the pandemic slows down.
Afraid of needles? Thrive IV offers a numbing spray to help ease the discomfort. Or you can skip the IV and order an injection instead. The biggest seller is the skinny shot, a special blend of hydrating fluids and vitamins to boost metabolism. Pair it with a Beauty Blend IV treatment for a fully rejuvenating experience. Not ready to leave the house? Thrive IV’s mobile concierge service brings wellness to the comfort of your living room.
“One liter of IV fluids that we give you is equivalent to drinking two gallons of water,” Kurtz says. “Results vary depending on the type of treatment and an individual’s metabolism, but the benefits of IV therapy usually last about five days to a week.”
Memberships are available for clients who want to make Thrive IV a regular part of their wellness routine. Though Thrive IV offers a relaxing, calming atmosphere, all IV medspas are regulated by the state of Indiana and must maintain the same safety standards as medical clinics and hospitals. All medications, vitamins and supplies are FDA approved. An ER physician serves as medical director, overseeing the lounge. IVs are administered by experienced ER nurses with the critical care skills to identify anything abnormal in a client’s session and refer clients to the ER or urgent care if necessary.
Thrive IV is open Thursday through Monday. Follow them on social media for daily deals and monthly specials.
Big Woods Restaurant and Bar | 516 Northwestern Ave., West Lafayette
Originating in Nashville, Indiana, in 2009, the opening of a Big Woods Restaurant and Bar in West Lafayette marks the Big Woods Village’s 10th
location — and the farthest north. With its focused menu of signature pizzas and a selection of burgers and sandwiches, Big Woods offers a cozy sports bar environment in the location formerly occupied by The Stacked Pickle on Purdue’s campus. Cocktails of the month feature spirits crafted by Hard Truth Hills, a division of the Big Woods brand also based in Nashville. Craft beer lovers will devour the Big Woods Quaff ON! beers, such as Busted Knuckle, Hare Trigger and Yellow Dwarf.
Copper Moon Coffee | 351 Sagamore Pkwy & 225 S. University St., West Lafayette
Brothers Brad and Cary Gutwein purchased Copper Moon Coffee (originally founded in the late 1960s) in 2007 and relaunched the business in Lafayette. Now with four locations throughout Tippecanoe County and a booming retail business, Copper Moon is the largest family-owned coffee company in the Midwest. The latest two locations include a spot on Purdue’s campus inside the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Building and a standalone café in the former Salin Bank building next to Dog n Suds on Sagamore Parkway.
“We are delighted at the opportunity to continue expanding our reach into West Lafayette,” says Brad Gutwien, CEO of Copper Moon Coffee, in a January 2020 press release. “We think this in an ideal location that will be easy to access for most of the West Lafayette community.”
Reveille Coffee Bar | 835 Main St., Lafayette
The inviting French-inspired décor of Reveille Coffee Bar creates a warm and welcoming ambiance the moment you step in the door. This cozy spot with friendly baristas churns out all manner of gourmet coffees, specialty teas, decadent hot chocolates and iced brews. Featuring a rotating selection
of locally made pastries, Reveille is the ideal spot to lounge away a morning.
Ritual Cocktail Bar | 211 N. Second St., Lafayette
The intimate, classy lounge vibe at Ritual Cocktail Bar quickly garnered a reputation for one of the coolest spots in town. A streamlined food menu features upscale snacks such as almond breaded duck tenders and roasted whole cremini mushrooms. But here, craft cocktails are the main attraction. Mixologists reimagine classic drink recipes and combine house-made syrups, bitters and juices; specialty spirits and unusual ingredients to create memorable concoctions that are meant to be savored, like a ritual. Feeling extra swanky? Stop by for Rat Pack night to sip your libation while listening to Sinatra, every Tuesday before 9 p.m.
Ripple & Co. | 1007 Main St., Lafayette
Fans of East End Grill have eagerly awaited the opening of Ripple and Co., a fast-casual dining concept located across the street from the high-end restaurant and run by the same executive leadership team. The new multilevel eatery features a spacious second floor with outdoor dining and a private event space. Downstairs, the atmosphere of the lively counter-service restaurant is reminiscent of a food hall. Executive chef Ambarish Lulay brings the same elevated sensibilities found at East End to Ripple & Co.’s menu. Smoked meats, pork belly and “really good tofu” are just a few of the crave-inducing items available. With both cocktails and beers on tap, Ripple & Co. is an exciting addition to upper Main Street. Plus, a partnership with Greyhouse Coffee means you can pick up your favorite cup of joe while you’re there.
Rusty Taco | 3209 Builder Drive, Lafayette
Serving up authentic street tacos at affordable prices, Rusty Taco’s festive ambience encourages friends and family to linger over margaritas while enjoying boldly flavored tacos. With more than 30 locations around the country, each one emulates a neighborhood taco stand. An array of breakfast tacos is available all day. The handmade street taco menu features roasted pork, brisket, baja shrimp and fried chicken. Rusty’s commitment to high-quality ingredients and making food fresh-to-order ensures satisfaction in every bite. Wash it down with an ice-cold margarita and experience bliss.
Wolfies Northern Woods Grill | 352 E. State St., West Lafayette
Scott and Nyla Wolf opened their first Wolfies location in 2004. Designed for the “seeker in all things sports, nature and food,” Wolfies offers a casual sports-themed environment in the Wabash Landing site formerly occupied by Scotty’s Brewhouse. The West Lafayette location is the eighth in the state and the first to venture away from the Indianapolis area. The expansive menu is packed with sharable starters, salads, wings, ribs, seafood, sandwiches, tacos and burgers. Thirsty? Try one of the 30 local and regional beers on tap, along with a full bar featuring craft cocktails. One thing is certain, you won’t go hungry at Wolfies.
► wolfiesgrill.com/West-Lafayette ★
BY RADONNA FIORINI
PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV
Located west of the Marq Apartments and Old National Bank along the Wabash River, the Riverside Promenade Deck was dedicated in July 2020 and represents the first completed project in the
“Two Cities, One River” master plan designed to enhance the quality of life along the Wabash, says Stan Lambert, executive director of the Wabash River Enhancement Corporation.
The promenade is a city block long, rising above railroad tracks and the river bank. It connects on the north to the John T. Myers Pedestrian Bridge next to Reihle Plaza, and to Columbia Street on the south, says Eric Lucas, principal with MKSK, the landscape architecture and urban design company that oversaw the project. Access also is available from the Marq building.
Because railroad tracks prevent access or a good view of the river from ground level, the promenade is at bridge level and pedestrians can enjoy a good view of the waterway without obstruction. The deck zig zags a bit, meandering through the space to mimic the flow of the river.
“The whole space takes its shape from the river,” Lucas says. “Seats rise up and tilt in different angles so the space mimics the river both horizontally and vertically. It is 15 feet wide at the narrowest spot, and 30 feet or so at its widest.” The configuration includes spaces large enough to accommodate a band or other type of entertainment.
The deck is constructed of sustainable, durable hardwood slats and steel beams with stainless steel cable netting around the perimeter. Planting areas and free-standing containers have been seeded with native pollinator flowers and grasses.
Decorative pole lights line the walkway and glowing lights under the benches brighten the pathway from dusk into the night. Even the area directly under the deck has been incorporated into the overall plan, says Lucas. A few metal grates were installed so walkers can look 20-feet down and see vegetation below. Native trees and ornamental shrubs have been planted there, some of which will eventually grow up through the grates, turning the deck into a more natural landscape.
Another feature people enjoy is an Americans With Disabilities Act-accessible walkway that connects the promenade deck to Reihle Plaza and Main Street. The gently sloping walk is a favorite with bikers and those with limited mobility, allowing stairless access from the street to the deck and the pedestrian bridge leading into West Lafayette, Lucas says.
Dennis Carson, Lafayette economic development director, says, “It’s a great event space – wide and with excellent views of the river. Even though COVID has shut a lot of things down, I see people walking on the deck and having their lunch there. We’ll be able to use it more fully in the future.”
Carson calls the Wabash a “great asset” and sees lots of opportunities for public use, recreation and private development along the river. The enhancement effort along the Wabash has been underway for more than a decade, as it began in earnest in 2004 when the WREC was formed.
The last 17 years have been spent creating and refining the master plan for public and private development along the river in Tippecanoe, Fountain, Warren and Carroll counties; creating partnerships between government officials, Purdue University, and private entities; acquiring land along the river bank; and working on watershed issues, says WREC’s Lambert.
The plan envisions a time when the river becomes the “…healthy, beautiful centerpiece of a whole, interconnected community. Building on the river’s beauty, the plan seeks to restore a healthy river ecosystem and create recreation and related amenities to create a unique quality of life and make the region a place of choice—especially for attracting and retaining employees in the high technology and bio-life sciences sectors.”
With a solid road map in place, the non-profit WREC is ready to move forward with some of the proposed projects, particularly in the Lafayette/West Lafayette urban corridor, but funding is always an issue.
The promenade deck project was pushed to the front of the line in 2015 when private developers started work on the mixed-use development that now houses the Marq apartments and Old National Bank regional headquarters.
“The promenade was in the masterplan, so we had to do it concurrently (with the Old National development) if it was going to happen,” Lambert says. “We had to get the whole project completed, including fundraising, in a very short time.”
With a $2.2 million grant from North Central Health Services, $600,000 from the city of Lafayette, and $485,000 from WREC, work on the promenade began in 2016 with plans to wrap up in about a year. Several construction setbacks and COVID-19 slowdowns pushed the finish date to 2020, but the $3.2 million project is now complete.
No other brick and mortar projects are currently underway along the riverfront, but the WREC is refining plans for the river corridor and pursuing grants and private donations for remediation of some industrial sites and development of greenspaces. The WREC has purchased 28 properties along the Wabash in Tippecanoe County and will work on river bank restoration and stormwater management.
A $325,000 grant from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the United States Environmental Protection Agency awarded in March will help the corporation address water quality issues in this area of the Wabash River watershed, according to information from WREC Watershed Coordinator Shannon Stanis, who will oversee the grant.
Most of that money will go toward a cost-sharing program that encourages those living within the watershed to adopt pollution reducing and water quality enhancing practices. The grant also will fund educational and community outreach programs as well as water quality testing. A similar grant obtained in 2019 was used for such projects as rain barrel and rain garden installations, tree and native turf planting, and streambank stabilization. These efforts helped reduce the amount of nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment flowing into the Wabash.
While there may not be any flashy projects in the works, there is more interest and investment than ever in downtown Lafayette and the State Street corridor in West Lafayette, Lambert says. He cites tremendous returns from money invested in riverfront enhancement in other Indiana communities.
“These kinds of projects are costly and take a long time to do, but cities who invest in their riverfronts see a $5 return for every dollar invested within five years, and a $12 to $16 return for every dollar invested in 20 years,” Lambert says. The biggest problem is finding a dedicated funding source that is not subject to the vagaries of politics and changes in governmental policies.
He harkens back to the years-long railroad relocation effort in Lafayette that removed tracks from downtown streets. About 80 percent of the funding for that multi-million dollar project came from the federal government through earmarks in the federal budget. But that funding source was eliminated years ago, Lambert recalls.
“WREC is putting together a dedicated funding plan, looking at a food and beverage tax fund or something like that to help support and develop the riverfront,” he says. “That would spread the cost across the most people, and primarily those who are using the services.”
Any tax would have to be authorized by the state and Tippecanoe County Council, and no concerted effort to pursue such a fund is currently in the works.
If the stars align and consistent funding becomes available, Lambert sees a future for life along the Wabash River in Tippecanoe County that will include private mixed-use development, a new pedestrian bridge extending Brown Street across the river into West Lafayette, new parks and green space, small boat docks, a disc golf course, a band shell for outdoor entertainment, mountain bike trails and more.
In the meantime, why not plan a leisurely stroll along a promenade? ★
More information about the Wabash River master plan, including maps and historical perspectives, is available at wabashriver.net
Interested in partnering with the WREC on a pollution-reducing cost-share project? Visit: wabashriver.net/costshare
BY KEN THOMPSON
PHOTOS PROVIDED, FIREWORKS PHOTO BY DAVE SCHMIDT
Occupying a mere block-long stretch on Columbia Street, organizers led by Steve Klink promised a 12-hour day of good food and door prizes in front of Loeb’s Department Store.
Proceeds would benefit the Tippecanoe Arts Federation.
Offerings included knackwurst and bratwurst, Teriyaki steak kabobs, oysters on the half shell and crab puffs. All that for a $1 admission plus free Coca-Cola and a chance to win door prizes and gift certificates every hour.
Loeb’s is now a distant memory for long-time residents of Lafayette. So, too, are many of the 12 local businesses that participated in the first Taste: Alt Heidelberg, Amato’s, Sarge Oak, Hour Time, Butterfield’s, Cork and Cleaver and Don the Beachcomber’s.
Gone, too, is the $1 admission price. Today, admission to the Taste is $10 for persons 13 and older. But it’s well worth the price
Digby’s, The Parthenon, Mountain Jack’s, The Downtowner and Red Lobster are the only existing businesses that helped launch what is now a 40-year-old tradition. And what a tradition it has become.
By 1991, the event had outgrown its one-block home and attracted 22,000 people to Sixth Street. Even that space was too cramped for two stages and an ever-growing amount of restaurant booths.
With 30 restaurants and an estimated crowd of 40,000, the 20th Taste of Tippecanoe in 2001 was spread out over Riehle Plaza, the John T. Myers Pedestrian Bridge, and the downtown area between Third Street to the east, Ferry Street to the north and Columbia Street to the south.
In 2019, three stages were set up along Second and Ferry streets, Fourth Street, and Fifth and Main.
That tradition was disrupted this past summer thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Tippecanoe Arts Federation was forced to severely curtail its major fundraising effort of the year, settling for an online presence of live musical performances over Facebook Live.
Kyra Clark, marketing and events director for the Tippecanoe Arts Federation, says it’s safe to say that this year’s Taste of Tippecanoe, scheduled for July 31, may be the most important Taste since the first event.
“The Taste is our major fundraiser and the largest single-day arts fundraiser in Indiana,” Clark says. “It’s incredibly important for us to fundraise and get with the community.”
To make it as safe as possible for visitors, the Taste of Tippecanoe will be spread over a large area of downtown surrounding Riehle Plaza and the Tippecanoe County Courthouse. Also, there will be just two stages this year for live entertainment.
“We’ve increased the size of the footprint to make it a little easier for people to sit down and appreciate the food and the local restaurants that are going to be participating at the Taste,” Clark says.
“We are going to make things as safe as possible. We’re going to have hand-sanitizing stations, and all of our volunteers will be wearing masks. We will never hold an event that puts our community at risk. We are not going to be a superspreader event. We would never risk our relationship or our reputation with our supporters.”
If this year’s Taste is important to the Tippecanoe Arts Federation, it may be equally important to Greater Lafayette-area restaurants. Nearly every establishment has suffered from the government COVID-19 mandates that have kept away the usual numbers of customers.
But several local restaurants are bullish on the Taste of Tippecanoe. The Tippecanoe Arts Federation had 12 commitments by late February from Arni’s, Grilled Chicken and Rice, Corn in the USA, Dippin’ Dots, Gibson’s Shaved Ice, Indiana Kitchen Bacon, Java Roaster, Kona Ice of Tippecanoe County, Lepea, McGraw’s Steak Chop and Fish House, Red Bird Café and Thieme & Wagner.
“That’s pretty normal for this time of year,” Clark says, “but our goal is always 30 to 32 restaurants.”
The latter number is the most Clark has seen during her four years with TAF.
“This is an event where restaurants are incredibly busy, and it is an event where the majority of our restaurants sign up closer toward the event so they have an idea of staffing and timing,” Clark says.
Last year’s virtual event and the loss of revenue have forced more budget cuts than just the number of stages.
“The biggest change this year is that there will not be a fireworks show,” Clark says. “It was just something we could not fit in our budget.
“We’re saving a little bit of money, but we’re dedicating more space to the seating and the appreciation of the local restaurants. We’ve had to tighten our belt, but we’re working with what we’ve got and doing the best we can.”
Even with the pandemic still a concern, Clark is hoping that this summer’s Taste will be remembered as a celebration.
“The focus of this year’s event is celebrating 40 years of great Taste,” Clark says. “We’re super excited to be able to have an event again where we can provide local food to our community, especially at a time when our restaurants are hurting or struggling.
“This is an incredible marketing opportunity for them. Tens of thousands of people come downtown for this event. Obviously, with the COVID restrictions and the health guidelines, the attendance might look a little bit different this year, but we want that marketing opportunity and promotional opportunity for our restaurants and downtown businesses.”
For more information about Taste of Tippecanoe and updates on the event date and participating
businesses, visit tasteoftippecanoe.org. ★
BY KAT BRAZ
PHOTO BY CHRISTINE PETKOV
Last summer, tensions surrounding issues of racial injustice boiled over across the country in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. Locally, more than 1,000 peaceful protesters marched downtown on May 31 to rally for racial justice and take a stand against police brutality.
“Witnessing the energy of the young people and the memory, or the wisdom of the older people, together, that gives me hope,” says Rodney Lynch, pastor and director of the Baptist Student Foundation at Purdue University. “I was pleased with the number of people who were there. Most of them were white, that’s the demographics of this community. But standing up for racial justice is not a one-time moment; it’s a lifetime movement.”
Motivated by a desire to join like-minded community members to address issues of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), Lynch joined the Diversity Roundtable (DRT) when he relocated to Greater Lafayette in 2016. An outgrowth of Vision 2020, a 2000–2001 community visioning project for the future of Greater Lafayette, the DRT began in 2002 when a small group of citizens started meeting to plan a Diversity Summit held in April 2003. It became a biennial event and this month, the DRT held its 10th summit. The 2021 Diversity Summit, held virtually and free to all participants, focused on Strategic Doing: Turning Conversation into Action.
In addition to the summits, the DRT meets monthly to discuss DEI issues in the community. The meetings are open to the public and co-facilitated by Lynch and Barbara Clark, who retired as director of the Science Diversity Office and director of the Women in Science Programs at Purdue in 2015. An all-volunteer group, the DRT is a committee of Greater Lafayette Commerce.
“We are the only group in the community focused on diversity in general,” Clark says. “We’re not organized in response to a crisis or an issue. We’re focused on raising awareness and educating people about the diversity issues in the community — anything from race to sexual orientation to disability — and how diversity, equity and inclusion intersect with social issues.”
Many of the monthly meetings feature speakers from the community, such as city government officials, school superintendents, police officers and university administrators who share their perspective on how DEI is supported in their respective institutions as well as identifying areas that still need to be addressed. Clark, who has served as a co-facilitator of the group since 2009, says although the same core issues may resurface, often they’ve been redefined in some way.
“An issue that we’ve discussed a number of times is ‘driving while Black,’” Clark says. “When we first started talking about that, it was somewhat surprising to the white folks but certainly not surprising to the people of color. One of the things the DRT does is develop programming to educate the community on these issues.”
One of the programs facilitated by the DRT addressed implicit bias. Lynch, who co-led the training, would ask attendees how many of them had “the talk” with their children. Invariably, white attendees assumed “the talk” centered around sexual activity. Black attendees gave their children the “police talk.”
“Black people do not have the privilege of not educating their children about how to conduct themselves when they are engaged by a police officer, so they get home safe,” Lynch says. “White children are raised to believe the police will keep them safe. Whereas we’ve seen time and time again, Black people are afraid to even call the police because our loved ones may not live through that interaction.”
The depth of implicit bias is magnified through a video experiment shown in the training that posits two men of different races in the same scenario. In one instance, a white man is shown breaking into a car in broad daylight. In the other, the man breaking into the car is Black. The white man sets off the car alarm multiple times, fishing with a wire coat hanger for 30 minutes trying to pop the door lock. A police car drives by without stopping. When the Black man attempts to break into the car, a passerby begins filming him with a cellphone almost immediately and the police arrive within two minutes. The video ends with the Black man in handcuffs surrounded by five police officers.
“It’s assumed that the white guy is just locked out of his car,” Lynch says. “But the Black guy must be robbing that car. These are examples of the implicit biases we all live with.”
The difficulty of identifying implicit biases lies in the fact that we don’t always know we have them. These unconscious inclinations often operate outside of our awareness and can directly contradict a person’s espoused beliefs or values. The danger of implicit biases is how they affect our reactions and behaviors without our awareness. The goal of implicit bias training is to help attendees understand and acknowledge the systems of privilege in place that influence these unconscious prejudices.
These conversations are difficult to have, even among members of the DRT, who, by their very presence at meetings, are more inclined to be receptive to reframing their personal perspectives and committed to acknowledging and addressing DEI issues within the community.
“One of the things that keeps people coming month after month is that they can be honest and open at the DRT,” Clark says. “They feel safe talking about issues in a group where people have different perspectives because of their lived experiences.”
Another program offered by the DRT for the past few years centers around the book Me and White Supremacy: How to Recognise Your Privilege, Combat Racism and Change the World by Layla F. Saad. The book operates as a workbook, outlining journaling exercises and conversation prompts that force white readers to reflect on the roots of their own unconscious bias, how they benefit from the systems in place and how white supremacy plays out in their everyday lives. Small cohorts of 20 to 25 people work through the book together, meeting for weekly discussions over the course of one month.
“It’s not really fair to expect people of color to educate white people on issues of diversity,” Clark says. “If white people care about diversity and want to make a change, they need to put some energy into educating themselves. That’s what Me and White Supremacy is all about. The journaling can be difficult. The conversations can be intense, but it’s all very worthwhile.”
Before the pandemic, approximately 30 people attended the monthly DRT meetings. After switching to virtual meetings last year, the DRT has seen a slight increase of participation with up to 50 attendees. Those numbers may seem small, but the impact of the DRT on the larger community is far greater.
“We’re not only touching the people who show up,” Lynch says. “The people who participate in the DRT are armed with information they can use when they encounter injustice at their job, in the community or in their family. That’s the beauty of what the DRT offers. If someone is serious about combatting injustice, DRT is a good place to start. We can inform and educate.” ★
To receive updates about the DRT and information about its monthly meetings, email email@example.com or visit diversitytippecanoe.org.
BY KAT BRAZ
On the hunt for seasonal fruits and veggies? You’re in luck. The bounty of community supported agriculture (CSA) in and around Greater Lafayette allows consumers to buy produce directly from the grower. Area farmers markets connect buyers with vendors who can speak with authority on how plants were grown and how livestock was raised. Buying from a local source also reduces the carbon footprint required to acquire your food. Many area farmers adhere to organic practices, harvesting at peak growing season to deliver fresh food that’s both delicious and nutritious.
As COVID-19 guidelines continue to evolve, please consult websites and social media accounts for the most up-to-date information on market policies.
Lafayette Farmers Market
8 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Saturdays, May through October; Fifth and Main streets
The area’s largest open-air market, Lafayette Farmers Market dates back 182 years and is one of the state’s oldest outdoor markets. Vendors peddling produce, seedlings, flowers, meat, eggs, jams, breads, wood crafts, health and beauty items, home goods and even concessions line the cobblestones along Fifth Street every Saturday morning throughout the summer.
“Our market puts an emphasis on local-first,” says Rebecca Jones, quality of life coordinator for Greater Lafayette Commerce. “Our vendors come from within a 90-mile radius. We also prioritize vendors who sell produce to honor the market’s roots as a place of commerce for farmers and cultivators. At least 70 percent of items sold must be produced locally first-hand by the vendor. The remaining 30 percent must follow the same rules of being produced first-hand and be traceable to the maker or farmer.”
As a champion of local goods and services, the market offers programming that highlights community organizations, features local musicians and celebrates community holidays. The market also partners with local businesses to offer giveaways for attendees and incentivize giving blood when the Blood Bus visits the market. Vendors collaborate with the Veggie Drop program to provide excess goods to local food banks. The market is administered by Greater Lafayette Commerce on behalf of the City of Lafayette and sponsored by Subaru of Indiana Automotive.
“We know the market is not only a place of commerce, but gathering and idea sharing,” Jones says. “The success of our market is community driven.”
Purdue Farmers Market
11 a.m.–2 p.m. Thursdays, May through October; Memorial Mall
Organized by Purdue Campus Planning and Sustainability in conjunction with Greater Lafayette Commerce, the Purdue Farmers Market features several lunch vendors and other prepared goods vendors, such as bakeries, in addition to some floral and produce vendors.
Guests without a campus parking permit may pay to park in the Grant Street Parking Garage, approximately a five-minute walk. The 2020 market was canceled in adherence of the Protect Purdue COVID-19 guidelines. At press time, a decision about the 2021 market had not been made public.
West Lafayette Farmers Market
3–7 p.m. Wednesdays, May through October; Cumberland Park
Casual and laid-back, the scene at the West Lafayette Farmers Market welcomes shoppers to visit with its 50 to 60 vendors, enjoy dinner from local food trucks and unwind listening to live music. Started in 2005, the market showcases grown and collected goods (such as eggs, honey and maple syrup) alongside numerous crafts and body products including children’s clothing, tie-dye, jewelry, soaps and lotions.
“Our main focus is organic produce, but we have many excellent craft vendors, too,” says Shelly Foran, market manager. “All craft vendors are juried to ensure high-quality goods.”
The market makes a perfect dinner destination with a selection of prepared food vendors, food trucks and bakeries. Two local wineries rotate, serving wine by the glass. The market stipulates that 75 percent of the items sold must be produced locally, within 100 miles of the market. In addition to tips, local musicians earn a small stipend for performing, thanks to two sponsors: The Russell Company and Reliable Insurance. The market is administered by the City of West Lafayette.
Foran describes the dog-friendly market as community-oriented. “It’s a great place to visit and socialize,” she says. “Customers get to know their vendors. We have many shoppers who return each week. We want to be a destination market.”
Local farmers and CSAs
Specifics can vary among CSAs, but in general you commit to purchasing a share — a basket of produce — on a regular basis for the entirety of the growing season. Typically, you can’t dictate exactly what comes in your basket, so it’s a wonderful opportunity to experiment with cooking with seasonal ingredients you might not otherwise purchase. Some CSAs allow for half shares or split shares. Several local farmers offer direct purchase of their goods.
Beck’s Family Farm
Stop by the Beck’s vegetable stand east of Attica for homegrown tomatoes, green beans, zucchini, cucumbers, bell peppers, cabbage, onions, potatoes, cantaloupe and watermelon. It also frequents the farmers market.
This small, family-owned farm and greenhouse in West Point sells flowers, herbs and gourmet vegetables. It’s also frequently spotted at many central Indiana farmers markets.
Double M Farms
Operated by a fifth-generation farmer, Double M’s farming model is grass-based, meaning you won’t find GMOs, animal biproducts or antibiotics in any of the meat they sell. The farm offers grass-fed beef and lamb in the spring and pasture-raised pork, poultry and eggs year-round.
Highland Heights Farm
Based in Frankfort, Highland Heights Farm offers a monthly fresh veggie box subscription available for delivery to Boone, Clinton and Tippecanoe counties. The range of products includes lettuce, greens and herbs, eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, radishes and carrots.
Huffman & Hawbaker Farms
Tippecanoe County-based Huffman & Hawbaker Farms grows tomatoes, jalepeno peppers and banana peppers. Its U-pick strawberry farm usually opens at the end of May and lasts a few weeks.
Purdue Student Farm
A small, sustainable farm located near Kampen Golf Course, the Purdue Student Farm grows vegetables, herbs and cut flowers using the principles that naturally govern balanced ecosystems. Operated under the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, the farm disperses its produce to university dining halls, donations to community food pantries and through publicly available CSAs.
Sycamore Springs on Springboro
This family farm in Brookston raises grass-fed beef and pork and grows fruits and vegetables as well as organic certified garlic. Shop its in-season selection online.
This Old Farm
What started as one family’s commitment to growing wholesome food for themselves has grown into a regional wholesale distributor delivering quality ingredients to restaurants, grocers, schools and cafeterias around the state.
Families can still shop its wide selection of organically farmed meats, eggs, cheeses and other artisan products
available for pick up in Colfax.
Thistle Byre Farm
A pasture-based, sustainable family farm in rural Delphi, Thistle Byre Farm’s mission is to help encourage others to make their homes nurturing, healthy and cozy without the use of chemicals, hormones, pesticides and genetically modified organisms. Thistle Byre offers three different levels of membership for its meat and vegetable CSA.
Trinity Acres Farms
Offering certified organic chemical-free produce and animal proteins, Trinity Acres Farms of Crawfordsville offers two CSA enrollment options. The conventional box CSA features an assortment of freshly harvested produce for 26 weeks, and the shoppers CSA allows buyers to choose their products from its online store.
Wea Creek Orchard
Offering a wide variety of fresh U-pick produce including apples, nectarines, peaches and pumpkins, Wea Creek Orchard makes a perfect family outing. The market, located south of Lafayette, also stocks its own line of canned goods including jams, jellies, salsa and barbecue sauce. Check the website for information about special events.
The Weathered Plow
Featuring fresh produce largely supplied by its own family farm near Camden, The Weathered Plow, 2325 Schuyler Ave., also sells delicious baked goods, take-and-bake meals, made to order sandwiches, candies and more. ★
Parkside | 1902 Scott St.
A Columbian Park staple for decades, Parkside reopened under new ownership just last year. The recently constructed patio opened in September and is nonsmoking, just like the reimagined restaurant. Outfitted with reclaimed lumber, polished concrete and a hanging garden, the stylish outdoor ambiance is a welcome respite. With dinner specials, smoked meats and “the coldest beer in town,” we don’t need an excuse to stop by and stay a while.
Digby’s | 113 N. Fourth St.
Tucked between two tall buildings, Digby’s patio may feel like an exclusive hideaway, and spaciously positioned tables along serpentine pathways dotted with trees lend an air of privacy. Its casual atmosphere belies what is arguably the best patio view in town. Gaze at the Tippecanoe Courthouse soaring overhead as local music emanating from the outdoor stage wafts over you. Reservations accepted, and your pup can come, too.
East End Grill | 1016 Main St.
A seasonally inspired scratch menu, creative cocktails and a modern, urban vibe have earned East End Grill a reputation as one of the hottest spots in town. The restaurant has become an anchor of upper Main Street since it first opened five years ago. Weekend nights, tables are hard to come by without reservations, even more so for the few available on the small dog-friendly patio. Reservations encouraged.
Lafayette Brewing Co. | 622 Main St.
The first brewery to receive Indiana’s small brewers permit back in 1993, Brew Co. — as it’s known to locals — brews traditional ales and lagers on site. The kitchen sends out generous portions of unique pub fare that would satiate any appetite. Whether you stop by on Pint Night (Wednesday), Flight Night (Monday), Seven Buck Sunday or any other night, a good time is certain.
Red Seven | 200 Main St.
Watch the world go by from your patio seat in the heart of downtown. From small plates to seafood to steaks, this new American restaurant offers an upscale urban dining experience for everyone. The extensive line up of seasonally crafted cocktails and local brews are enough to make you linger for an evening. Dogs welcome. Red Seven accepts reservations; although patio seating can be requested, it is not guaranteed.
Sgt. Preston’s of the North | 6 N. Second St.
Is there a more popular patio in town than Sgt. Preston’s on a sunny day? The Canadian-themed bar has been a staple in downtown Lafayette for decades, serving up delicious grub backed by a full bar with weekly dinner and drink specials. Often featuring live music on weekends, your best bet is to head over early to snag a table or visit on Monday for Schooner Night. 21+ only.
Rusty Taco | 3209 Builder Dr.
Relatively new on the scene, Rusty Taco quickly impressed with its diverse menu of street tacos that pack bold flavors. With its festive umbrellas and charming string lights, the Rusty Taco patio gives off the mellow vibe of a place where you want to kick back, relax and forget about your worries for a while. Rusty says, “Tacos are the most important meal of the day,” and we can’t disagree.
Teays River Brewing and Public House | 3000 S. Ninth St.
This comfortable outdoor patio bedecked with picnic tables maintains a communal feeling even with sufficient social distancing. An extension of the laid-back scene that permeates inside, outdoor dining at Teays River features the same unique pub fare and tasty local brews. Bring Fido along; the patio is pooch friendly.
Walt’s Other Pub | 3001 S. Ninth St.
Not only does Walt’s Other Pub have a patio, you might even be lucky enough to score a seat on the balcony. Its immense menu with family-friendly options is sure to please. With 12 beers on tap, a robust wine list and a full bar, you have plenty of choices to accompany your meal. And if you go for lunch you might get served by the friendliest, most outgoing waitress in town. Everyone’s welcome at Walt’s patio, even the dog.
The Bryant | 1820 Sagamore Pkwy W
When The Bryant first opened its doors in November 2018, it already sounded familiar to longtime residents. The restaurant’s name harkens back to the much-beloved Morris Bryant Smorgasbord, which occupied the site from 1951 to 1994. After only a few years, the Bryant has quickly gained a place in our hearts, too. Its upscale, contemporary atmosphere and ever-evolving menu are enticing enough. Throw in one of the most inventive cocktail menus around? We’re sold.
Town and Gown Bistro | 119 N. River Road
Don’t overlook this gem of a place. Although located on a busy thoroughfare, the landscaped patio has been outfitted with numerous pots and planters filled with lush greenery that transform this cozy patio into a delightful oasis. Billed as “unfussy American eats” the chef-driven menu features familiar fare exquisitely executed. In addition to lunch and dinner, Town and Gown also is open for brunch and features a variety of vegetarian options. As if we needed another reason to love it.
Whittaker Inn | 702 W 500 N
The Whittaker Inn’s picturesque country setting is the ideal location to enjoy a relaxing meal artfully crafted with locally sourced ingredients. Not just for out-of-towners, the Whittaker Kitchen is the heart of this inviting B&B just minutes from Purdue. The ever-changing menu offers new delights with each season, though we’re glad to see the scrumptious butterhorn bread rolls have become a mainstay. We could fill up on those alone. Reservations required.
BY RADONNA FIORINI
While much of life slowed or was outright canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, city improvement and development projects continued, and many will come to fruition in 2021. From penguins to new planned neighborhoods, here’s a peek at what’s coming for our communities.
Lafayette’s Columbian Park continues to be a beehive of activity with new attractions slated to open this spring and summer.
The recently constructed $20 million Loeb Stadium, located at the corner of Main and Wallace streets, will be dedicated at the end of January, says Lafayette Parks and Recreation Marketing Manager Samantha Haville. Some COVID-related delays pushed the project’s completion back a bit, but everything should be ready for Lafayette Jefferson High School’s baseball home opener in the spring.
The original Loeb Stadium, built in the 1940s of concrete, was long the site for Lafayette Jeff’s home games, the Colt World Series, and more recently the summer collegiate baseball team, the Lafayette Aviators, part of the West Division of the Prospect League. The new brick stadium, which will seat 2,600 people when suites and lawn seating opens later this year, is also designed as a multi-use space where concerts and family movie nights will be planned.
“We hope to make a big splash for the first Jeff home game and for the Aviators’ opener in early summer,” says Haville. “And we’re opening it up to community partnerships for a wide variety of events.”
The newest additions to the Columbian Park Zoo are scheduled to arrive before the zoo opens this spring. Nine African penguins will be shipped from California to inhabit the penguin house constructed in 2020. Their arrival was delayed because of travel restrictions, but the hope is that these warm-weather birds will feel at home and be ready for visitors by late April.
Another exciting addition, an updated blast from the past, will be a new carousel. Construction on a permanent building to house this family favorite has begun, located between the zoo and Tropicanoe Cove water park. The carousel will feature hand-carved and painted wooden animals that represent some of those found in the zoo, along with exotic species and traditional horses. Haville says no date has been set for the opening of this much-loved ride.
While some of these new projects will not be fully used until the pandemic is under control, several planned features in Columbian Park will be open for individual use this summer.
Phase three of the Memorial Island project is proceeding apace. A new amphitheater with upgraded sound system is planned. The lagoon was drained last year, and sea walls are being rebuilt. Lots of new elements are being added to make the area accessible for folks with disabilities including boardwalks, new bridges, and ADA fishing nodes that jut out into the lagoon and accommodate a wheelchair, Haville says. The parks department is working with Purdue University and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to choose fish that will be stocked in the refilled lagoon this summer.
“We are most excited about the fact that paddle boats are coming back!” Haville says. “The boats will be located on the south side of the lagoon near the train depot. We hope to have them available
Cason Family Park
Keeping with the theme of public parks and outdoor spaces, West Lafayette has several projects in the works, says Erin Easter, director of development for the city.
Cason Family Park is a planned 14-acre prairie-style space being developed in two phases. The park, located on acreage donated by local farmer Lynn Cason at Cumberland Avenue and U.S. 231, is already home to the historic, one-room Morris Schoolhouse. Built in 1879, the school was moved to the property in 2017 and restored so it can be used for educational programs.
Construction on other park elements is slated to begin this year with completion set for 2022. Surrounding the schoolhouse will be outdoor play places, lawns and waterways. There will be picnic pavilions, public restrooms and several trails throughout the acreage.
“This will be a really fun, whimsical place to play that won’t feel forced,” Easter says. “There will be natural playgrounds with climbing rocks, wooden elements and rest areas.”
For bikers and walkers in West Lafayette, a planned 10-foot-wide pathway project will roll out this year. The path will run along Salisbury Street from Kalberer Road to Grant Street and end at Northwestern Avenue. The project will include shifting some traffic lanes and burying utilities, says Easter. Lighting and other amenities will be added during this two-year project, which will provide a safer way for pedestrians to move from the northern side of the city to the Purdue campus.
And the pathway will lead directly to the new Wellness Center just completed in Cumberland Park. This 73,000-square-foot facility houses a pool, gym, walking track, weight equipment and spaces for health classes, Easter says.
“A lot of our parks programming was put on pause in 2020,” she says. “It was difficult not to do those things last year, but we’ll have a beautiful new home (for those programs) when the time is right.” (See story on Page 22)
A New City Hall in West Lafayette
While anticipating summer activities, Easter and other city employees are spending these colder months settling into newly renovated office space at the Sonya L. Marjerum City Hall, formerly the Morton Community Center. Remodeling of the historic building began in 2019 and was largely completed in December when city workers began moving in.
The city offices have moved around for several years, but the more than $15 million renovations should allow the building on Chauncey Avenue to be a permanent home, says Easter. The name of the building was changed to honor the late Sonya Marjerum who served as West Lafayette mayor for 24 years.
“We moved into the building exactly two years to the date that construction began,” she says. “There are so many advantages to this space now. It’s ADA compliant and accessible. Four-fifths of the building space will be focused on parks or city programming and available to the community. And the new City Council chambers will serve as a true home for (the council’s) work. Before there was a sense of impermanence, but we hope this will be our final and forever home.”
City Hall’s first floor now has community space including two dance studios that can also host art programming and other activities. The first floor also houses the City Council chambers and other meeting space. The second floor is home to city staff including the mayor’s office, parks department, clerk’s office and other departments. A customer service desk is centrally located so visitors can easily get the help they need, Easter notes.
And additional community projects are planned between City Hall and the West Lafayette Public Library. Three public spaces will be added that include art pieces that also can serve as road barriers to temporarily block streets for festivals and large gatherings.
Lafayette also is completing some downtown projects and making plans for a new 70,000-square-foot public safety building and parking garage. The first public hearing concerning the facility design was held December 16, and the city hopes to begin construction this year with completion planned in 2023, says Lafayette Economic Development Director Dennis Carson.
The facility, which will be on property just east of City Hall at Sixth and Columbia streets, will house the police department and provide parking for city employees plus extra public parking spaces. The multi-story building will include open plazas for public use and be an asset to downtown living, Carson says.
Several Lafayette streetscape projects wrapped up in 2020 that have made downtown more pedestrian friendly and encouraged both investors and shoppers to see the businesses along Main Street as desired destinations. Paying attention to historic preservation and making the area more consumer friendly has paid off.
“We’ve had a lot of positive feedback and people say being downtown is now a better experience, in a safer environment that is more interactive,” says Carson. “We’ve encouraged outdoor dining, which has been so important during the pandemic, and we have more retail than we’ve had in decades.”
While the growth of brick and mortar stores is a surprise in this age of on-line shopping, Carson says there are more clothing and other retail stores downtown than have been seen in years. That trend shows that the investment in improving sidewalks, installing public art, and focusing on local businesses has paid off as people feel more comfortable lingering and shopping downtown.
“We’re very excited about it,” he says. “It’s a testament that people like to experience things (in person). We know it’s been challenging for some of these shops but we think they’ll hold up and do really well when things open up again.”
Perhaps the biggest project coming to Tippecanoe County is back across the river on the west side of the Purdue campus. As part of the Discovery Park District, the city of West Lafayette, Purdue Research Foundation and Old Town Design Group from Indianapolis have launched a planned housing development called Provenance.
Work has begun on apartments at the southwest corner of State Street and Airport Road to be followed by condominiums, town homes and single family homes, says West Lafayette’s Easter, adding that commercial and retail spaces are also part of the mix.
According to information from Old Town Design Group, this multiphase project will eventually include walking paths that connect to nearby parks, golf courses, shops and restaurants. The development includes lots for 56 single-family homes and 30 townhomes.
So grab your mask and take a drive around our communities to see the changes coming. While it feels as if our lives are shrinking, there are brighter days ahead with much to celebrate. ★
BY KAT BRAZ
PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV
This year marks the 95th anniversary of Kirby Risk Corporation, founded in 1926 when J. Kirby Risk borrowed $500 from his father and joined Otto Keiffer to open the Keiffer-Risk Battery Company in a small, abandoned blacksmith shop in Lafayette. Keiffer left the company within the year and was replaced by George Tweedie. The company became Risk-Tweedie Electric Service, and Risk was able to repay his father that $500 loan.
After Tweedie’s departure in 1934, the company was renamed Kirby Risk Electric Company, expanded into wholesale distributions of electric supplies and moved to a new downtown location in 1941. Through it all, Risk remained committed to a concept the company now refers to as sacrificial service.
Risk’s son, company CEO James Risk III, describes sacrificial service to mean placing the highest value on customers, employees, vendors and community relations.
“My father felt strongly that your life’s activities and your business should be based on integrity, respect for people and valuing others,” Risk says. “My mother and father were an amazing team. I learned by watching them that true happiness comes from serving others or enriching the lives of other people.”
The second-generation leader recalls accompanying his father to the company warehouse on evenings and weekends as a child.
“I was fascinated walking down the aisles with all of the different products, parts and equipment,” Risk says. “I didn’t necessarily know their purpose or understand how they worked.
Risk first started working at the company during summers while he was in school. After graduating from Purdue University with a degree in management, he began his career at the sales counter and worked his way up to vice president of sales before he was named company president in 1972 at the age of 30. No stranger to leadership, Risk had already served as president of the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce.
A commitment to community service is another value Risk learned from his father. According to Risk, his parents “left us a legacy of valuing others and having a sincere concern for your fellow man.” Among his many contributions to the community, the elder Risk championed bringing Junior Achievement to Lafayette and the younger Risk participated in the program in high school.
“The cornerstone to our company’s success is a commitment to long-term relationships with our employees and their families, with our customers, and with our vendors,” Risk says. “Equally important is having a presence in our communities. Our employees are encouraged to get involved in their communities, value other people and simply do more than what is expected. My parents lived their lives that way and I just tagged along for the ride.”
Eddy Del Real was 4 years old when his father, Jose, opened Del Real Auto Sales. Jose still worked at Alcoa at the time. He’d wake up at 6 a.m. to go to the car auction, report to the plant at 3 p.m. and get off shift at 11 p.m. His three sons, Alonzo, Eddy and Tony, began helping out at the lot as kids, washing cars and performing other odd jobs on weekends or after school. Now all three sons — and their brother-in-law — work for the family business.
“It wasn’t ever expected of us. We were raised to do what we love,” Eddy Del Real says. “For me, it’s an awesome opportunity. We’ve always been family oriented. We were all brought into the business. We each have investment in it. Dad showed us the ropes and we took it from there to broaden the business and expand it.”
Since its founding in 1987, Del Real has expanded into three locations. Eddy manages the flagship Del Real Auto Sales in Lafayette; Alonzo runs Del Real Auto Connection on Sagamore Parkway, Lafayette; and Tony opened Del Real Automotive Group in Frankfort.
In terms of his father’s leadership style, Eddy Del Real says Jose’s
approach has always been firm,
“There isn’t really a hierarchy of titles,” he says. “We were all raised as equals. We’ve never really had a boss. My dad has the knowledge, so we would ask him for advice and roll with it. He’s shown us that if you put your time and your investments into the business, you’ll reap the benefits. He’s done well for himself, and we want to continue that legacy.”
Eddy Del Real said one thing that sets the family business apart from other auto dealerships is the way they do business. Because their business carries the family name, the Del Reals are invested in every single sale. The company values stem from Jose’s strong work ethic and belief in transparency of the deal — no gimmicks, everything is sold with a warranty and deal the way you want to be treated. Though his sons manage the day-to-day operations, Jose is still involved in the business.
“We still go to the auction together,” Eddy Del Real says. “Sometimes we’ll talk business at the dinner table when we’re all together. It’s something that will always unite us. My mom and our wives are the ones that keep us grounded.”
Basim Hussain started hanging out at his dad’s place of work when he was still too young to be on the payroll. What kid wouldn’t want to spend all day in an ice cream shop? Sabir Hussain operates three Coldstone Creamery locations throughout Greater Lafayette. Once Basim was old enough, he sought employment at one of his father’s stores.
“He considered applying for other jobs, even interviewed for a few. But they just weren’t for him,” Sabir Hussain says. “The way we provide flexibility to young people in school and sports and other activities, we go above and beyond in recruiting and keeping young employees.”
Basim’s only concern about working for his dad? He was worried he’d be missing out on a real work experience.
“At the end of the day, your dad probably won’t fire you,” Sabir Hussain says. “But Basim gets admonished just like anyone else, and to be honest, a little bit more than others. There’s extra pressure if the owner’s son isn’t in proper uniform.”
Hussain takes a long-term approach in developing his young workers. He looks for opportunities to challenge them to see alternate perspectives. He encourages them to be problem solvers. He guides them in cultivating strong customer relations skills that could be applied to dealing with clients in almost any future career path. Basim, now a freshman at Cornell University, remained at home during the fall
semester due to the pandemic. While enrolled in online courses,
he still worked part-time in his father’s store.
“For all my young employees, I hope there is something they pick up from this job that stays with them for the rest of their life,”
Sabir Hussain says. “I truly believe
it takes a village to raise a young person. My role may not be
counselor or teacher or pastor, but at the same time, it’s not nothing. I’m not just a person who signs
their check.” ★
BY CINDY GERLACH
PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV
PRODUCTION PHOTOS PROVIDED
The mere mention of coffee evokes smells and imagery that transport people to a place or a time. For many of us, it’s the first thing we reach for in the morning. Or it’s an excuse to gather with friends, to take a break or help us make it through a busy day.
It’s a staple in so many of our daily lives — it’s easy to take coffee for granted. But Brad and Cary Gutwein have taken their love affair a step further by making it their business. The brothers purchased the Copper Moon Coffee brand in 2006. And while they may not have reinvented coffee per se, they have taken this already existent brand to a new level.
This isn’t the brothers’ first foray into partnership in business. Growing up, the two always had a good relationship, says elder brother Brad. Brad graduated from Purdue University in 1989 with a degree in hotel and restaurant management – a good all-around degree with a focus on both business and hospitality – while Cary studied at Valparaiso University.
The two joined forces earlier in their careers when they operated a birdseed business, Morning Song.
“We’ve always gotten along really well,” says Brad. “We have a good balance of talent and skills. Cary is more operational, I’m more marketing and sales.”
But eventually, they outgrew their fledgling operation, ready for a bigger challenge. After they sold Morning Song they were ready for their next venture. And coffee, Brad says, was no accident — it was intentional. He had done a lot of research on coffee and knew that was a venture he was interested in — and one he knew they were well prepared to take on.
For one, they already had a company put together and an infrastructure, a hold-over from Morning Song. And many of their employees stayed on, says Nick Thompson, who currently serves as vice president for sales and marketing but has been with the brothers since 2007.
The concepts of working with birdseed — sourcing, working with an agricultural product, purchasing, packaging, selling to retailers — carry over to the coffee business.
“Those same principles work for coffee,” Thompson says. “They turned it into more of a passion.”
Brad Gutwein attended a trade show in Florida in late 2006, looking for inspiration for his coffee ambition. He visited a booth for a business based in Indianapolis. The brand, Copper Moon Coffee, was owned by a private equity firm; Gutwein knew it was a non-core asset and they might be willing to sell.
“And I was ready,” he says. “I knew what we wanted and what we were looking for.”
So the brothers took the brand name Copper Moon – formerly a part of the now-defunct Marsh supermarket brand – and ran with it. Since the purchase in 2007, the company has remade the entire franchise. Its first roasting facility was on the east side of Indianapolis; in 2012 the entire operation relocated to Lafayette. They have changed the design and packaging, experimented with new flavors and techniques.
“Everyone has an entrepreneurial spirit,” says Thompson. “We’re constantly creating things that go to market. We have that entrepreneurial ability to develop all the way to the end consumer. It’s unreal that we get to do that here in Lafayette. The ability for anyone on our team to come up with an idea on a dry erase board to producing millions of pounds of it.”
The 100,000-square-foot roasting facility on the east side of Lafayette roasts tens of millions of pounds of coffee each year, Thompson says.
Much of the coffee is sold online through its website, coppermooncoffee.com; it is also sold through other online retailers — Amazon, Staples, Office Depot, Wal-Mart.
This year has been better than ever for online sales, Thompson says. The company did a refresh that launched in late January 2020, updating its brand. Copper Moon currently ships to all 48 of the continental United States.
“We expected growth,” he says. “It’s been out of this world.”
But they would like to encourage customers to purchase through the Copper Moon website. If they can see what people order, Thompson says, they are in a better position to help them with future purchases, making recommendations, or letting them know about sales or special offers.
“We get to establish relationships with those customers,” he says.
And the business has expanded into retail operations, opening its flagship café in April 2017 on State Road 26 near Meijer in Lafayette. It gave everyone a chance to see how consumers react to their products in real time.
“I think it kind of served as a good test kitchen for the brand, for what we could produce on a larger level,” Thompson says. “We could take that same coffee to the consumer, see what works. It’s a great marketing tool to reach our local community.”
Copper Moon recently opened its second location. The latest, on Sagamore Parkway in West Lafayette, has more than one drive-through lane, which helps serve customers during these pandemic months.
It’s a challenge, says Gutwein, but they’re learning and adapting.
Yet with coffee shops on nearly every corner these days, how did the brothers feel like they could put their own spin on coffee? Coffee – the world’s second-largest commodity, next to oil — is, these days, ubiquitous; how does one put their own spin on something that is everywhere?
“Coffee is very recognizable,” Gutwein says. “Which means it’s very complicated. You need to find a lane or a niche. We understand purchasing, packaging and selling to retailers.”
Much of their sales were, formerly, to offices that provided
coffee to their employees. Now that the workplace has shifted and so many people are working from home, Copper Moon’s sales and marketing have had to shift as well. People are buying more five-pound bags these days.
“At-home brewing has grown considerably,” Gutwein says. “Consumption rates have gone up.” People are drinking coffee for more of their day, or at different times. Consumer behavior has changed, and the business will have to change with it.
Thus, Copper Moon’s mission, says Gutwein, is to adapt its marketing and advertising, reaching customers in new way.
“The customers we do pick up are sticky,” he says. “We need to continue to advertise to them. That’s a real focal point with us.”
One of the most important pillars of the business model is Reach for the Moon, the company’s philanthropic effort. Copper Moon is committed not only to selling great coffee, but to serving others and giving back to the community.
It’s a term the team takes literally, Thompson says.
“It’s our giveback arm. We think coffee can help you reach your goals.”
We Give a Cup is its offer to provide complementary drinks to health care workers, firefighter, police officers, members of the military and educators.
“We’re trying to fuel our local heroes as they work to protect us,” Thompson says. “It’s a practical way for us to support our frontline heroes at this time.”
The initiative funds pursuits in STEM fields, partnering with the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, which provides more than 50 scholarships annually. It supports Purdue Space Day, Maurice J. Zucrow Laboratories, a 24-acre research center home to the world’s largest academic propulsion lab. And it supports a number of other organizations, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Girl Scouts of Central Indiana, Food Finders Food Bank and Habitat for Humanity.
Copper Moon works because of its business principles and how it practices them, says Thompson. It’s a family-owned business, and it has local roots. The company produces high-grade coffee, and it is committed to sustainability as well as social, economical and environmental concerns. And it is committed to giving back to the community.
But in the end, it comes back to family. It’s a business that feels like a family. Because, of course, it is a family. Brad and Cary work very well together, Thompson says.
“It’s very much a family,” he says. “They’re a good yin and yang. It works.”
The brothers try to model excellent relationships.
“In business there has to be a lot of give and take, humility and respect for the other’s point of view,” Gutwein says. “We’ve done it our entire lives. We understand each other; we listen. If there are issues, we talk through them.”
And it’s a feeling that extends beyond the brothers; as Thompson points out, a good number of their team have been with them since the Morning Song days, people who work in operations, sales, marketing, graphic design.
And at the heart of the business: coffee. Because what better way to be successful than to love what you do, do what you love?
“Coffee brings people together,” says Gutwein. “It’s a global beverage — it literally is recognized globally. I love coffee.” ★
BY JANE MCLAUGHLIN ANDERSON
MELISSA MORRIS PHOTOGRAPHY
As we happily flip over the calendar to 2021, discover a new place to pursue wellness for mind, body and spirit in Greater Lafayette. The West Lafayette Wellness Center opened in early January, just in time to pursue your New Year’s resolutions. Located in Cumberland Park on the north side of West Lafayette, it is open to everyone, regardless of residence. A recreation and indoor aquatic facility has been on the city’s bucket list for more than 30 years; the timing couldn’t be better to build a holistic center for health. The Wellness Center has something
Wellness Center Director Kevin Noe says, “This is much more than a gym or a fitness center; we are growing a community and building relationships with a wholesome family atmosphere. You can bring your kids in and drop them off at the Clubhouse while you take a class. You can work out while your kids are at basketball practice.” Having the space to create new programs and room to grow is exciting for the West Lafayette Parks Department, which most recently operated out of the former Happy Hollow Elementary School building.
The 7,300-square-foot fitness floor includes a full line-up of strength training and cardio equipment with a view. Wrap-around windows overlook the park, outdoor playground, pond and the adjacent Michaud-Sinninger Nature Preserve, teeming with wildlife. Inviting nature to indoor and outdoor activities sparks energy and wellness, reduces stress and gives people a place to connect with others the old-fashioned way – in person.
The large hybrid pool can accommodate swimmers of all abilities. There are three different ways to enter the pool: zero depth with water features for children, traditional stairs, and a wheelchair lift. The indoor aquatic facility features four lap lanes and areas for swim lessons and group exercise. There’s even a vortex section to walk with or against the current. Dive-In Movies in the pool area are just one of the fun programs in store. Parks Superintendent Kathy Lozano says, “Swimming is a lifelong exercise and something you can do well into your 80s or 90s.”
Like to play games? Great! There are plenty of opportunities to play sports in the two wooden floor basketball-sized gyms or the multi-purpose gym striped for pickleball. A four-lane running/walking track overlooks the gymnasium and is a great way to keep moving in the winter. If you like exercising in a group atmosphere, the Wellness Center has three studios for classes. The Wellness Center will hold youth and adult sports programs and summer camps in this space, but they are not included in the membership fee.
Membership includes unlimited use of the pool, open gym, strength and cardio equipment, indoor walking track, group exercise and wellness classes, and childcare while you work out. Members receive discounts on swim lessons and personal training, along with special member-only activities. Membership is open to everyone; however, households who pay West Lafayette property taxes and active military are exempt from the joiner’s fee.
Non-residents pay the one-time fee in addition to their membership package. No contracts are required, and members may put their accounts on hold for three months a year if needed. A variety of individual and family memberships are available, as well as daily passes. See the website for details, wl.in.gov/parks, or stop by the Wellness Center at 1101 Kalberer Rd., West Lafayette.
Integrating the Wellness Center within Cumberland Park provides opportunities to commune with nature and increase well-being. A marked 5K trail weaves around the grounds of the building and through the park. Eventually, the trail will lead to the new Margerum Government and Community Center.
In its very definition, recreation is the refreshment of one’s mind or body after work through an activity that amuses or stimulates; play. The Well-
ness Center is a prescription for attaining that refreshment.
“The Wellness Center has something for every health seeker,” says Wellness Coordinator Rachel MacDougall. “It’s no secret that exercise has many benefits. The Wellness Center will be a great tool for the community to focus on physical, mental and emotional health and well-being.”
Community rooms can be rented for meetings or gatherings with a nearby warming kitchen available. There’s even a party room by the pool to host children’s birthday parties. DogStudio is commissioned to create an interactive motion-sensing art piece in the lobby guaranteed to captivate and emotionally engage visitors. Check out West Lafayette Parks’ Facebook page for dynamic news, photos and videos of the Wellness Center and all parks and recreation activities. ★
“The Wellness Center will be a great tool for the community to focus on physical, mental and emotional health and well-being.”
BY KEN THOMPSON
PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV
On a cold winter’s day, or even a warm summer evening, a bowl of soup can be a meal or a side dish to a grilled cheese sandwich.
A good bowl of soup can bring customers into a restaurant, and there are several Greater Lafayette establishments that offer a variety of homemade soups.
“Soups are comfort food,” says Jody Bahler, founder and owner of The Homestead, which has locations in West Lafayette and Remington. “It’s like balm to the soul to enjoy a delicious steamy bowl of homemade soup.”
The Homestead believes in offering a wide variety of soups each month. Including its tomato basil, which is available daily, The Homestead usually has nearly a dozen soups on its monthly menu.
“There is enough to satisfy everyone’s taste buds,” Bahler says. “Everyone enjoys a steamy bowl of soup, especially during these cold wintry months.”
The Homestead’s website, homesteadbuttery.com, has a daily lunch calendar that allows patrons to see what soups are available on a daily basis. The Homestead also packages its soups frozen for customers to heat up at home, a popular business strategy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
When asked which is the most popular soup among her customers, Bahler couldn’t stop at just one. There are five on her list: tomato basil, baked potato, Boilermaker stew, chicken noodle and cheesy broccoli noodle.
“We have several that rank up at the tip top in sales. Those five are in constant demand, which thrills us that our soups are enjoyed by so many,” Bahler says. Bahler’s personal favorite is tomato basil in combination with The Homestead’s grilled cheese sandwich. She also recommends getting the Boilermaker stew topped with sour cream, crushed cheesy Doritos and extra shredded cheddar cheese.
“Our soups are hearty and do not contain preservatives or fillers,” Bahler says. “They are made completely from scratch in our Homestead production kitchen in Remington, Indiana.”
In case you were wondering, The Homestead offers several gluten-free soups: chicken and rice, chicken tortilla, Homestead chili, tomato basil and white chicken chili.
The Homestead’s West Lafayette location, which is tucked inside Bell Plaza next to Wolf’s Chocolates and Boutique & Gifts by Michele, boasts 22 different varieties of frozen entrees along with pies, cookies, breads and sweet rolls. If the food isn’t enough, The Homestead sells candles, chocolates, jams, Amish noodles, deli meats and cheeses and locally raised freezer beef.
At Trish’s Red Bird Café in Dayton, chicken corn chowder has the honor of being the most popular soup. Not far behind, though, is the breakfast soup.
“I believe that these are so popular because they are so fresh tasting and just warm you up on the inside,” says Red Bird Café owner Trish Brown, whose personal favorite is her tomato basil soup.
“It’s not a traditional tomato soup,” Brown says. “It is very chunky.”
Brown believes the secret to her soups’ popularity is simple.
“I would say our soups are so special because we make them completely from scratch and I can tell you every ingredient in every one,” she says. “Our soups are not the ‘normal’ soups you see in other restaurants. We offer several that were created just for us.”
Trish’s Red Bird Café sells homemade soups by the quart, hot or cold, for $10. The current list includes stuffed bell pepper, loaded potato, broccoli cheese, chili, chicken tortilla, chicken corn chowder, tomato basil bisque and the breakfast soup. All are gluten-free.
“I feel that the Greater Lafayette area likes soups and chili because it is a good way to fill up, and it just makes you think of family,” Brown says. “Growing up in this area most of us ate a lot of soup, so at least for me personally it brings back happy memories. It’s just good comfort, feel-good food.”
Partially for space reasons, Great Harvest Bread Co. doesn’t offer a variety of soups like The Homestead and Trish’s Red Bird Café. However, Great Harvest owner Jerry Lecy says a great deal of care goes into each batch coming out of Great Harvest’s kitchen.
“We make these soups from scratch, so it’s not easy to perfect so many options,” Lecy says. Those options include butternut squash, cheesy broccoli, cream of mushroom, cheesy potato ham, and chili.
Like The Homestead and Trish’s Red Bird Café, Great Harvest customers list tomato basil as a favorite along with velvet chicken.
“The popularity contest between the tomato basil and the velvet chicken is a toss-up,” Lecy says. “Both are desired just as much. My personal
favorite is velvet chicken. I just love the creamy taste and shreds of chicken. The seasoning tops it off.”
For customers who desire to have Great Harvest soups at home, there are dry soup mixes for sale.
“We offer over 20 varieties of these soups that are easy to make and tasty,” Lecy says. “They can be tweaked to a person’s liking with additional ingredients, or it’s simple to just add water and heat up.”
Just as easy is Lecy’s explanation for why he believes soups are a staple of Greater Lafayette dining.
“I believe soup is so desirous in our area for two reasons,” he says. “First, it is a simple meal – don’t need to figure out which main course you want or which sides you want with that. It’s one easy decision: which delicious soup do I want?
“Second, it’s a comfort food (which) warms the soul and body.” ★
BY KAT BRAZ
The original idea behind Art with a Happy Heart Gallery and Studio was simple: find a way to share art and support the community at the same time. After quickly outgrowing her barn studio, owner and artist Sarah Czajkowski purchased the building previously occupied by Samson and Delilah Salon and Spa at 2139 Ferry St. in Lafayette. She set about transforming the space and opened to the public on July 1.
The gallery showcases artwork from local, regional and international artists while the studio provides an area for private art instruction, classes taught by visiting artists, seasonal craft workshops and paint parties, which is where Czajkowski got her start.
“Paint parties lend themselves to creativity and connection,” she says. “The experience fosters a real sense of self-confidence and pride. Guests are surprised and amazed that they created the artwork themselves.”
Czajkowski also offers a mobile paint party studio where she brings all the supplies to any location up to an hour away. The parties have been popular with girls’ night out groups, family reunions, children’s birthday parties, corporate events, bridal parties, church groups and fundraisers. Paint party kits are also available for purchase in the gallery. During the pandemic, Czajkowski has focused primarily on private group parties. Future plans for the venue include serving wine, beer and a small food menu on the outdoor patio and hosting live music once a week in addition to building out a full calendar of courses in fine art, pottery and jewelry making.
“To be able to do this for a living brings me so much joy,” Czajkowski says. “All I want is for people to be happy while they are here. It’s truly a magical place.”
The Art Museum of Greater Lafayette was founded in 1909 with a three-part mission to collect art, exhibit art and provide educational opportunities for individuals in the community to learn about art and experience art hands on. The museum has remained true to its mission over the years, but COVID-19 presented challenges for traditional in-person instruction. Instead, the museum quickly pivoted to a virtual environment.
“Many of our faculty members created online learning experiences,” says Kendall Smith, executive director and CEO. “We’re trying a lot of new things.”
Last fall, the museum offered virtual classes in painting and drawing for kids and adults through Zoom and Facebook Live. Additionally, watercolor kits are available for purchase through the museum shop for students to use at home while watching a series of watercolor technique videos recorded by a member of the museum faculty. The pottery studio remains open to advanced students with limited occupancy.
“The reaction from the community has been very positive,” Smith says. “Several of our online children’s art classes have sold out right after they were announced. We plan to continue to offer virtual education and create video productions to enhance what we offer in the future. We’re all learning a lot.”
» All Fired Up
In addition to its paint-your-own pottery studio, All Fired Up offers off-site parties and pottery-to-go kits with everything you need to complete a masterpiece. Items painted with pottery paints can be returned to the store for firing to make them food safe. Decorative items that do not need to be food safe can be finished in acrylic paints. Learn more at allfiredupwestlafayette.com.
» Art Museum of Greater Lafayette
Find online art activities and tutorials as well as information about virtual art classes for youth and adults at the Art Museum’s website, artlafayette.org.
» Art with a Happy Heart
In addition to private paint parties, artist-led workshops and even yoga classes, this recently opened studio and gallery holds open studio events where you’ll walk away with your own seasonal craft. Find out more at artwithahappyheart.com.
» Inspired Fire
Owned and operated by glass artist Sharon Owens, this glass studio and gallery located in Shadeland offers a range of classes for ages 6 and up with no experience required. See a complete list of class offerings at inspiredfire.com.
» Lafayette Atelier
Modeled after private art studio schools that emerged in 19th century Europe, this nonprofit art education studio was founded by artist James C. Werner. Focused on classical methods of drawing, painting and sculpture, the studio offers weekly demonstration and life
drawing nights. Find them on Facebook @classicalfinearttraining.
» LaLa Gallery & Studio
Owner Angela Taylor teaches lessons, classes, parties, groups and students with special needs starting with children (3+) to adults in her private pottery studio located in the Bindery Artist Studios. Each class offering can be customized according to the student’s interest and level of experience. For more information, visit lalagallery.com.
» West Lafayette Parks and Recreation
Everything from basket weaving to watercolor to photography is on offer through West Lafayette Parks and Recreation. All programs take place at 1200 N. Salisbury St. (site of the former Happy Hollow Elementary School). View the entire recreation brochure at westlafayette.in.gov/parks.
BY ANGELA K. ROBERTS
PHOTOS PROVIDED BY GREATER LAFAYETTE COMMERCE
When you think of Greater Lafayette, what comes to mind?
A growing startup culture and world-class manufacturing?
Accessible arts and recreation for varied interests? Friendly
neighbors and excellent public schools?
For the members of the Greater Lafayette Marketing Coalition (GLMC), these qualities and more boil down to this core message, which marketing professionals call a brand promise:
“Greater Lafayette is where progress, creativity and community thrive, so you can live expansively.”
More than two years in the making, the unmasking of the brand — unveiled in the Long Center in October to dispersed guests sporting an assortment of understated and glittered masks — includes new social media accounts, a video, a set of Greater Lafayette logos and a fresh website in a saturated palette of purple, green, orange, blue and teal. The stories that the visuals and the text tell are all designed to send the message that Greater Lafayette is not just a place that we come to; it’s a place where we want to stay.
Greater Lafayette’s brand is rooted in part in lessons learned from a major business development deal.
“We continue to hear stories of people who came here and thought they would stay for a while, but they never left,” says Cindy Murray, Lafayette city clerk. “When we were going through the process to bring in GE, what they used to choose our community, it really began to hit home that we needed to market ourselves to compete in a global economy for global talent.”
When the GE plant was built, she says, corporate officials stayed at the Holiday Inn Lafayette-City Centre and participated in a community scavenger hunt. Afterwards, the visitors met with Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski and remarked that they didn’t know the region had so much to offer. Murray says that the mayor and his staff realized that they needed to tell the Greater Lafayette story in an entirely new way. “It’s all about people, the quality of life for people that makes them give Greater Lafayette a chance,” she explains.
In May 2018, Greater Lafayette officials invited firms to bid on developing a comprehensive strategy. Ultimately, they chose Ologie, a firm that has worked with Purdue University in the past.
“They are a true branding agency who helps companies with clear, compelling and consistent strategy,” says Emily Blue, senior manager of brand, advertising and sponsorships at Purdue, who has been intimately involved in Greater Lafayette’s branding process.
The firm completed a deep dive with both qualitative and quantitative research, including an audit of economic development plans and communications materials, discussion groups and interviews with key stakeholders, and an online survey of the community. Among the constituents queried: corporations, businesses, K-12 schools and higher education, community and nonprofit organizations and government organizations.
The Greater Lafayette Marketing Coalition formed in February 2019, bringing together representatives from the City of Lafayette, the City of West Lafayette, Tippecanoe County, Visit Lafayette-West Lafayette, Purdue University, the Purdue Research Foundation and Greater Lafayette Commerce. One of the group’s first decisions was to ask member organization Greater Lafayette Commerce to coordinate the project and brand management for the coalition. Greater Lafayette Commerce promoted its marketing director, Michelle Brantley, to the role of project leader and brand manager.
Once the discovery process was complete, it was time for phase two, strategy. Against the backdrop of its research report, and with GLMC in a collaborative role, the firm identified key audiences, outlined key messages and defined a brand personality — how that messaging should look, feel and sound.
As phase three, the creative, began, GLMC again engaged in a competitive process, choosing Toledo, Ohio-based Madhouse Creative for the video, and homegrown advertising firm Dearing Group for website development. Officials also began training a small group of Lafayette business professionals, executive directors and community leaders — “An ambassador group to generate excitement,” says David Byers, Tippecanoe County commissioner.
Collectively, the identity is designed to meet three main goals: increasing the talent pool by retaining and attracting a citizen workforce; spurring economic growth by attracting business investments and elevating quality of life; and increasing positive perceptions of the Greater Lafayette region. All of that can be summed up in the nearly five-minute video, starring a former NBA dancer and her husband.
“We were challenged to tell our story as a community on the rise in an exciting way,” says Brantley. “We’re focused on prospective employees, businesses and others that we are seeking to attract to our area.” That required several messages, borne out of the constituent research: what kinds of value-addeds transplants get when they relocate here, how Greater Lafayette often exceeds newcomers’ expectations, and why the region is a great place to do business.
All that, and they were shooting during a pandemic.
After crafting a narrative, the Madhouse Creative team decided to cast a couple living in the same household so that they could shoot up close and still adhere to infection control protocols. Strategic camera angles allowed the two main characters to be shot in view of others while socially distanced from them. Filmed in August, many of the scenes take place outside.
The main character, an advanced manufacturing professional from a big city, interviews with several local companies before joining the crew at Subaru. While out running one day at the Celery Bog, she meets an agricultural tech entrepreneur. From dates at the Bryant, to bike rides, to a city hall wedding and walks with a baby stroller, we see the couple meet, fall in love — with each other and the community — and set down roots here.
Even in its fiction, the story should ring true to those who are familiar with Greater Lafayette, from the many familiar sights and sounds to the feelings that it evokes. As the protagonist muses, “When I moved here, I was looking for change. But what I found was home. This is the rich, full life I’ve always wanted. Each of us, every single person in our community, is what makes this place… greater.”
PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV
The Greater Lafayette Marketing Coalition held a scaled back brand launch event on Monday, Oct. 26, hosting a group of elected officials, corporate,
university and civic leaders, and brand ambassadors.
The event was planned in two parts to disperse guests and maintain COVID-19 protocol. GLMC partnered with restaurants and The Long Center for Performing Arts to provide a safe and entertaining brand premier event. Guests were asked to select their restaurant of choice and enjoy a four-course meal before the premier. Mixing and mingling at the restaurants was discouraged. Each venue was unique, providing guests with live entertainment and surprise swag bag deliveries during the dinner party experience.
After dinner, guests made their way to the Long Center for the brand premier, where they were treated to a red-carpet experience complete with a Greater Lafayette Walk of Fame. Again, mixing and mingling was minimized and guests were directed to their socially distanced seats. The program began with a dazzling performance of the Greater Lafayette brand narrative by Dance Dynamics. It was followed by short segments that revealed the elements of the new brand, including brand colors and logos, Greater Lafayette Magazine, the website and brand video.
We encourage readers to view the video at www.greaterlafayetteind.com,
the home page of the Greater Lafayette website.
BY CINDY GERLACH
PHOTOS PROVIDED BY VISIT LAFAYETTE – WEST LAFAYETTE
If someone had suggested 15 or 20 years ago that you take a drive down Wabash Avenue, that suggestion may have been met with hesitation — apprehension, even.
And a suggestion to view the art? Laughable.
Today, what was formerly a hidden neighborhood, a sort of secret enclave of life along the Wabash River, is now a bright spot. And much of the credit goes to Wabash Walls.
This public art installation, a series of murals painted on the sides of buildings both residential and commercial, has breathed new life into this decades-old neighborhood, often considered on the fringe of Lafayette society.
The project got started back in 2016 and 2017, says Tetia Lee, executive director of the Tippecanoe Arts Federation and one of the curators of Wabash Walls.
“At the time, as an artist myself, I’m always looking around,” Lee says. “When I see a beautiful wall, I think a mural would look great there.”
Lee was struck by a retaining wall along Second Avenue; the wheels of inspiration started turning. She ran into Margy Deverall with the City of Lafayette at a Neighborhood Beautification Coalition meeting. She threw the idea at Deverall: Let’s do a mural festival.
“It was all very organic,” says Lee. “We were both ready to take a bigger next step.”
And, as they say, from small things, big things come. The conversation began to draw in others — Stephanie Bible with Habitat for Humanity, artist Cameron Moberg, and Dennis Carson with the City of Lafayette. A proposal was put together, and initial funding provided $50,000 for a project that would be transformative, uplifting and engaging.
The result is a project that has indeed reinvigorated and re-branded the neighborhood. Lee has seen buy-in from not just the artists, but from local businesses – Cargill Inc. came on early as a sponsor — and neighbors. Everyone has delighted in watching the neighborhood come alive with color.
Wabash Avenue has long been considered a marginalized area. The working-class neighborhood, often referred to as the “lower part” of town, is a stronghold of a bygone era. And its reputation has suffered over the past several decades.
It’s a bad rap that seems undeserved, as a current drive through the area reveals tidy houses with well-kept lawns and a diverse population, with younger people gravitating there to live and work. Not to mention a neighborhood spirit that is evident.
“The most important part is that we established a trust with a neighborhood that is marginalized and over promised,” Lee says.
The Wabash Avenue residents were quick to get on board with the project. Early on, Lee says, they opened their doors, inviting her in as the early stages of the feasibility study kicked off.
“They became the vital and most-important part of informing the neighborhood study,” Lee says. “That really demonstrates trust between the city and the neighborhood.”
People who live there can see the charm that others might not. And the murals helped highlight the beauty hovering at the surface.
“They got excited about having artwork in their neighborhood,” Lee says. And about the influx of visitors, as the artists and those who want to view the art descended on their once hidden part of town.
“That’s the real reason it’s been so successful,” Lee says.
Trent O’Brien and his wife, April, run Sacred Ground Coffee House. Like most of the neighborhood, they have seen nothing but positives come out of Wabash Walls.
“It was definitely a really good thing,” O’Brien says. “The whole area has changed.”
O’Brien has seen people getting more involved in the neighborhood, becoming more welcoming. Last year, Sacred Grounds helped host a neighborhood Harvest Festival. Years ago, maybe a handful of people would have shown up, but this 2019 festival brought out hundreds of people.
“This never would have happened 15 years ago,” O’Brien says. “I do believe the art has helped.”
This opening up of the neighborhood, this newfound sense of community is a credit to the art and the artists, he says.
“It brought people here who were out to see the art,” O’Brien says. “It has been very positive.”
In 2018, 10 murals were painted in the neighborhood; 2019 saw 11 more added. Artists featured were from all over — not just the United States, but from as far away as Australia. The onset of COVID-19 delayed the progress for 2020, but the project will expand to areas around the avenue, including crosswalk art to encourage more pedestrian-friendly zones.
Funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and Indiana Department of Health have helped the project continue for a third year.
The fun and funky murals are a boon for the neighborhood, providing beauty, conversation and a real sense of shared identity. Visitors have come from all over the city, the county, even the state, anxious to check out the project.
But the real benefits are more far-reaching. Lee says they’ve seen property values increase as the art has helped improve the area, making it a better, healthier place for residents to live and interact with one another. Once-abandoned buildings have been reclaimed and now feature murals. The micro-economy in the neighborhood has improved as the area has rebranded. It’s a huge improvement in the quality of life.
Working with the neighbors, watching the project come to life has been an amazing process, says Lee.
“Wabash Walls continues to be a highlight to my career,” she says. “I could not have asked for a better neighborhood to work in. They treat me like family. I’m an honorary resident — I love it.”
Because at the end of the day, it’s truly about people.
It’s about the artists who have spent time in the neighborhood, sharing their stories with folks who would stop to watch the work and visit for a bit. It’s about the residents who have opened their arms, welcoming and embracing both the artists and the patrons who come to see the art. It’s about businesses that have come alive and welcomed the partnership of the artists, encouraging the camaraderie among all involved.
It’s the story, Lee says, of the transformative power of art.
“More than ever, we are turning to the arts to remind us that we’re human.”
BY CINDY GERLACH
PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV
Small Business Saturday is a national movement launched in 2011, designed to get shoppers into smaller locally owned businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Locally, friendly neighborhood businesses partner with Greater Lafayette Commerce and offer specials and swag bags, resulting in a festive holiday shopping atmosphere.
Small boutique shops offer products that are often local and more specialized, says Richelle Peterson, owner of Richelle in a Handbasket at Market Square.
“We’re all about gifts,” she says. “We go back to the basics of giving with a purpose.”
At Richelle in a Handbasket, the shopping experience is very low-key and stress-free, very friendly. Customers are always greeted with a warm hello, Peterson says, and the shopping experience is very personal. There won’t be fighting in line or battles over items; instead, people will sit back, enjoy a cup of hot cocoa, and find exactly the gift they were looking for, as Peterson and her staff help customize gift baskets and selections.
“It’s like you’re coming into my house,” Peterson says. “It’s warm, it’s very laid back, very happy.”
Helping customers find exactly the gift they are looking for, and not just settling for what is easy, is part of the shop’s mission, says Peterson. They specialize in customized gift baskets, which can be tailored to meet a customer’s exact needs, thus creating the perfect gift.
“We help people put thought into their gifts,” she says. “We try to make it a little more personal. People can take their time. It’s about the thought — we help with that. We’re here to help, not to push.”
At Boutique LoriAnn, 101 N. Sixth St., the emphasis is on quality and catering to customers’ exact needs, says owner Lori Schlaifer. Holiday shopping in the boutique will be upscale and, again, more personal.
The shop won’t be as crowded as a women’s clothing retailer at a mall, she says. And because she only orders a very limited number of each item, a customer can be sure that she won’t see everyone she knows wearing the exact same item she buys.
Because her boutique is small, Schlaifer gets to know — really know — her customers, their likes and preferences. When an item comes that she thinks might suit someone, she lets them know.
“It’s more intimate,” she says. “It’s more personal.”
Down the road at Stall & Kessler’s, 333 Columbia St., the focus is also on personalization and customization, says co-owner Kris Kessler. The shop values all its customers, he says — “We’re excited to see anyone walk in the front door.”
As a specialty business, they do focus on high-end jewelry, and pieces are customized to each person’s needs — everything from earrings, bracelets and necklaces to cufflinks and specially designed rings. People tend to think that means a higher price tag, Kessler says. But that is not necessarily the case.
Plus, he feels they are selling much more than a mere product.
“We’re selling on a deeper level than most retailers,” he says. “We are selling quality pieces of jewelry that celebrate these moments in people’s lives. I really find the joy and the connection when people come in and are celebrating that engagement or anniversary.
“Yes, what we’re selling is rock and metal. But it’s part of these moments in a lifetime. We really cherish that.”
There are people who might find shopping downtown intimidating, fearful of finding — or, more importantly, not finding — parking, or of stores not feeling welcoming. That could not be further from the truth, say both Schlaifer and Kessler.
“One of the nice things we have downtown is parking that is 15 feet away from our front door,” Kessler says. “At the mall, it’s a lot longer walk.”
Schlaifer agrees — it’s one of the benefits of her location at the corner of Sixth and Columbia streets, which is surrounded by two-hour parking spots.
“It’s pretty easy to find parking,” she says.
When people shop in locally owned businesses, much more of the profit stays in town. According to shopsmall.com, for every dollar spent at a small business, about 67 cents stays in the local community. Locally, businesses noted an 80 percent increase in sales on Shop Small Saturday over a regular Saturday, according to Greater Lafayette Commerce.
Peterson says this is definitely part of the appeal of Richelle in a Handbasket, which proudly features locally made products.
“People shop here because we have Indiana products, a plethora of them,” she says.
The effects of COVID-19 will certainly affect how people shop this holiday season. Kessler says their store has never been cleaner as they focus on keeping their environment as safe as possible for everyone.
And Peterson says she has seen a huge shift in how people interact given the limits on how people can be together. She has shipped a lot of gifts so people can send a little love with a gift basket, because people can’t be near those they care about.
“I think people have forgotten how to be human in their giving,” Peterson says. “A lot more matters. Families, people, neighbors matter. I think it’s brought some humanity back.”
But the biggest benefit of shopping small is the relationships among people. Kessler says he has seen many people turn to online shopping during these days of the pandemic. Stall & Kessler’s is not set up for online shopping. However, he says, their staff can make that work. They were recently able to help a customer purchase a piece of jewelry as an 80th birthday gift — over the phone. It was an accommodation they were happy to make.
“We really appreciate the people who choose to support us,” he says.
Christmas shopping should be fun. Gift-giving should be about the thought and about the experience. Local businesses, Peterson says, are better able to make those connections with customers and make it happen.
“We like talking to people,” she says. “We want people to enjoy shopping and enjoy giving, not break the bank. In today’s world, that matters.”
Greater Lafayette Commerce and its Main Street committee are developing a series of scavenger hunts, using the GooseChase app, to promote local businesses this Shop Small season. The scavenger hunts will run through December 31. Participating small businesses will create missions for people playing the games. Players need only download the app on their phones and click the shop small missions.
The scavenger hunts will include missions where participants take photos of special items within stores, photos of the foods they eat, or videos of them making purchases. Players will compete for points; the more missions someone completes, the more points they earn. There will be prizes for top point earners (swag bags filled with gifts and gift certificates from participating businesses).
To help maintain social distancing the missions will be randomly ordered to drive players to different stores every day.
“We know our small businesses are gearing up this year to offer consumers unique products and gifts. We hope the players find the scavenger hunts to be a fun way to get their competitive juices flowing while getting them out to the retailers’ shops,” says Mark Lowe, small business consultant for Greater Lafayette Commerce.
You can learn more about Shop Small Greater Lafayette at greaterlafayettecommerce.com Or contact Mark Lowe at firstname.lastname@example.org. To participate in the Shop Small Greater Lafayette scavenger hunts, players can download the GooseChase app at goosechase.com or from the google or apple app stores.
BY KEN THOMPSON
PHOTO BY CHRISTINE PETKOV
In a region that has more than its share of locally owned restaurants competing with national chains, it should be no surprise that Greater Lafayette has a mixture of long-time favorite donut shops, two others on the way to earning that status and a newcomer that is growing its clientele.
Mary Lou Donuts opened for business in 1961, but the only thing about it that feels close to its age is its mid-century modern A-frame building on South Fourth Street.
That’s because owner Jeff Waldon is always thinking about the future while making the most of the present. What did Waldon see when he purchased Mary Lou’s in 2017?
“That it could be bigger than that little A-frame on Fourth Street,” says Waldon, a former teacher and Lafayette Jeff girls basketball coach. “The people who came before me – Mary Lou Graves, Keith Cochran and especially Brian Freed, who spent 37 years of his life there – 27 years as owner, 10 as a worker. They made that place. All we needed to do was not screw that up.”
Waldon and his son, Courtney, made sure of that by sticking to what makes Mary Lou’s so popular. They make their own glaze, whipped cream filling and icing.
“It’s a fresher product,” Waldon says. “The more you can make it like home-made, the better it’s going to be.”
COVID-19 affected Mary Lou’s like it has virtually every business in the United States. Closing time is now at 1 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Mary Lou’s is closed Sundays, and that will remain in effect even when the pandemic guidelines are rolled back.
Mary Lou’s counter remains closed but the drive-thru is doing good business. Even the regulars have found a way to enjoy their coffee and donuts.
“I used to have a 9 o’clock group, a 10:30 group and I had my 1 o’clock guys, motorcycle riders who would come by and eat every day,” Waldon says. “My 4 o’clock group that was there until we closed, and we usually had to kick them out at 5, now some of those people are coming in the morning and sitting in their lawn chairs in the parking lot.”
One of Waldon’s innovations – the food truck – also has been mostly sidelined by COVID-19. The good news is he’s getting ready to roll it back out this fall in smaller communities.
When the food truck hits the road, demand will be high for Mary Lou’s apple fritter.
“It’s the best one ever, anywhere,” Waldon says. “No one makes one like it anywhere.”
Like elsewhere across the country, the glazed yeast donut is popular. So is Mary Lou’s blueberry cake donut. Waldon looks forward to when he can reopen the front doors so he can sell more iced sugar cookies and cut-out iced cookies. Waldon boasts of having sold 15,000 cut-out cookies at Christmas.
“We just started doing blueberry muffins, chocolate, chocolate chip and banana nut chocolate chip,” he says. “Not everybody loves donuts and when you get something for the family, we want to make sure everybody gets something.”
Mary Lou’s will get a boost when the Big Ten Network airs its third season of “Campus Eats.” The production team spent the weekend of Sept. 12 at Mary Lou’s.
If Waldon gets the chance, here’s the message he’d like to send to Big Ten country.
“Wherever you came from, you probably had a favorite donut. And if it’s unfortunate enough to have been one of the big chain donuts, you really missed out. If you have a favorite hometown donut, you are going to go to (Mary Lou’s) and you’re going to forget about all those other places. The thing about our product—and I hear it over and over and over again—is that people will say I’ve never had another donut like this anywhere. The taste, the texture, the size of donut I get, the quality and the price, it’s ridiculous.”
This mainstay of downtown Lafayette has been around since the 1920s when William O’Rear opened the bakery. O’Rear’s moved to its current location, 312 N. Ninth St., in 1957.
Greg and Judy Lintner have owned O’Rear’s since 2005, coming from a family that owned a bakery in Rensselaer for 47 years.
“When we came from Rensselaer … we were more of a breakfast roll and cake bakery but we did everything: cookies, brownies, pies,” Greg Lintner says. “You name it, we did it, just like here. The only difference is we do a few rolls compared to a ton of rolls we did in Rensselaer. We are more of a pastry shop with all our cookies, cupcakes and brownies. I like it a lot better.”
Lintner admits that competing with the likes of Mary Lou and Corlew Donuts is difficult since donuts are “90-some percent of their business.”
“Whereas when you come in here you see just a few pans of donuts we make,” he says. “Sometimes what’s so frustrating is you make six or seven pans and sell three. The next day you sell them out and customers ask where are your donuts.
“My mother and father told me from the get-go when I first got into the business, if you can figure out the American public, you have done something that we have not done yet. You don’t know from one day to the next who is coming through that door.”
When customers do come in to O’Rear’s, they ask for pastries, cupcakes, cut-out cookies and regular cookies. Two big sellers are the butter stars and tea cookies.
“Judy makes those two or three times a week,” Lintner says. “She’ll always tell me, ‘You’re not going to believe this but we have to make tea cookies again.’ Just to show you the difference between Rensselaer and here: the red star cookies that we do are a staple here. In Rensselaer, it was strictly a holiday cookie.
In addition to closing six days a week at 1 p.m. (O’Rear’s is closed on Mondays), COVID-19 has affected business. With the churches being closed in the early days of the pandemic due to Indiana’s stay-at-home mandate, Sundays were no longer one of O’Rear’s most profitable days.
But a couple of positives did come out of the COVID-19 regulations.
“Since coming back now, our cakes are even fresher than they used to be,” Lintner says. “Now we make smaller batches, so they are even fresher and more moist.”
O’Rear’s also changed the way it displays its baked goods.
“One good thing that’s immensely helped is everything is now packaged,” Lintner explains. “Whereas before people almost frowned on the fact that it was packaged. They wanted it from the pan, open aired. Now our shelf life has doubled or tripled because it stays fresher longer.”
The West Lafayette bakery gets the word out to Purdue University students and the public about its product mostly through social media platforms Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Owner Michael Cho, who started working at Hammer Donuts as a manager, says marketing was a lot easier before COVID-19 sent most of his clientele packing from Purdue housing.
“We lost a few orders due to the impact of this pandemic. We used to have weekly standing orders from a few churches and wedding orders from time to time. However, we are fortunate that we still have the order from Circle K convenience stores, which can keep our business running,” he says.
The seven Circle K Stores in West Lafayette are now the only places to buy Hammer donuts. The pandemic forced Hammer to alter its sales from retail to a store-to-store business.
Cho believes in the potential for Hammer Donuts’ growth, so much so that he says he decided to take a risk and take over when the previous owner, a partner of Discount Den, was selling it.
Popular items include filled donuts, glazed yeast donuts and cereal topping donuts.
“We are a local business and we try our best to keep everything local,” Cho says. “Our employees are mostly Purdue students. Almost all of them are inexperienced and for many of them, this was their first job. We taught and trained them how to make donuts from scratch.
“We often support student events by donating free donuts. We are a new and growing company, but we are always trying our best to give back to our community.”
Rosa Cornejo is one of 10 children raised by Maria Ines Cornejo in the small village of Salazares Tlatenango in Zacatecas, Mexico.
There, Rosa Cornejo developed her personal philosophy of “everyone else’s ‘can’t’ is my “I can.’”
After moving to Lafayette and establishing herself in the community, Cornejo likely heard people saying “she can’t” when opening the bakery named after her mother.
What those doubters didn’t realize was that the decision to open a bakery was not made lightly. Rosa and her sister, Livier Alvarez, saw many Mexican restaurants in Greater Lafayette but not many bakers that were serving Mexican bread. That’s as much a staple in the Latino diet as donuts are to Americans.
From a modest beginning, a 1,000-square-foot location on Greenbush Street and Sagamore Parkway, Mama Ines made the big leap into an 11,000-square-foot building in 2014, once occupied by Ryan’s Grill, Buffet and Bakery.
Mama Ines’ authentic holiday Mexican fare of Day of the Dead bread and Sugar Skulls drew attention from the PBS show “A Few Great Bakeries” in 2015. In 2016, Cornejo was cited by the state of Indiana as the Latino Business Owner of the Year.
In addition to Mexican Sweet Bread, the bakery’s most popular items are tamales and burritos, cakes, flan and specialty desserts, cookies, fresh fruit and vegetable juices. Mama Ines also is proud of its wedding cakes, made with only fresh, all-natural ingredients.
The apple fritter is also a popular item on the menu at Corlew Donut Co., which has been in business since 1999.
Debbie and Tom Corlew were among the first to see the potential for business along what is now Veterans Memorial Parkway. They’ve been rewarded with a loyal following that indulges in cinnamon rolls, tiger tails, cream-filled bismarcks and blueberry cake donuts.
Corlew Donut Co. is open Tuesday through Sunday from 5 to 11 a.m.
BY ANGELA K. ROBERTS
PHOTOS PROVIDED BY VISIT LAFAYETTE – WEST LAFAYETTE AND NICHES LAND TRUST
“Indiana … is a garden
Where the seeds of peace have grown,
Where each tree, and vine, and flower
Has a beauty … all its own.
Lovely are the fields and meadows,
That reach out to hills that rise
Where the dreamy Wabash River
Wanders on … through paradise.”
In his ode to Indiana, “Indiana,” that was adopted as the official state poem in 1963, Arthur Franklin Mapes (1913-1986) did not specify during which season he most enjoyed the fields, hills and the wandering Wabash River. Most of us today would agree, however, that when the greens of an Indiana summer transition to the golds, auburns and russets of fall, it’s a great time to get out into nature.
In anticipation of this most colorful season, we laced up our athletic shoes and road-tested several trails in Greater Lafayette, including some far off the beaten path. Here are our recommendations.
Ninety years ago, Harold and Ruth Clegg purchased a plot of land overlooking Wildcat Creek as a country home. After the death of their only son, they turned their private garden into a public memorial and added trails for visitors to enjoy. Today, the botanical garden is owned by Niches Land Trust, a west central Indiana conservation group whose offices are located in the former Clegg cottage. Sloping 100 feet down into the valley, the well-maintained paths meander through a variety of ecosystems, including woodland, prairie and savanna. During fall’s peak, the canopied forest displays an array of vibrant colors. Bridges connect some parts of the trails, but be careful of some narrow slopes on the way downhill.
• 1782 N. 400 East, Lafayette
• Parking: Gravel lot across the road from the property entrance
• 16.5 acres with 1.1 miles of trails
Ten miles southwest of West Lafayette lies a rare Indiana example of a sand barren, a sandy-soiled area that appeared in the wake of glacial melts. The Granville Sand Barrens, adjacent to the Roy Whistler Wildlife Area, includes a restored prairie and savanna. Niches Land Trust has mowed a half-mile trail along which you can enjoy a dense group of golden aster — also a rarity in the state — and other wildflowers. The sandy soil is most visible just before the trail connects with a forested section that is part of the Roy
Whistler Wildlife Area.
• Southwest of Granville Bridge in western Tippecanoe County
Closed in November for deer-control hunting
• Parking: Gravel and grass lot at the trailhead
• Size: 80 acres with a .5 mile-trail connecting to the Roy Whistler Wildlife Area
Considered one of the better places in the West Lafayette area to see waterfowl and shorebirds, Mulvey Pond is nestled among farmland, wetland and marshland just off US 231 near Montmorenci, an unincorporated town north of West Lafayette. Niches Land Trust operators have mowed a labyrinth of sorts into the tall prairie grasses around the pond, where birds and insects drown out the hum of nearby roads.
• Near Montmorenci off US 231
Seasonal Features: Waterfowl migration
• Parking: Gravel lot at the trailhead
• Size: 52 acres with mowed trails through the prairie
Once a large vegetable farm operated by immigrants from Holland, the Celery Bog Nature Area now provides a suburban respite near several neighborhoods and apartment complexes. Operated by the West Lafayette Parks and Recreation Department, it contains both paved and unpaved trails rambling through prairie, savanna, woodlands and marshland. Cattail Trail, which runs through the Celery Bog and passes by Lilly Nature Center, is part of the city’s 27-mile paved trail system and is designated as a National Recreation Trail. Bicycling is allowed in paved areas.
• 1620 Lindberg Rd., West Lafayette
• Parking: Paved and gravel lots near trailheads and the Lilly Nature Center
• Restrooms: Lilly Nature Center
• Size: 195 acres, with 4.3 miles of paved trails and several footpaths with interpretive signs and viewing decks
North of the Celery Bog, tucked away near Purdue Research Park, is the tiny Trailhead Park. The park links to a fairly wide, straight section of the National Recreational Trail-designated Northwest Greenway Trail. Walkers, runners, bicyclists and rollerbladers share this section of the paved path, which starts at the roadside park and connects to the Soleado Vista neighborhood up north. South of Kalberer Road, the trail continues, eventually joining up with Cattail Trail. If you travel east along Kalberer, the trail connects to Cumberland Park.
• Intersection of Kalberer Road and Kent Avenue, West Lafayette
• Parking: Just east of the trail, next to a shelter and picnic tables
• Size: 4 acres
A beautifully landscaped greenspace with tennis courts, softball fields and the Castaway Bay swimming pool, Armstrong Park anchors the corner of South Ninth Street
and Beck Lane on the south side of Lafayette. Named after Purdue alumnus and astronaut Neil Armstrong, the park features Armstrong Trail, a paved asphalt loop encircling the pond. Lafayette Parks & Recreation maintains the trail, part of 6 miles of paved trails in the city, along with many more unpaved. All Lafayette trails are available for walking, running, bicycling, rollerblading and cross-country skiing. Pets must be leashed. Because of its popularity as a dog-walking destination, Armstrong Trail may not be suitable for dogs that aren’t well-socialized.
• 821 Beck Lane, Lafayette
• Parking: Several lots, including one near the tennis courts and north end
• Size: 30 acres with a two-thirds mile trail
For thousands of years, Native Americans hunted and lived in the area near current-day Battle Ground where the Tippecanoe and Wabash rivers meet. Today, Prophetstown State Park, named for an indigenous village established in 1808 by Tecumseh, who was Shawnee, and his brother Tenskwatawa, who was called the Prophet, features 2,000 acres where park officials are restoring native landscapes. Nine miles of trails ranging from easy to moderate snake their way through the park, which also includes picnic areas, a campground and seasonal aquatic center. Trail No. 1 takes you through a former Christmas tree plantation of Douglas fir before winding its way through tallgrass prairie, a marsh and a field of wild cherry and Osage orange (hedge apple) trees.
• Mapping address is 5545 Swisher Road, West Lafayette
• Gate fee: Noncommercial vehicles with Indiana license plates are $8, and with out-of-state plates, $10. Fee includes admission to the Farm at Prophetstown next door.
• Restrooms: Comfort stations and vault toilets in several locations
• Parking: Several parking lots are available, including some near trailheads
• Size: 30 acres with 9 miles of trails
BY CINDY GERLACH
Everyone loves eating out. Perhaps your ideal evening is sitting down to fine dining, with candles and linen napkins, a fine bottle of wine; maybe you like to be perched on a stool across from your favorite bartender, chatting with other regulars. Or maybe your idea of a fun night out is grabbing hamburgers or pizza with the kids. However you do it, it’s a treat to have someone else mix your drink or prepare your dinner and have it brought to your table, served with a friendly smile.
And suddenly, in March, it all stopped. Under orders designed to help contain the spread of COVID-19, restaurants around the state were forced to close to dine-in customers, relegated only to carry-out. Restaurants quickly had to adapt and change. Now, as they slowly reopen their dining rooms to customers, what does that mean? What changes have they had to make? And what does the future look like?
The popular restaurant on the corner of Main and Fifth streets in downtown Lafayette is not necessarily known for its carry-out menu, though it’s always been an option, says Theresa Buckley who, with sister, Cheyenne, and mother, Mary, owns and operates the restaurant.
Most people, says Buckley, choose the Bistro for its atmosphere and service. But when forced to shut its doors, having done carry-out, they were quickly able to adapt.
“We had to adjust what we were offering so it would travel well,” she says. They focused on a menu with entrées that would look appetizing when people opened the box.
Menu changes were made; staff members who had been servers were suddenly delivering meals — anything people could do to get hours.
Flexibility has been important. In general, Buckley says, they try to be as green as possible and not order a lot of disposable products. But with the carry-out model, they had to change. And change again and again, as food shortages might mean ingredients were not available, or a particular carry-out box or bag was suddenly not available through their suppliers.
They used the opportunity to unveil the Bistro Market, allowing customers to purchase specialty food items through the store, including dairy and eggs, bakery and breads, produce, butcher and fresh seafood, meal kits, pantry items (dried beans and pasta, deli items) and even household items such as hand sanitizer and paper products. It was an idea they’d been mulling, Buckley says, but with the shutdown, it seemed like an opportune time to try it. Yet it brought up its own issues, as many of the items purchased arrive in bulk, so plans had to be made for repackaging.
Following a deep cleaning, when the restaurant reopened in June, Buckley had to oversee a number of changes in protocol. The restaurant created a safety promise to its customers and implemented some changes, including one door for entry and a separate door for exits; all restroom doors have foot openers. Customers must have reservations. Employees are screened for their health every day and will be wearing masks, even in the kitchen. Tables are six feet apart, and parties must be six or fewer. Water service will be different, and salt and pepper will not be on the table.
Buckley is doing everything she can to keep the restaurant safe for both customers and her staff. She knows how much regulars miss sitting at the bar, but that reopening will have to wait until it’s approved.
It’s an unpredictable time, says Buckley, as she juggles the already challenging job of day-to-day restaurant business with the extra hurdles of life during a pandemic. Like many people, she has had difficulty getting the proper personal protective equipment needed for her employees. And she is sensitive to the needs of people struggling with anxiety and depression during these difficult days.
The restaurant’s bottom line has suffered, she says; with no Purdue graduation weekend or Mother’s Day brunch, Bistro lost business. With no downtown events, they know their revenues will be down. Ordinarily Bistro would have had its annual Lobster Bake and jazz Thursdays — sadly, not this year.
“We have a high ratio of high-risk guests,” she says. “It’s a lot to manage, and we’re trying to do so super-respectfully of our staff. We’re not comfortable taking risks with others’ health.”
Across the street at Folie, Hallie Gorup and her husband, John, were monitoring the situation long before many locals, as John is a local physician and their daughter was studying in Italy last spring. They were tuned in to what was happening with the novel coronavirus; thus, even before the state mandated closures, the Gorups had decided to shut Folie’s doors for a time.
“We were paying more attention than the average person,” Hallie Gorup says. “We decided the respectful thing to do would be to shut down temporarily.”
Many of their staff members are Purdue students, so when the university closed, they left, meaning Folie did not have to deal with layoffs.
As they pivoted to a take-out model, they dealt with many of the same issues Bistro did, as they tried to adapt a menu that is based on presentation, on a plate, to a box. The menu was scaled way back, and they used the opportunity to experiment with the menu; knowing that volume was down, if food items weren’t a big hit, they had not made quite the investment.
“It’s been a nice challenge for the chef,” Gorup says, as he would try out his creativity with different entrées. “Sometimes it was robust, sometimes it was nothing.”
When restrictions were lifted to offer wine as a carryout option, that helped boost the bottom line as well, Gorup says.
As the restaurant reopened, Gorup says the transition back was not too difficult.
“We were never a crowded restaurant,” she says. “And we have a small kitchen staff, which allows for better distancing.”
Folie has made accommodations to meet the guidelines, which means no bar seating and not filling the restaurant. And while there is a lot more cleaning, Gorup points out that they were already meeting those sanitation standards anyway. Staff members were already washing their hands frequently, and the sanitizing was already happening. Now they’re just more cognizant.
“Our biggest challenge is not being able to seat parties of six or larger,” she says. “But we’re more than happy to comply. You have to be a part of the solution.”
While the restaurant is not yet overflowing with business, they do have groups come in, pleased that there is someplace to go for a special celebration or an evening out. And they are weathering the storm. Summer has always been a slower time, and there is uncertainty about when large-scale entertaining will be back in full force.
“‘Recovery’ is a generous word right now,” Gorup says. “But I’m not complaining.”
For the Christos hospitality group, adding extra hygiene standards is just par for the course, says owner Manny Papadogiannis.
“For us, all the pieces were there — washing hands for 20 seconds, sanitizing surfaces,” he says. “Those are all in the health department guidelines.”
The restaurants have merely upped the work they were already doing. They’ve added hooks to bathroom doors, enabling customers to open them using their wrists; employees are wearing facial coverings.
Papadogiannis says they’re adhering to the county health department guidelines. But they are also tapping into other resources.
Customers are encouraged to use apps for reservations or to get their names on a wait list — available through the restaurant websites.
“Everybody has to step up their game,” he says. “You want to be safe wherever you go.”
Papadogiannis points out that, for all the worries about restaurants, they are much cleaner than other places. In a big box store, hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people go through each day. Restaurants have much lighter traffic and they are cleaning so much more often.
“If you compare the number of staff and customers we have coming in, we can do that with that ratio,” he says.
“It’s a little bit of an adjustment. But you do what you need to do to get through this. It’s going to take a while. It’s going to be a very long road for the restaurant industry.”
La Scala used to be known for its farm-fresh food and Italian fare in its historic downtown Lafayette locale.
But that was before. It closed the doors on its dining room right before the shutdown.
Owner Kirsten Serrano found herself reeling, trying to figure out what to do as the business she and her husband, Paco, opened 21 years ago was shuttered.
The couple’s first response was to found Community Comfort, a plan to feed the community — because, Serrano says, that’s what she does. With donations, they fed between 1,200 and 1,300 people in one week.
“It was a lot,” she says. They were working around the clock.
But what was next?
“I literally just sat with a pencil and paper one day, and thought, what can we do?” she says. “We have all these assets — a community kitchen, a farm, experience.”
And the answer came to her — not out of pessimism, but out of realism. Because she does not see herself reopening La Scala before the time feels rights.
Hence, she developed Good to Go, a meal subscription service. It is modeled after many other meal-kit services, except with this one, it’s not just ingredients, but food that is chef-prepared, ready to serve.
“Our stuff is cooked, it’s ready to go,” she says. “It’s farm-fresh food; we prepare it and deliver it to your door.”
Good to Go is delivered on Thursdays. Depending on your plan, you’ll get entrees, sides, dessert, and an extra surprise — local products, extra produce from the farm or promotions.
As the service grows, they’ll be able to bring back more of their employees. It’s satisfying, Serrano says. Because, after all, feeding people is what she does best. And this venture? It’s helping La Scala stay afloat.
“We’re building a model that can survive a pandemic.”
Opening a new restaurant is challenging enough. If your grand opening was scheduled for March 2020? Well, it’s tough to open a new business when the entire country is shutting down.
But Revolution Barbeque has simply rolled with the punches, says Debbie McGregor. They just turned the opening into more of a soft opening.
“It didn’t stop us!” she says.
McGregor runs the new restaurant — an off-shoot, if you will, of Revolution Bakery on Fifth Street — with her daughter, Sarah McGregor Ray (the creative force, her mother says) and her son, Jonathan. Her husband, Geoff, a contractor, has helped with the remodeling of the restaurant on Main Street. It’s a true family endeavor.
The restaurant was already set up for fast-casual dining, says McGregor. So take-out food was easy enough to accommodate.
Because they ended up rolling out their business a little slower than they had planned, it allowed them to defer some remodeling in the dining room. And when they did open, they had rearranged the space, removing some tables to factor in distancing requirements.
“Not many people are able to reconstruct their whole dining room,” McGregor says.
Like all restaurants, they’ve paid attention to hygiene and sanitation standards. But of course, she says, they would have anyway.
“You are cleaning all the time; you’re always washing your hands,” she says. “We always wore gloves.” They just added a few extra steps, such as how they take items to and from the table.
And, sadly, they had to put away the cute napkin holders they had purchased for the tables — they’ll have to make their debut at a later date.
McGregor knows that for some people, dining out is still filled with some unease. But she is anxious to make everyone’s experience as painless as possible. For people worried about the exchange of cash or touching a screen to sign for a credit card transaction, she will meet people where they are, at their level of comfort.
Customers who were already regulars at the bakery had been eagerly anticipating the opening of the new barbeque place, McGregor says. And they’ve all been very supportive. From a promotion through Greater Lafayette Commerce promoting purchasing of restaurant gift cards to generous tips from customers, McGregor has felt embraced by the city.
“It has been working,” she says. “We’ve had good support from the community.”
As restaurants work to keep their doors open, anxious to serve their customers, Gorup says she hopes people will stop and realize how vital these businesses are to the lifeblood of Lafayette.
“They live in the community and they’ve always been very giving. When people need donations, restaurants are on the front lines, the first asked,” Gorup says. “I do hope there is better recognition and support for the restaurant community.”
BY KEN THOMPSON
In any other year, one of the joys of summertime is an ice cream cone after a ballgame or a day at the park.
But 2020 hasn’t been any other year. Fortunately for Greater Lafayette, two ice cream institutions and a relative newcomer are open for business. The COVID-19 pandemic impacted Silver Dipper more than the Original Frozen Custard and Budge’s, which unlike Silver Dipper, are seasonal businesses.
David Carlson, whose family opened the first of two Silver Dipper stores in 2001, lost about a month of business.
“In mid-March we decided to close out of an abundance of caution,” Carlson says. “We sold our existing inventory to other small independent ice cream shops in Indiana. By mid-April our supplier was ramping up production again and we decided to reopen.”
Silver Dipper, which has locations at 201 E. State St. and 307 Sagamore Parkway West, has strictly followed guidelines from the Tippecanoe County Health Department regarding cleaning, masks and social distancing.
“The reopening has gone well,” Carlson says. “Since we began accepting credit cards in 2016, we were already set up to provide contactless payment options. We also created an online store thru silverdipper.com, where customers can order and pay online, then pick up their order through carryout or curbside.”
The Carlson family spent years working in Chicago and commuting from northwest Indiana, all with a goal of buying a business in central Indiana. The Carlsons purchased the Baskin Robbins store at Purdue West in 2000, believing the presence of Purdue University and Tippecanoe County’s diversified economy was a good business risk.
A year later, the Carlsons broke away from Baskin Robbins and opened the Silver Dipper location on Sagamore Parkway. Two years later, the Levee store followed.
“We decided to go independent in order to have more control over product quality, pricing and equipment,” Carlson says.
“We consider the Sagamore Parkway store to be our ‘family store’ and the Levee to be the ‘campus store.’ But we see a lot of families and Lafayette customers at our Levee location too. Plus being the largest city in the county we see customers from all over the area.”
One of Silver Dipper’s trademarks is a variety of flavors, approximately 40 year-round flavors which are available on the website.
“We try to keep a variety to appeal to everyone, but it is customer demand that determines which flavors we carry,” Carlson says. “We also carry ‘no sugar added’ options as well as Italian ices, which are non-dairy and non-fat.”
When asked to list Silver Dipper’s best-selling flavors, Carlson names Zanzibar, Oreo, Cookie Dough, Zoreo (Zanzibar and Oreo mixed together) and Peanut Butter Cookie Dough.
Only Zanzibar made the lengthy list of Carlson family favorites, which include Toffee Chocolate Chip, This S&@! Just Got Serious, Chocolate Cherry Bomb, Coconut Almond Bliss and Pistachio.
Carlson and his family are grateful that not only have customers returned to buy ice cream but also merchandise such as Silver Dipper themed T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, cups and stickers.
“Lately, we have seen customers purchase them as a way to support their favorite local businesses during this difficult time,” he says.
“We have been touched by the amount of support and concern for our business. We have loved being a part of the community the past 20 years and look forward to many more years serving our customers.”
When it comes to years of serving Greater Lafayette customers, few local businesses can approach the many decades that the Original Frozen Custard and Budge’s have been open.
The Original Frozen Custard had a humble beginning in 1932, when Florence and Charles Kirkhoff began selling vanilla frozen custard from a stand next to Columbian Park. A year later, the Kirkhoffs’ secret recipe was expanded to include chocolate and strawberry frozen custard.
The Kirkhoffs had to use salt to freeze their frozen custard because modern refrigeration and freezers were not yet available. While the recipe remains a secret to this day, we do know that frozen custard contains 4 percent egg yolk and a fraction of the whipped air contained in regular ice cream.
Another Frozen Custard tradition, the fruit drink, was created because Florence Kirkhoff didn’t care for soda pop. Charles Kirkhoff’s business sense, though, led to a deal with Coca-Cola in 1934. The Original Frozen Custard remains one of Coca-Cola’s oldest accounts.
The iconic art deco building was constructed in 1949 across from what is now Loeb Stadium. Twenty years later, the Kirkhoffs passed the business to their daughter, Charlene, and her husband, Dick Lodde. They expanded the menu to offer more products, flavors and food.
The Kirkhoffs originally called their business “The Igloo,” a name that was revived in 1998 by Bill and Kathy Lodde. The two Igloo locations on Veterans Memorial Parkway have expanded the line of Frozen Custard flavors, added more sundaes and sandwiches, including an old favorite: the Original Double Decker.
Budge’s (pronounced bud-gees) bills itself as “Lafayette’s best kept secret since 1942.”
Like the Original Frozen Custard, Budge’s had a simple beginning when Wallace Budge converted a gas station on the corner of 14th and Hartford streets into a root beer stand.
The original stand was razed in the 1950s and the current structure was built facing 14th Street. It was then that Budge’s added ice cream, burgers and other treats to the menu.
That helped Budge’s draw lunchtime business from nearby St. Elizabeth Hospital and after- school lines from Linnwood Elementary students. Budge ran the business until he sold out in 1968.
The years have passed, and St. Elizabeth is no longer in the neighborhood. Neither is Linnwood Elementary School. But Budge’s is still around and approaching its 80th birthday.
Its menu probably wouldn’t be recognized by Charles Budge today, with flavored drinks, a wide variety of ice cream, shakes, parfaits, sodas and sundaes. Food options range from the traditional cheeseburger to chicken tenders and coney dogs.
BY CINDY GERLACH
If you think downtown Lafayette is looking picturesque these days, then you’ve been watching its evolution. Over the past decades, while the downtown had its share of charm, sidewalks were looking as if they needed an update, a little tweaking to enhance the ambience.
Rejuvenating Main Street, a streetscaping program that has been underway for more than 15 years, continues this summer, improving sidewalks, adding gathering places downtown and planting trees.
It’s a beautification project that not only makes the downtown scene more attractive, but it is a boon to business as well.
Plans for this project date back as far as the late 1970s, says Dennis Carson, economic development director for the City of Lafayette. Funding was made available in the mid-2000s; the first phase of the plan was rolled out in 2005.
So why the need to change the look of downtown? For decades, when people lived and worked near the downtown, it was the major shopping and business center, with retail shops lining the streets, anchored by the Courthouse, with restaurants and movie theaters. It was the shopping and business district.
The feel of downtown Lafayette began to shift and change in the 1960s and ’70s, as it did in downtowns throughout the United States. With widespread use of the automobile and people moving farther away from the city center into more suburban neighborhoods, a shift occurred. By the 1980s, many businesses had fled to Market Square or the Tippecanoe Mall; single-screen movie theaters — places like the Long Center and the old Mars Theatre — had been abandoned in favor of larger multiplexes.
Downtowns were in danger.
But, Carson says, Lafayette’s downtown fared much better than those of other, similar-sized cities.
“Fortunately, even in that time, there was a lot of interest in downtown,” he says. Along with the Courthouse, many law firms and banks remained, as well as the newspaper and other government offices.
So the city took the lead, focusing on historic preservation. Much of the downtown consisted of buildings dating back to the first half of the 20th century, and the city wanted to preserve that architecture, knowing its value.
“One of the early efforts was historic preservation, to establish the historic district,” says Carson. “They really tried to preserve the architecture we have. We lost some, too, but we’ve been able to preserve a lot.”
But the need went beyond historic preservation and into safety. The sidewalks were so old that many had the WPA stamps, dating them back to the 1930s.
“It got to a point where not only did we need to do it for aesthetics, but there were several safety and ADA issues,” Carson says.
Thus the streetscape plan for downtown was meant to enhance the district on several fronts. Clearly, part of the goal was simply to beautify downtown. Sidewalks have been widened, and the corners are larger, with benches added, making it easier for people to gather.
And with wider sidewalks, downtown restaurants were able to take advantage and add more outdoor dining space.
Bike racks encourage people to use other methods of transportation. And public art installations add visual interest.
If you’ve walked through downtown, you’ve seen the improvements. These all make downtown more accessible to people with a specific destination or those who just want to walk and browse, soaking up the small-town yet big-city aesthetic.
“One thing we really want to improve on is the pedestrian experience,” Carson says. “So they don’t park, go into the shop, then get in their car and leave. We want to encourage people to walk the downtown as much as possible.”
For summer 2020, the project expands to upper Main Street, between 10th and 11th streets. Both sides of 10th Street, from Main north to Ferry, will see the widened sidewalks, striping and tree installation. The next phase will see the same improvements on the south side of Main Street between 10th and 11th, as well as 11th Street between Main and Ferry. The final phase, wrapping up at the end of September, will take the project south on both sides of 10th Street to Columbia.
The project is paid for through Tax Increment Financing, or TIF districts. Business owners have been asked to contribute to a portion of the project in front of their buildings.
“There was a little apprehension at first,” Carson says. “But once it was done, everyone was really pleased.”
The energy and enthusiasm associated with downtown has increased over the past few years, with urban living opportunities and more retail and restaurants than ever, says Carson.
Over time, that value will continue to increase. With the variety of arts and culture opportunities, the festivals, and more shopping and dining
options, people will continue to see and enjoy the revitalization of the streetscape project.
“It’s really transformed Main Street,” Carson says. “We’ve gotten a lot of comments; it’s been pretty well received. Over time we’ll see increased property values. It helps, helps maintain these historic structures. It’s been a fun thing and it’s been well received.”
For details on the project, visit lafayettedowntownisopen.com.
BY KEN THOMPSON
Growing up in Lafayette during the 1960s and 1970s, I probably took for granted that my family lived between Murdock Park and Columbian Park.
Surely everybody had a basketball court/baseball field almost within eyesight of their house. Or a swimming pool, zoo and kids’ rides just a few blocks away.
Time has taught me that Greater Lafayette is more fortunate than most in having so many parks to enjoy. A few, notably McCaw Park and Prophetstown State Park, have come along since my teenage years.
Here’s a look at the parks you’ll find scattered all over Greater Lafayette.
History lessons abound at Indiana’s newest state park, located just outside of Battle Ground.
The park’s name is derived from the Native American village located between the Wabash and Tippecanoe rivers, established in 1808 by Tecumseh and his brother, who was called The Prophet.
Native Americans hunted and lived along the Wabash and Tippecanoe rivers, which serve as boundaries for Prophetstown. Through a partnership with The Farm at Prophetstown, visitors can observe 1920s farm lifestyles and Native American culture. For those who like to walk among nature, there are 900 acres of restored prairie.
There’s also an aquatic center, open Memorial Day through Labor Day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Cost is $5 per person but ages 3 and younger are free.
Gate fees are $8 for cars with Indiana license plates, $10 for out of state plates.
Spread over 40 acres in the heart of Lafayette, Columbian Park has seen many changes over the decades, but the biggest is yet to come.
Loeb Stadium, the home of the Lafayette Jeff High School baseball team and events such as the Colt World Series and professional/semi-pro baseball since it opened in 1940, was recently demolished to make room for a modern baseball stadium that will seat 2,600. The new Loeb Stadium is scheduled to be ready by winter 2021.
Next door to Loeb Stadium is another big draw to Columbian Park. The zoo is home to wildlife such as a bald eagle, a laughing kookaburra and an emu. A new penguin exhibit also is under construction.
Loeb Stadium also is bounded by Tropicanoe Cove water park, which traditionally opens Memorial Day weekend.
Like Prophetstown, there’s also history to be found on the appropriately named Memorial Island. Dedicated in 1949 through the efforts of local patriotic and military organizations, Memorial Island is a permanent reminder of the price paid for our freedom. The tribute honors the men and women from Tippecanoe County who gave their lives defending our nation.
Arlington Park, 1635 Arlington Road, is home to a playground, basketball and tennis courts, plus a picnic shelter.
Armstrong Park, 821 Beck Lane, is named in honor of Purdue graduate and first man on the moon Neil Armstrong. The large (30 acres) park has three youth baseball fields, five lighted tennis courts, lighted basketball courts, a playground and for fitness buffs, a 2/3 mile paved trail. Armstrong Park also is home to Castaway Bay aquatic center.
Centennial Park, Sixth and Brown streets, features a playground, basketball court and picnic shelter.
Hanna Park, 1201 N. 18th St., is located adjacent to the Hanna Community Center. It boasts unique playground equipment targeted for children ages 2-5 and 5-12. Hanna Park also is home to a basketball court and picnic shelter.
Tucked inside a north side neighborhood, Hedgewood Park, 2902 Beverly Lane, features plenty of green space and a playground.
Also on the north side, Linnwood Park, 1501 Greenbush St., is home to a basketball court, playground and picnic shelter.
Once home to the world horseshoe championships, Lyboult Sports Park, 1300 Canal Road, still has the horseshoe facility along with three lighted softball fields, a sand volleyball court and basketball courts.
McAllister Park on North Ninth Street is home for model plane enthusiasts and is part of the Wabash Heritage Trail.
As Lafayette’s east side began to grow in the latter part of the 20th century, McCaw Park, 3745 Union St., came into existence thanks to a $70,000 donation from William and Michele McCaw. At first, McCaw Park had three lighted youth baseball fields and a couple of picnic shelters. But in the past few years, a state-of-the-art playground and 12 pickleball courts have been added.
Munger Park, 3505 Greenbush St., also exists today thanks to the generosity of Cinergy-PSI donating the 32 acres and a $100,000 contribution from Thomas and Alice Munger. A one-mile paved trail is surrounded by open space and curves around a pond. Fishing is permitted. There’s also a playground and a 100-seat picnic shelter available for rent.
Back in the heyday of Marion Crawley and Bill Berberian, high school basketball players would spend hours playing at Murdock Park, 2100 Cason St. Thanks to former Purdue standout Brian Cardinal, the remodeled Cardinal Court is still home to future stars. An overlooked feature of Murdock Park is the 39 acres of urban forest located just off 18th Street, one of Lafayette’s busiest streets. What little area isn’t occupied by nearly 40 variety of trees is home to a sled run that operates even when Mother Nature hasn’t provided enough of the white stuff. A challenging disc golf course is located near the Ferry Street border of Murdock Park.
North Darby Park, 14 Darby Lane, features a basketball court and playground.
Tucked away alongside the Wabash River, Shamrock Park, 115 Samford St., is home to Lafayette’s first dog park. As you might expect of a riverfront park, there’s a small boat ramp. The 11-acre park also is home to a basketball court, horseshoes, an outdoor roller hockey rink, picnic areas, a playground and a volleyball court.
Recently renovated, SIA South Tipp Park, located at Third and Fountain streets, features two unique multi-age playgrounds, a half basketball court, a picnic shelter and a misting station.
Sterling Heights Park, 610 Harrington Drive, is Lafayette’s newest park and it has a neighborhood playground feel. There’s plenty of open green space, flower beds and shade trees surrounding the playground and picnic shelter.
Wedged into a corner along Ferry Street in between Erie and Sheridan streets, Stockton Park, 307 Erie St., has a spring-rider for small children, a swing and a picnic shelter.
Of the properties under the auspices of the West Lafayette Parks and Recreation Dept., the Celery Bog Nature Area is by far the largest. Including the Lilly Nature Center, it occupies 195 of the city’s 464 acres of recreational areas, picnic grounds, nature trails and playgrounds.
Once upon a time, the Celery Bog, 1620 Lindberg Road, was a large vegetable farm. Now it is a sanctuary for rabbits, coyotes, opossums, nearly 120 different species of birds and other small mammals. Much of the acreage is contained by five wetland basins. The Lilly Nature Center features exhibits and educational programs available throughout the year.
Happy Hollow Park, 1301 Happy Hollow Road, is a great location for hiking or walking. There’s the 1-mile paved Trolley Line Trail that will appeal to hikers. Three different footpaths are available as well.
For the younger residents, there are two playgrounds. Older, active residents might enjoy the small softball field. Four picnic shelters have always been popular and available for reservations.
Cumberland Park is far more than the Arni Cohen Memorial softball fields drivers see while traveling on North Salisbury Street. Nearly half of the 62-acre complex is taken up by the Michaud-Sinninger Woods Nature Preserve and the large turf/soccer area.
There are also the community vegetable gardens, two lighted basketball courts, the Pony League baseball field and a volleyball court.
Tapawingo Park, 100 Tapawingo Drive, contains the one-and-a-quarter mile paved Wabash Heritage Trail and a playground. When cold weather arrives, the Riverside Skating Center is a popular hangout.
Mascouten Park, 900 N. River Road, has easy access to the Wabash River with a boat ramp. Picnic tables also adorn the 15-acre park.
University Farm Park, 500 Lagrange St., contains playgrounds and a picnic shelter inside one of the city’s newer neighborhoods.
There’s something to do for all ages at George E. Lommel Park, 300 Wilshire Ave. A small softball field and soccer area provide plenty of space for older children. Two playgrounds and picnic tables make the park a nice place to spend an afternoon.
How many of you would have enjoyed a climbing boulder growing up? Peck-Trachtman Park, 3300 Dubois St., has one to go with a playground and picnic shelter.
Lincoln Park packs a lot into a half-acre lot at 255 Lincoln St.: A playground, picnic tables inside a 12-by-20-foot shelter and a swing set.
Formerly known as Centennial Neighborhood Park, Paula R. Woods Park was renamed in 2011 in honor of the former West Lafayette Board of Parks and Recreation member. This small park on the corner of Lawn Avenue and Vine Street is a fitting tribute to the lifetime resident of the New Chauncey Neighborhood. A small picnic shelter and a playground for pre-school children is appropriate for the neighborhood.
The Northwest Greenway Trail inside Trailhead Park, 1450 Kalberer Road, provides an experience with nature over its four acres. A picnic shelter and tables are also available.
A basketball court and exercise area are part of Tommy Johnston Park on 200 S. Chauncey St. Johnston was a long-time Purdue employee and president of the West Lafayette Board of Parks and Recreation for 14 of his 20 years on the board. A picnic shelter and swing set also occupy the half-acre park.
One relic of Indiana’s French heritage is Fort Ouiatenon (wee-ah-the-non), established along the Wabash River in 1717 as a fur trading post. Named for the Wea tribes in the area, Ouiatenon was one of Indiana’s earliest settlements. That heritage is recognized each fall with the Feast of the Hunters’ Moon. The replica blockhouse, built in 1930, is open weekends from mid-May to August. Programs and tours may be arranged through the Tippecanoe County Historical Association.
Nearly 100 years after Fort Ouiatenon was established, another milestone moment in Indiana history took place in Battle Ground. On Nov. 11, 1811, General William Henry Harrison led his troops into battle against Tecumseh and his Native American confederation. The site of that battle, which led to Harrison becoming the ninth President of the United States, is the home of Tippecanoe Battlefield Park, a National Historic Landmark.
Visitors can’t miss the 85-foot tall marble obelisk monument to the Battle of Tippecanoe. There’s also the Wah-ba-shik-a Nature Center, open daily from mid-April through early November. The Tippecanoe County Historical Association operates the museum inside the park that tells the story of Harrison’s victory.
Nearby, the Tippecanoe County Amphitheater began as the home for an outdoor historical drama but in recent years has been home to summer concerts, festivals, weddings, picnics and high school cross country events. Soccer fields and hiking/biking trails also occupy the 166-acre campus.
Ross Hills Park and the adjoining Ross Camp is spread out over 380 acres off South River Road in West Lafayette. In addition to the restored David Ross House, visitors will enjoy the Sullivan and Hentschel picnic shelters, adjoining volleyball courts, hiking trails, wooded picnic sites and a softball backstop.
The scenic Ross Camp has nearly 200 wooded acres and is home to a chapel and dining hall ideal for weddings, receptions and banquets. A frame lodge is available for meetings and overnight retreats. If camping is more your style, a campground with modern and primitive sites is available. Other amenities include a catch-and-release fishing pond and hiking trails.
Speaking of hiking, the 13-mile Wabash Heritage Trail begins at Tippecanoe Battlefield Park and follows the Wabash River to Riehle Plaza in downtown Lafayette, back across the Wabash southward toward Fort Ouiatenon. Picnic tables and benches are available along the trail.
Part of the Wabash Heritage Trail, Davis Ferry Park – located on Ninth Street Road along the Wabash – also has a boat launch and picnic area.
Granville Park also offers boat access to the Wabash River, located just off South River Road.
Wildcat Park provides not only canoe access to Wildcat Creek, but is available for fishing and picnicking.
Mar Len Park has been home to outstanding softball for decades, most recently the Indiana Magic girls team. A picnic shelter is also located on the site just south of Wea Ridge Elementary School on County Road 150 E.
BY KEN THOMPSON
With the calendar pointing to spring, there are plenty of opportunities in Greater Lafayette for people who’ve had enough of being cooped up indoors and are ready to get out and exercise.
Whether it’s running, cycling or playing a newer sport – pickleball anyone? – there’s no excuse to not get into shape. Three local groups welcome beginners as well as long-time participants and those with experience somewhere in between.
The Wabash River Cycle Club was founded in 1978, and it continues to prosper more than 40 years later because there are rides available for just about every level of cyclist. For the advanced rider, there are mountain bike trails and gravel roads. For the beginner and intermediate cyclists, there are rides featuring bike paths and roads.
Long-time club member Gary Brouillard, a member of the group’s executive board, offers these reasons for joining the Wabash River Cycle Club:
• Having a group to ride with for safety, companionship, encouragement and improving your biking skills;
• Access to the list serve for changes to calendar rides and for rides not listed on the calendar;
• Learning various safe bicycle routes; and
• The knowledge available within the membership.
As of January, there were 217 club members, a number that does not break down family memberships. To Brouillard’s knowledge, 90-year-old Gilbert Satterly is the only founding member who still belongs to the club.
Board member Molly Cripe Birt says in the past year, 280 riders logged more than 161,522 miles.
The club boasts that it provides a great social scene not just for the cyclists but for their families and friends as well. The 501c non-profit group offers annual memberships for families ($40), individuals ($30) and students ($15). To join, go to wrcc-in.org/page/join#join.
The club’s big annual event is the Wabash River Ride, set this year for Aug. 29 starting at Fort Ouiatenon, on South River Road in West Lafayette. Cyclists have a variety of routes to choose from, covering Tippecanoe, Fountain and Warren counties. Routes cover distances of 33, 47, 66 or 100 miles. In addition to scenic views of the Wabash River, riders could see area landmarks such as the Rob Roy Covered Bridge, historic Williamsport Bridge and the Fountain County Church.
Cumberland Park will host the club’s New Rider Callout in May. Cripe says the callout will include a 1- to 2-hour ride as well as a donut social and a fun lunch. Information will be available about other club activities and membership signup.
May is a busy month for the club. A weekly Wabash River Cycling Club Women’s Ride will offer rides based upon skill and speed. Within the weekly rides will be an educational feature called Stand Nights. Here, women can learn bike skills, maintenance and female-related cycling issues.
The Wabash River Cycling Club also will support Bike to Work Week activities in Greater Lafayette.
If you prefer two feet to two-wheeled transportation, the Wabash River Runners Club welcomes runners of all levels, from recreational jogger to the competitive road racer. The group was formed in the mid-1980s and in four decades membership has reached nearly 250.
Weekly group runs take place on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Tapawingo Park is the starting point for Wednesday’s group runs, beginning at 6 p.m. Saturday’s run begins at 8 a.m. from the West Lafayette Panera Bread location in Wabash Landing. An early start from Café Literato on Sunday, 7 a.m., caps the week.
When warmer weather arrives in Greater Lafayette, the Wabash River Runners Club holds two race series: a Farmers Market 5K out of the Cumberland Park farmers market and a trail race series of varying distances out of Battle Ground Memorial Park, according to club president Natalia Sanchez.
Annual membership fees are $15 for individuals, $25 for couples and $35 for families. Those who register online at runlafin.org will incur an additional $1 processing fee. Membership is not necessary to participate in a run, but club members do gather for additional workouts to improve speed, weight training and hill climbing.
The club’s website offers valuable tips for training for a 5K race, half or full marathons and trail runs.
Sponsored races include The Purdue Challenge 5K Run/Walk. The race begins and ends at Ross-Ade Stadium and all the money raised goes to support cancer research at the Purdue Center for Cancer Research. The event’s website, raceroster.com, boasts that in the previous 12 years, the Purdue Challenge has raised more than $1 million for cancer research.
Another event is the ninth annual Purdue Boilermaker Half Marathon/5K, set for Oct. 17, with the start/finish at Ross-Ade Stadium. Register at purduehalf.com.
Despite the name, pickleball has nothing to do with the condiment you might find on your hamburger. Instead it’s a game that’s been around since the 1960s when it began as a children’s backyard activity.
It’s a paddleball sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton and table tennis. Like those sports, two or four players can participate in a match. Holding solid paddles, the players attempt to hit a perforated ball that might remind some of a Wiffle Ball, over a net.
The wife of one of the game’s founders, Joel Pritchard, called it pickleball because “the combination of different sports reminded me of the pickle boat in crew where oarsmen were chosen from leftovers of the other boats.”
Another of the founders, Barney McCallum, claims the game was named after the Pritchard’s dog, Pickles. The dog would chase the ball and run off with it, McCallum said.
The Lafayette Indiana Pickleball Association’s roots trace back to May 2011, according to membership official Cheryl Parker. Tom Plummer and friends Joe Yuill, Dick Wiegand, Max Fitzgerald, Vern Mayrose and Jim Ciccarelli met at Armstrong Park. They played pickleball with homemade paddles composed of cutoff old tennis racket handles and pieces of plywood.
Others saw the group playing and by winter, the roster of players reached 18. That winter, the group petitioned the Lafayette Parks and Recreation Department to paint permanent pickleball lines on the tennis courts at McCaw Park.
Today, the Lafayette Pickleball Association boasts more than 250 members and says that the sport is the nation’s fastest growing. Some proof of that can be seen at McCaw Park, which hosts a 12-court complex for pickleball that was dedicated in the summer of 2018 in partnership with the Lafayette Parks and Recreation Department.
Five sites are available for indoor play. The Lyn Treece Boys and Girls Club, 1529 N. 10th St., Lafayette, has three tiled courts available during the public school year. Cost is $2 per session or $20 a month. Portable nets and balls are provided to association members.
The YWCA, 605 N. Sixth St., Lafayette, is open to association members. Cost is $3 per session. Portable nets and balls are provided to association members. Three courts on a wood gym floor are available.
Five striped pickleball courts on a wood gym floor are available at the Lafayette YMCA, 3001 Creasy Lane. A single court can be reserved for one hour but YMCA membership is required. Guest passes are available. Also, players must provide their own pickleballs.
Faith East Community Center has two tiled courts available for play. Cost is $2. Nets and balls will be provided for association members.
Also, Purdue’s Cordova Recreational Sports Center offers multiple wood courts and nets are available, but players are asked to bring their own pickleballs. The facility is open to members but non-members are welcome to purchase a one-day pass for $7.
Annual membership fees are $30 for individuals and $50 for families. The Lafayette Pickleball Association offers lessons for beginners and supports all levels of play from recreational to highly competitive.
For decades now, local youths and young adults have learned the skill of boxing and developing into Golden Gloves participants.
Club president Terry Christian, a former Golden Gloves state champion under the guidance of club founder Sherman Depew, takes pride in the club’s history, which began as the Twin Cities Boxing Club. In addition to 1993 National Golden Gloves light middleweight champion Darnell Wilson, the Lafayette Boxing Club has produced multiple state individual and team champions while providing facilities and training at no charge to its members.
Its current home is 2423 Poland Hill Road in Lafayette.
A game that has been a part of the Olympics (a demonstration sport in 1908), the Lafayette Bike Polo club is based at Shamrock Park.
The game is just like it sounds, polo on bicycles instead of horses, with teams of three or five. The only other equipment needed is a mallet and a polo ball.
For more information, including how to participate, email email@example.com.
BY CINDY GERLACH
PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV
These are the words that come to mind when one pictures living in an urban downtown. Surrounded by high-rise buildings, eclectic architecture and nightlife — it’s a young sophisticate’s dream.
And it’s available right here in River City.
Downtown, right on the riverfront, a short walk to the courthouse, with stunning views — it’s the hip and happening place to live in Lafayette.
And if you want to be part of it, brace yourself: There may be a wait.
When Ben McCartney and Cathleen Campbell moved to town in 2018, downtown was their preference on where to live. McCartney actually grew up in West Lafayette. But after being away for several years living near the East Coast, he and his new wife decided they wanted that urban feel.
“When moving to Lafayette, Cathleen and I were hoping to embrace what small-town life has to offer,” says McCartney. “For us that meant walking to work, walking to church and walking to our favorite restaurants and hang-out spots.”
It’s been a perfect fit for the two of them; McCartney walks to work at Purdue University, and they’ve found their niche with places to eat downtown. They wouldn’t have it any other way.
Proximity to bars and restaurants plus the ability to walk places are all reasons given for opting to live downtown, says relocation specialist Faye Cole of Lafayette Relocation Services.
“Part of it is just the charm of living downtown,” Cole says, “A lot of my clients are younger people. They love to be able to walk to bars and restaurants, and they don’t want to risk getting a DUI.”
Downtown culture is a big draw, says Kelsey Talbot, property manager with W.H. Long. Adding to that, the allure of the uniqueness of the architecture makes it a desirable place for young professionals to get their start.
“The downtown market is hot,” she says. “The proximity to campus without being on it, that’s a really big draw.”
Plus, she says, people are attracted to the historic buildings.
“The exposed brick, the character of these buildings,” she says. “You don’t get that everywhere. The corner units with downtown views — people really like that aesthetic, being in the heart of things.”
Yet it’s not just young people who opt for life downtown.
“We see all walks of life in terms of ages and lifestyle,” Talbot says. She sees graduate students who want to be near campus, but not right in the heart of the undergraduate party scene, which can be a little loud and rambunctious. She also sees Purdue faculty and professionals who travel frequently, thus they don’t want the upkeep of a house and a lawn.
“Downtown draws a lot of different people in; so many people are here for different reasons.”
Part of the attraction of living in downtown Lafayette is the proximity to entertainment, arts and culture.
For some people, it’s the convenience of being able to walk to so many restaurants and bars. And the options don’t disappoint — downtown Lafayette is home to more than 20 eateries, with food options from hamburgers and pizza, Italian, sushi, pub fare and high-end dining with fine wines. Plenty of these restaurants offer patio seating for warm weather dining. And for people who live just up the block, these all come without the hassle of searching for parking.
And for others, it’s access to performances and nightlife. Downtown Lafayette is home to multiple art galleries, which open their doors several times each year to host downtown Gallery Walks. Many bars offer live musical performances by local bands. And regular performances by local performing arts groups are featured downtown, including Civic Theatre, the Lafayette Master Chorale, the Lafayette Symphony Orchestra and the Tippecanoe Chamber Music Society — all of which perform in downtown theaters and churches.
The Long Center for the Performing Arts and the Lafayette Theater both bring in outside programming, an eclectic variety of shows geared toward audiences of all ages.
There are multiple houses of worship downtown that also are easily accessible. Fun and funky gift shops, antique stores and bookstores — locally owned — offer fun for both buyers and browsers alike. The county library is convenient. And from May to October, the downtown farmers market offers shopping for high-quality food items from local vendors.
Downtown festivals are another big draw. The aforementioned Gallery Walks keep downtown alive on Friday evenings throughout the warmer months. Mosey Down Main Street, designed to highlight upper Main Street, also draws crowds, as it features local musical performances and eateries. The annual Taste of Tippecanoe features multiple stages with live performances and dozens of local restaurants. Lafayette’s giant Independence Day celebration also is downtown, with fireworks being lit from the pedestrian bridge over the river. And come December, the Christmas parade and Dickens of a Christmas bring a fun and festive holiday air — again, right downtown.
Downtown residents get to take part in all of these celebrations and activities — again, minus the frustration of looking for parking. It’s a perfect mix, says Talbot.
“You’re a part of downtown but not right in the middle of it,” she says. “You still have some quiet and serenity when you want it.”
For some young people, being right in the midst of things is a lifestyle choice. Talbot finds that a lot of her younger clients are committed to living more sustainably, to buying local and living in a community they know well. For them, downtown living means they drive less and frequent businesses with whom they have a relationship.
“Buying local, supporting small businesses,” she says. “You see that familiar face — it makes you want to go back and be a part of it.”
Just like the people who live downtown, the downtown residences are not all the same. From quirky lofts to high-end luxury apartments, downtown dwellings come in all shapes and sizes.
Many apartments are part of buildings that are around a century old. For example, the historic Schultz Building, 216 N. Fourth St., is a mixed-use building with businesses on the main floors and apartments above. An older building, the units feature high ceilings with an urban loft feel, some with exposed brick and vents and tall windows, giving a panoramic view of downtown. The apartments vary, from studio to two bedrooms, anywhere from 460 square feet to nearly 900. They all come with renovated kitchens with a dishwasher, garbage disposal and microwave. Plus, each unit comes with in-unit laundry facilities.
Contrast the older architecture with the Marq apartments, just a few blocks away on Second Street. The Marq is brand-new construction with more of a luxury high-rise ambience. The apartments have private balconies, walk-in closets, in-unit laundry and garage parking. Upper floors have stunning views of the Wabash River.
Multiple other complexes are scattered throughout downtown, from the Lahr Apartments — a former hotel — to Renaissance Place, across from Riehle Plaza. And all over downtown are various apartments hidden above shops and storefronts, all with a variety of floorplans and amenities.
For some people, worrying about parking might make living downtown a bit intimidating. Talbot says there are places to rent a space that are affordable. And Cole, whose office is downtown, says the lack of parking downtown is exaggerated.
“The perception is there’s no downtown parking,” she says. “In my experience, I can always find a parking space within one block of where I’m going,”
Plus, with the Connector Bus, which runs between downtown and Purdue University every 20 minutes, it’s easy to get from one place to another.
Safety might be a concern for some, with downtown areas generally having a reputation as being a bit more gritty and edgy. Also not true, says Cole.
“There is no place in Lafayette/West Lafayette I wouldn’t park my car and still get out and walk,” she says. “We’re still a better community than most of them.”
And for people who might rent in a building that does not offer standard amenities such as laundry and workout facilities, those places are all available downtown, just a short walk.
If living downtown sounds like the perfect fit for you, be prepared: Vacancies are few. Talbot says there is a waiting list, with most places near capacity.
“In the last two years, prices have shot up,” Cole says. “There’s beautiful new construction, but it’s executive housing. Affordable housing will soon be lacking.”
For McCartney and Campbell, living downtown has proven to be exactly what they were looking for.
“Downtown Lafayette has so much going for it that it’s been super easy to live mostly on foot,” McCartney says. “And with new restaurants — and the spring — just around the corner, we’re excited to continue to live downtown!”
Whether you prefer sourdough bread or frosting-stuffed cupcakes, vegan cheesecake or flourless chocolate tortes, Greater Lafayette bakeries offer something for nearly every taste and dietary restriction. After contacting shop owners and asking locals for recommendations — and trying some on our own — we compiled a list of some of the best baked goods around.
Sandra Hufford and her sister, Sheryl, started the Flour Mill Bakery in 1996 in Hufford’s house, “literally in the middle of the cornfield,” she says. While the sisters had not intended to sell donuts, word had gotten around town that a donut shop was opening, and so they added them to the menu. “Donuts have always been our biggest seller,” Hufford says. “We sell approximately 450 dozen per week.” After Hufford’s sister moved on to other ventures, Hufford sold the business in 2016, only to repurchase it three years later. At its current location on State Road 26 in Rossville, the bakery sells donuts, pies, cookies and angel food cakes, along with homemade salads, soups, espresso drinks and deli meats and cheeses.
As a young girl in Wolcott, Indiana, Brittany Gerber loved watching her mom decorate wedding cakes and began dabbling in the art as soon as she was old enough. After attending Purdue University and working in customer service for several years, Gerber purchased the Lafayette Gigi’s franchise in 2019, where she serves up cupcakes, cakes, cookies stuffed with frosting, macarons, cheesecakes, cake truffles and miniature cupcakes. Three gluten-friendly options are on the menu every day, including the GF Triple Chocolate Torte. Custom cakes and vegan options are also available by special order. An annual sponsor of the Cupcake Run/Walk for the Public Schools Foundation of Tippecanoe County, Gigi’s donated 1,248 cupcakes for race participants in 2019.
Thirteen years ago, Jerry and Janet Lecy were working in a Christian non-profit organization when they decided to buy the local Great Harvest franchise. Within two years, the bakery’s sales had doubled, and the business has continued growing since then. Great Harvest specializes in made-from-scratch breads using flour that is ground in-house with a stone mill. The bakery also offers cinnamon rolls, muffins, scones, cookies and bars, along with fresh granola and sandwiches. “Most of our breads are vegan, the basic bread having five basic ingredients — fresh-milled flour, water, yeast, honey and salt,” Jerry Lecy says. All six of the couple’s children have worked at Great Harvest over the years.
Started in 1961 by Mary Lou and Steward Graves, Mary Lou Donuts changed hands several times before being purchased in 2017 by Jeff Waldon, who has seen a growth in sales and is considering expansion. The bakery specializes in donuts, cream horns, apple fritters and cookies, and also serves danishes, brownies and cupcakes. The cream horns are vegan. Mary Lou produces several thousand dozen donuts weekly, providing all the donuts for Purdue’s Universiy’s dining halls and retail locations on campus. This fall, the bakery — and its Donut Truck, which regularly visits campus — will be featured on the Big Ten Network’s program “Campus Eats.”
After immigrating to the United States, Sergei Dhe and Natasha Vasili worked in the food service industry while crafting pastries and cakes on the side. In 2014, with their daughters’ encouragement, the couple launched their own business. They currently share a space with City Foods Co-op on Main Street in Lafayette. Scones and Doilies specializes in European-style baked goods using original recipes, including seasonal items such as decorated Easter cookies and Greek Easter bread. “Our goal is to share the same excitement and creativity we have for food with our community,” says Vasili. Signature items include scones, rugelach, biscotti, galettes and specialty cakes. Several gluten-free pastries are regularly available, and gluten-free cakes and vegan items can be made to order. The couple supports the International Center at Purdue University, participating in such events as 2019’s Summer Supper series.
If the name of this newish bakery sounds familiar to you, that’s on purpose: This artisanal bread shop pays homage to the old Smitty’s Foodliner, which served customers for five decades at the corner of Northwestern and Lindberg in West Lafayette before closing in 2005. As the story goes, when veteran Journal & Courier editor and reporter Dave Smith decided to turn his breadmaking hobby into a business, he received permission to use an updated version of the grocery’s logo. Ever the wordsmith, Smith gives his bread creations one-of-a-kind names like Amber Wave and Kalamata Olive Pain au Levain, and occasionally blogs on topics like friendship, travel and farmers markets. Along with breads, the shop offers a rotating selection of cinnamon rolls, croissants, Danishes and morning buns, noted on the daily schedule online. If you have your heart set on a particular goodie, however, the shop advises that you call ahead. Smittybread also serves up soups and sandwiches, including the B.E.S.T. (bacon, egg, spinach and tomato) and Farmers Market (ham, salami, provolone and veggies), all made on house-made bread.
Bacon-wrapped pastries, anyone? For the Stone House Restaurant and Bakery in Delphi, last year’s Indiana Bacon Festival was the perfect occasion for dispensing more than 800 crème-filled, maple-iced long johns covered in bacon — and that was despite the blistering hot weather. “We don’t let the heat stop us,” says owner Lisa Delaney, who opened the shop nearly 20 years ago after purchasing an existing bakery in town. On regular days, Stone House serves up more traditional offerings, such as cookies, pies and specialty brownies, many based on recipes from Delaney’s grandmother. Sugar- or dairy-free options are available with 24 hours notice. The bakery, which also offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, crafts all of its own sandwich buns, bread and rolls onsite, including its newest addition, dill pickle bread.
Passionate about baking since she was a child, culinary school graduate Sarah McGregor-Ray worked in the industry for more than a decade before joining forces with her brother, Jonathan, and her mom, Debbie, to launch a bakery of her own. After selling at local farmers markets and festivals, McGregor-Ray opened a brick-and-mortar bake shop in 2017 next door to the Knickerbocker Saloon. Sweet Revolution offers daily seasonal pastries, quiches and pies, baked fresh with all-natural ingredients. Gluten-free, keto and vegan options are available, including keto vanilla cheesecake, vegan and gluten-free apple cinnamon muffins and flourless chocolate torte. Customers can wash down their treats with cold brew coffee and chai tea, among other specialty drinks.
Randy Griffin and Chad McFally began their catering business by tailgating for Purdue football games, which eventually led to graduation parties and weddings and then to selling their goods at local farmers markets. When a commercial kitchen became necessary, “those two guys,” as their customers called them, began using the YWCA’s facilities. In late 2019, Griffin and McFally purchased the Klein Brot Haus Bakery in Brookston, where renovations are currently underway. Once reopened, the bakery will serve cinnamon rolls, cheesecakes, cookies, brownies and cakes along with pies and specialty breads made from original Klein Brot Haus recipes. Their specialty item is the Big Daddy, a peanut butter cookie stuffed with a brownie and a peanut butter cup and drizzled with chocolate. If you’re not so hungry, you can get the Little Mama, a smaller version of the same concoction.
By Angela K. Roberts.
More than a century and a half ago, when people rode their horses to town and brought baskets to hold their purchases, Greater Lafayette residents began gathering in downtown Lafayette to buy products such as cured meat and fresh fruit directly from farmers. Today, this historic downtown Lafayette Farmers Market, which has been in continuous operation since 1839, is one of our four seasonal retail marketplaces in Greater Lafayette. From bath salts to barbecue and from mushrooms to marigolds, local markets – just like the ones of the 19th century – offer farm-fresh and small-batch goodies along with the chance to meet the people who create them.
Fifth Street between Main & Columbia. Runs May through October, Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Organized by Greater Lafayette Commerce, the historic Lafayette Farmers Market is known primarily for its abundance of fresh produce, as well as flowers, plants, baked goods and to-go meals, along with specialty items such as wildflower honey, beer jelly, botanical bath salts, handcrafted jewelry, herbal medicinals and hand-sewn baby clothes. Bring your reusable bags and shop to the tunes of local artists playing folk, rock, country, blues and jazz. A vendor list can be found on the website, which also features a chart showing produce currently in season and a fruit-and-vegetables quiz for kids.
Memorial Mall on the Purdue University Campus. Opens July 2.
Organized by Purdue Campus Planning and Sustainability in conjunction with Greater Lafayette Commerce, the Purdue Farmers Market features around 25 vendors each week, including the Purdue Student Farm, operated by the College of Agriculture. Pick up local fresh produce, herbs, plants, fresh-cut flowers, meat and baked items as well as prepared foods, and pick a comfortable spot to have your lunch. Through the market’s passport program, you can collect stamps when you visit market vendors and return to the Campus Planning and Sustainability booth to spin a wheel for zero-waste prizes. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the market to sign up for a weekly newsletter.
Cumberland Park, 3001 N. Salisbury Street. Runs May through Octoboer, Wednesdays from 3:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Nestled among the ball courts of Cumberland Park, the dog-friendly West Lafayette Farmers Market is organized by the City of West Lafayette. It features around 50 vendors each week with fresh produce, baked goods, handmade items such as soap and jewelry, food trucks and wine from two local wineries. As you shop, sip and eat, listen to live music and visit information booths, where you can learn about community happenings.
Market Square Shopping Center, 2200 Elmwood Ave., A6, Lafayette. Runs November to April.
The new indoor market, which debuted in January and is sponsored by Carnahan Hall, Greater Lafayette Commerce and Market Square Shopping Center, brings together local shopping enthusiasts with merchants in chillier months. Some vendors are scheduled for the entire season, while others are only there on select days. Collectively, they offer faux leather earrings, barbecued meat, local honey and maple syrup, herbal medicinals, custom woodworking, natural skin care products, homemade dog treats, fresh bread, organic produce, art, jewelry, cosmetics, handmade baby items and vegan cheese.
BY ANGELA K. ROBERTS
PHOTOS BY ALEXANDER VERTIKOFF
Imagining the evergreen-adorned lot off Northwestern Avenue that John and Catherine Christian had chosen for their new home, Frank Lloyd Wright thought of the papery winged seeds that twirl and flutter to the ground like helicopters — but not the large, long ones that take flight from maple trees, or even their lesser-known sisters from the elm, ash or basswood.
Most people, John Christian later wrote to a group of inquisitive sixth graders at Benton Elementary School, “do not know that there are winged seeds in pine cones. Mr. Wright knew this and chose them to design my house.
“From the tiny winged seeds of pine cones, he made an artistic sketch as the logo for my house. He called his design SAMARA and used it for many designs both inside and outside.”
Even back in 1956 when SAMARA was completed, says Linda Eales, associate curator, the Christians understood the historical significance of their Wright-designed home, a Usonian style tailored to more moderate incomes. Thanks to the couple’s foresight and discipline, SAMARA – whose namesake stylized pattern repeats in elements from the living room rug to the perforated window boards — remains largely unchanged 64 years later.
Now a museum home supported by the family’s trust, the 2,220-square-foot structure stands as a testament to a uniquely American style by quite possibly the most famous architect that ever lived, and surely the most renowned builder who designed for the middle class. Secluded by a line of foliage across the road from Mackey Arena, and surrounded by Mid-century and Colonial neighbors in the Hills and Dales neighborhood, SAMARA is also a hidden treasure of Greater Lafayette.
Wright, who had a reputation for caring more about aesthetics than budget, devised the Usonian in the wake of the Great Depression. According to the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, the home style was named after “Usonia” (United States of North America), a term attributed to writer James Duff Law, who had written in 1903, “We of the United States, in justice to Canadians and Mexicans, have no right to use the title ‘Americans’ when referring to matters pertaining exclusively to ourselves.”
In his quest to build more affordably, Wright began experimenting with less labor-intensive practices that would still embody his vision of an ideal architecture unique to the U.S. Like his earlier Prairie style, Usonians had low-slung flat roofs, vast living rooms, built-in furniture, and abundant natural light, but on a more modest scale. Wright substituted carports for garages, created perforated window boards to replace pricey custom stained glass, and, to make the homes appear more expansive, incorporated a compress-and-release design in which a small room opens to a much larger space.
“He was an architect of light and an architect of space,” says Eales.
In Usonians, Wright often combined the living and dining areas as a cost-saving measure, but that was a non-starter for the Christians, who frequently invited friends to dinner and also envisioned using their home for salons, an 18th century Parisian throwback that brought together friends for intellectual discourse. The living room should accommodate up to 50 guests, the couple said.
Catherine “Kay” Christian was a social director at Purdue University, and her husband was a College of Pharmacy professor who traveled around the world to teach the safe handling of nuclear materials. “Mrs. Christian was very formal and wanted draperies and carpet,” Eales says. “They worked together over five years to design this house.”
Wright never actually visited the lot, but Kay Christian painstakingly set her expectations for the architect, putting together a 26-page document titled “What We Need for How We Live.” Based on a quiz book she had read on home planning, the booklet contained a table of contents, biographies on both Christians, a list of storage needs, and details on the wooded terrain.
“She included a topographical map and a panoramic photograph of the lot, that was taken by her as she snapped one picture, turn a bit, then take another, et cetera,” Eales says. “So, he had a good idea of what the lot was like.”
Although Wright was well known for his oversized personality, his relationship with the Christians appears to have been collegial. The architect agreed to give the couple plans for furnishings they couldn’t afford to complete right away. “He brought them to his way of thinking as well,” Eales says. “They did not get a garage or basement.”
Kay Christian also asked Wright for more vibrant colors than were typical of his designs, and he obliged by asking for help from his third wife, Olgivanna Lloyd Wright, a self-styled interior decorator. The signature colors of SAMARA became turquoise and Wright’s Cherokee Red, which complemented the home’s brick, crafted in Attica, Indiana, like many Purdue buildings. As is typical of Wright-built homes that repeat exterior elements inside, the brick was left exposed on several interior walls, and the mortar in the horizontal lines was trimmed back to emphasize the flat Midwestern landscape.
Some 20 years later, Mrs. Christian asked for a palette update from Mrs. Wright, who was tied up with other projects but assigned two apprentices to the project. Just as turquoise and red had reflected the design sentiments of the 1950s, the refresh was very much in keeping with the 1970s, with avocado green, goldenrod and burnt orange cushions adorning the 15-person banquette, swivel chairs and sofa in the vast living room. Those colors are still the palette today. A few vestiges of the original turquoise can be seen in the gate at the end of the home’s driveway and in linens in the guest bedroom.
Wright kept furniture costs down by crafting pieces from plywood covered in Philippine mahogany veneer, but the Christians still couldn’t afford all the custom pieces at once. As a compromise, he suggested that the couple purchase some of his mass-produced pieces that had not done well commercially; finally, in 1989, the Christians were able to build the originally planned dining room table and chairs. The custom living room rug was added later as well.
Wright also picked out china to complement the house, a formal Lenox Cretin and a less informal Fitz and Floyd Dragon Crest. John Christian later purchased Wright-designed china for his guests to admire, including Tiffany-produced china for the Imperial Hotel in Japan. Today, the dining room features a mélange of china and nesting dolls and other art collected by the couple when John Christian lectured in Russia, Thailand, Japan, Africa, South America and India.
In contrast to the oversized living room, Wright designed a modestly sized two-room kitchen, which still houses the original dishwasher and the 1948 stove the Christians bought when they first married. While bulkheads were a common feature in 1950s homes, the cabinets in SAMARA reach all the way to the ceiling for more storage. And for the couple who loved to entertain, Wright designed a rolling cart to match the cabinets that could be cranked up and down to service the homeowners in the kitchen and at the dining table.
The architect’s ingenuity is also present in the TV trays, comprised of a flat top and a separate folding base adorned with the home’s signature winged seed design; a hidden TV cabinet in the living room; and a built-in desk in the guest bedroom. Cantilevered to make room for the window curtains, the desk has drawers for clothes instead of shelves to hold office supplies that a weekend guest would not need.
In his never-ending quest to bring the outside in, Wright also designed the guest bedroom with a wall of brick and a French door secreted into an expanse of windows so that guests could walk outside without having to venture through more public areas of the house.
Along with the master bedroom, the home’s original nursery, built for the Christians’ daughter, Linda, is closed to the public. Once she sorts through the items being stored there, Eales says, those rooms may be opened as well.
In the meantime, guests can enjoy the home’s landscaping, also designed by Wright. Bordered by a double brick wall and a vegetative barrier, the garden boasts exterior walkways, terraces and courtyards through which guests can wind their way while enjoying the expansive foliage.
Just like the inside, SAMARA’s exterior is marked by a series of four-by-four elements as a unifying element. A hallmark of Usonian style, Eales says, was designing on a grid: “In our case he gave us a four-foot square-grid.”
Outside, the lights in the deck and the posts supporting the terrace are four feet apart. Inside, the perforated boards over the windows are four feet wide, and the curtains hang every four feet to match the width of the plate glass windows. The lights in the living room bookshelves are four feet apart. The cushions in the living room also are four feet wide, and the doors underneath for storage measure four feet as well. “It gives you a harmony that is subconscious,” Eales says.
In 1957, Eales says, Wright gave a talk in Indianapolis, and the Christians heard that he was coming. Kay Christian wrote him a note and said the home was 65 miles away, and wouldn’t he want to come visit?
“He wrote back saying, ‘I’m sorry but I’m just too busy now. But I don’t need to see your house. I know what it looks like,’” Eales says.
“He had walked through those rooms a million times in his mind. He said, ‘Never put anything down on paper until you have it all worked out in your mind.’”
BY CINDY GERLACH
PHOTOS PROVIDED BY TIPPECANOE ARTS FEDERATION
“Grow the arts”
It’s a simple motto — and one the Tippecanoe Arts Federation undertakes with the utmost gusto.
The Tippecanoe Arts Federation (TAF) serves as a regional arts partner, one of 11 in the state. As the center of a 14-county district, TAF is the umbrella organization and helps advocate for these 14 counties, many of which are rural, providing educational opportunities in visual, literary and performing arts, outreach programs for underserved communities and underserved youth, and funding for operational expenses for fellow arts organizations in the region.
TAF dates back to 1976, when it was determined broader support for the arts locally was needed, says Tetia Lee, TAF’s executive director. In its nascent period, TAF was actually just an arts calendar, a way to list everything that was happening in one place.
“It was a way to support other arts organizations,” Lee says.
As its mission and vision grew, the organization changed accordingly, supporting various types of programming. TAF found its home at the Wells Memorial Library, just north of downtown on North Street; at the time, the library was transitioning out of the building.
The current board has adopted the simple mission statement — “It’s something short and sweet that the board members can remember,” says Lee.
“We work within that mission,” she says. “We’re allowed to be creative, to think outside the box.”
“We can play to the resources in the community really well,” says Ann Fields Monical, TAF’s chief operating officer.
The Regional Arts Partnership is a network of 11 regions throughout the state. Under the purview of the Indiana Arts Commission, the regional partners work to enhance the delivery of arts services and to move the decision-making closer to the community and its arts consumers. Region 4, the largest geographically, serves a population of more than 525,000 and has served in this capacity since 1997.
And it’s a huge undertaking. With such a large geographic area, needs are widely variant, Lee says.
“Rural counties’ needs are so much different than organizations in Tippecanoe County,” she says.
The work focuses on engagement, education and sustainability. TAF helps groups assess their needs. But how those are addressed changes.
Because, says Lee, every community benefits from the vitality of the arts. Whether it’s arts education, public art displays or performances that draw in tourism, the arts are vital to the survival of a community.
TAF has more than 200 arts partners. These member organizations use TAF as their hub, as these are often small groups with no physical home — or the resources to have one — so TAF provides them with meeting space, a mailing address and help with marketing and publicity.
“The majority of our organizations are smaller, with budgets less than $25,000 who are looking to expand,” Lee says.
Member organizations range from large groups such as the Lafayette Symphony, Carnahan Hall or the Indiana Fiddlers’ Gathering, to much smaller, more obscure groups and many individuals. Even a group of fly fishermen.
“That doesn’t sound like the arts,” says Monical. “But they make these beautiful lures.
“That tells you how much stuff is going on. So many different groups.”
One of the ways TAF is looking to the future is by the remodeling and expansion of its physical space. The nearly century-old Wells Community Cultural Center had been showing signs of age. So TAF undertook a major restoration project — a project that was handled very deliberately and thoughtfully. The timing had to be right in terms of financing the project and finding public support. It was a process that took nearly a dozen years.
The result is a stunning interior renovation of the old library. The stacks were removed to reveal an entire back wall of windows, opening up the space, allowing for a much-needed smaller performance venue, as well as updated gallery space and staff offices.
The building’s footprint remains unchanged. But every inch of the building has been renovated, with the lower-level rooms being given the same treatment, with a full overhaul. Each of the four rooms has been redesigned with a distinct purpose — a dance studio, arts studio, recording studio, meeting room — yet each can be used for multiple purposes, to create, interact and learn. The smallest meeting room was given a wall of glass to make it feel less claustrophobic.
The state-of-the-art recording studio is a major coup. Funded by a grant issued to the Songwriters Association of Mid-North Indiana, the studio will serve as a teaching tool for both recording artists and engineers; it also will be a space for people to record projects, from interviews to podcasts to spoken word performances. It will open up opportunities for education and collaboration within the songwriting and recording community.
The final touch to the building was when the stolen outdoor lights were returned. The bronze lights, stolen last summer and sold for scrap, were reconstructed, Monical says. A mold was found to recreate a missing part, and the lights were completed and returned to their rightful home in front of the building, albeit with tighter security, in December.
Having more space is key to the future of TAF, Lee says. As the renovations progress — this was Phase I of a three-phase project — it will live in the space and evaluate how it works before progressing to the next steps.
“We hope to expand,” says Lee. “What that looks like is changing.”
Each year, TAF hosts its annual fundraiser, The Taste of Tippecanoe, which brings arts together with tastings from area restaurants. It shows off the best of the area, from food to visual art to performances of all kinds.
TAF is instrumental in getting art to the people in the communities it serves. Currently, it oversees a variety of programs, including:
As the umbrella organization, TAF has a broad mission and goals, as they help advocate for the benefit of public arts, for education. Every day, Lee says, they live that motto of “Grow the Arts” — in all the glorious ambiguity that wording allows.
BY CINDY GERLACH
PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV
As colder weather sets in for an extended stay, our tastes turn toward a different type of cuisine. Gone are longings for cold salads, fresh fruit and meat straight off the grill, replaced with the sights and smells of winter.
It’s comfort food time. Food that makes us feel special.
Anything that makes people feel warm and cozy can be considered comfort food, says Ambarish Lulay, executive chef of East End Grill.
“It’s a little bit indulgent, a little bit richer than what we normally eat on a day-to-day basis,” Lulay says. “It takes you to a happy place, makes you feel at home.
“Usually there is some sort of a strong memory associated with it, that mom or grandma used to make. Those food memories are very important.”
Throughout Lafayette, different restaurants create comfort food in a variety of ways.
Comfort food is all about how the individual chooses to define it, says Bistro 501 co-owner and executive chef Cheyenne Buckley.
“To me, comfort food is just the thing that no matter what you’re deciding on eating always sounds good,” she says, “For me, that would be my mom’s pot roast. It’s always in my mind.”
But for others, it will depend on where they grew up, or how they were fed growing up. Because comfort food is so ensconced with memory, with family and tradition.
As winter sets in, Buckley infuses a little taste of Thanksgiving traditions into several of Bistro’s entrées. It’s subtle enough that people may not notice it right away. But as those dishes are so familiar, sneaking in a cranberry gastrique and cornbread stuffing with the duck helps evoke those memories of holidays past.
“You take a bite and you’re transported,” she says.
A popular cold-weather item is the duck poutine. Buckley puts the Bistro’s own spin on it, adding thyme, goat cheese and cherries soaked in cognac.
“It’s rich and it satisfies and hits all the flavors,” she says.
The brunch menu has familiar items, such as biscuits and gravy, chicken and waffles. And the chicken pot pie — another popular comfort item — makes a return.
“Everybody waits impatiently for that to come back,” she says.
Everyone derives satisfaction from familiar flavors, from gravy, cheese and casseroles. This year, Bistro introduced cassoulet, a French casserole.
“It’s fun to explore different cultures,” Buckley says.
The dessert menu also offers some familiar flavors. Gone is key lime pie, replaced instead with bread pudding with caramel whiskey sauce, fruit cobbler and sticky toffee carrot cake — another perennial favorite.
The flavors may vary a bit, but the basic dishes will seem familiar enough.
“The comfort food we have resonates with us and my upbringing,” Buckley says. “We try to stay true to the Midwest. The regionality influences us for sure.”
When East End puts away the summer menu staples of tomatoes, grilling and crunchy salads, thoughts turn toward fall and winter, Lulay says.
“When I think of menus, I’m thinking of fall ingredients, fall flavors and fall methods,” he says.
For East End, this means slow braising of meats, fall greens, butternut squash, parsnips and Brussels sprouts.
Sauces get richer, and flavors are sweet and savory, using butter and capers, tarragon.
Lulay likes to braise shanks, long and low.
“You sneak in things that work toward that,” he says. “Aromas of thyme, garlic and rosemary.”
Pastas remain on the menu, but they have a bit of a heavier, creamier sauce. Macaroni and cheese is a favorite.
Desserts change with the season, as well, with fruit cobblers coming in to play. Flavors such as apple and cinnamon work well.
Sometimes, it’s just taking a menu item and tweaking it a bit to change for cooler weather. Don’t worry — the signature shrimp and grits are not going anywhere.
“That’s truly the power of comfort food,” Lulay says. “There are summer memories of mac and cheese. Even if it’s heavy, it still works.”
Comfort food, says Walt Foster, evokes memories of how your grandmother used to cook.
“It’s heavier, it’s usually potatoes, usually larger portions,” he says. “It’s feel-good.”
At Walt’s Pub and Grill and the Other Pub, it means country fried steaks, Manhattans, chicken and waffles.
It’s also about heavier soups and stews.
“We’re probably one of the few restaurants in town that makes homemade soups and chowders,” Foster says. Thus, for winter, that translates into cream-based soups, chowders — seafood and clam chowder — and cream of mushroom soup.
The Lafayette location is known for its signature white chili; in West Lafayette, it’s a red chili. Desserts change, too, with warm fruit desserts and bread pudding.
“We get excited about football season and fall,” Foster says, and the menu reflects that change.
There are fireplaces in both locations, and as the temperatures lower, sitting there, in the glow of the fireplace, “It’s warm and cozy,” he says. “That’s what we call comfort.”
Arni’s is a Lafayette institution. Arni Cohen opened the first restaurant at Market Square in 1965; it has since grown to several locations around the state. But for people who grew up in Lafayette or who attended Purdue University, a visit back to town means a chance to “Meet you at Arni’s.”
Thus, a visit to Arni’s is, in and of itself, a foray into comfort food.
“It’s a nostalgia thing, a family tradition from when they were younger,” says marketing director Liz Hahn.
The menu at Arni’s remains pretty consistent all year long. Items like pizza, salads, sandwiches and subs are always available and always popular with patrons.
And people who make a visit to Arni’s at Market Square almost always want to peek into the Toy Room. The room has remained virtually unchanged for years, even after renovations that have updated the restaurant, says Hahn. But guests like to pop their head in, check if the toys are in the same place they remember from their childhood. There is one particular clown that people always wonder about. No worries, says Hahn. It’s still there.
And for those who would like to send the special flavor of Arni’s pizza to someone who has moved away, fear not — Arni’s ships its pizzas all over the United States. Comfort mail delivered to the front door!
“The first part of comfort food is that it’s literally warming as well as figuratively,” says Matt Rose, a partner in Nine Irish Brothers.
And nothing is as emblematic of comfort food as pub fare. Guinness stew, shepherd’s pie and corned beef and cabbage — meat and potatoes are the heart of comfort food.
About three quarters of the Nine Irish Brothers menu doesn’t really change for winter, Rose says. But as fall comes around, they change things up a bit. They introduce a Manhattan — a beef sandwich with gravy — that clearly fits the mold.
“For a lot of people, it’s ‘Oh, my mom used to make this,’ ” Rose says.
Entrées that are heavier and more cream-based are more popular, items like fisherman’s pie, with fish, shrimp and mussels, with the requisite mashed potatoes and cheese.
And for the pièce de résistance? Irish coffee: a combination of coffee, whiskey, sugar and whipped cream.
“It’s got all the important food groups,” Rose says. “Nothing makes you feel better. “I think it’s the very definition of comfort food.”
BY KARIS PRESSLER
Just inside the Northend Community Center, to the right of the main entrance, is a bulletin board with a spray-painted title that reads “Community @ Work.” Guests and volunteers brush past the corkboard peppered with job announcements while heading toward meetings, the pool, the indoor PlaySpace, or any of the nonprofit organizations housed inside the building. The space around the board seems to inhale and exhale every time the automatic front doors swish open and front desk volunteers greet guests.
Several steps from the front desk Rod Hutton works in his office. As director of Northend, Hutton sees the comings and goings of almost everyone who passes through the community center.
“If you want to see a happening place, you need to visit the Senior Center,” says Hutton, while pointing to a set of doors just around the corner.
On this morning at the Tippecanoe Senior Center, more than 25 seniors play bid euchre, where cards feverishly flutter toward the center of tables, and the sound of knuckles knocking on wood echoes as players signal their wish to pass. While the groups play, several Meals on Wheels volunteers buzz about, preparing to serve the day’s lunch.
Meanwhile, tucked into a quiet corner, the Senior Center’s Art Expressions group creates. Here, Barbara German paints a landscape of a rowboat resting on calm water, while Kay Pickett puts the finishing touches on a painted replica of the quilt square that hangs from her family’s barn in Michigan.
There’s life and light, color and sound in this space, and throughout many community centers in Greater Lafayette.
This is a community at work.
“It’s one continual history,” explains Hutton, when considering the organic spread of Faith’s community centers throughout Greater Lafayette that started when Faith East opened in 2007, followed by Faith West in 2013, and the Northend Community Center in 2018.
Sharing a common connection through Faith Church, each Faith community center works to meet the unique needs of the surrounding neighborhoods. Faith East caters to the recreational and childcare needs of those living on the east side of town, while Faith West offers housing and programs for Purdue’s students, faculty and international community.
Northend, the largest community center in Faith’s network, nurtures partnerships with 13 area organizations that have dedicated space either inside or next to the community center.
Hutton explains that being able to collaborate with established organizations that serve the community well — such as Bauer Family Resources, Hanna Community Center and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Lafayette — is “a big piece of what makes the Northend tick,” because it allows everyone to connect.
At Northend, a dedicated team of volunteers known as The Care Team spends more than 50 hours a week addressing the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of community members.
“What they do is sit down and listen, hear the story, understand and build a relationship,” explains Hutton. He continues, “We need to be able to understand where people are coming from. The attitude of empathy and understanding is one of the best things we can do to actually help.” Although the Care Team may not be able to fix needs immediately, team members work to connect individuals to resources, including the organizations inside of Northend that are equipped to help.
Hutton shares that there are no current plans to build additional Faith community centers. “We want to grow what we have right now. … We will always continue to dream, but right now what we’ve been dreaming about is how can we grow and love the community with the facilities that God has blessed us with.”
River City Community Center, located on Old U.S. 231, is the newest community center to open in Greater Lafayette.
“The question that I’ve gotten from many community members is, ‘Can I use this space?’ And the answer is, ‘Absolutely!’” says Terry Gilbert, director of the community center.
“This center is about reaching out to the community, it’s about engaging in partnerships both with individuals, nonprofits and businesses. We hope that it will be like an intersection between those that are of faith, and the business and commerce world,” he explains.
The center is currently collaborating with Purdue’s School of Nursing in a service grant that aims to assess healthcare needs, and also works with Food Finders to host a bi-monthly River City Market Food Pantry. “We have the pleasure of serving 300 to 400 people out of this food pantry every month,” Gilbert says.
Whenever Gilbert needs a reminder of River City Community Center’s purpose, he recalls this story.
“This was maybe two years ago, it was summer,” he begins.
“I was here with a group of Purdue students; they’re connected through (River City Church’s) program called Chi Alpha. They were here doing some landscaping work for us, pulling up weeds and stuff like that.”
The building, a former grocery store that sat abandoned since 2005, had just been donated to River City Church, and Gilbert brought the students inside the cavernous space to share his vision for the future community center. Suddenly, a woman entered and exclaimed, “Who’s in charge of all this?”
Gilbert recalls introducing himself and gently asking the woman if there was anything he could help her with, as the 20 college students watched.
Then the woman began to cry.
She said, “I just want you to know that I’ve been living in this neighborhood for almost 20 years. And this place has been an absolute eyesore. And every time I look at it I was like, ‘This would be a great place for kids to come play.’… ‘I cannot thank God enough for you guys and what you’re doing in this community because this community really needs something like this.’” She then retrieved $1.26 from her pocket, handed it to Gilbert and said, “This is all I have right now. Can you use this?”
“That’s who we owe it to,” says Gilbert – the citizens of Lafayette’s south side who want to invest and see their corner of the city continue to develop and grow.
Walking into the Lafayette Family YMCA feels a little like walking into a town nestled within a town.
The sprawling 120,000-square-foot space located on South Creasy Lane hosts a steady stream of people en route to exercise classes, the gym, the pool, IU Health and Franciscan healthcare appointments, child care and more. More than 3,700 individuals enter the facility every day.
As Paul Cramer, president and CEO of Lafayette YMCA, gives a guided tour of the facility he opens a set of secure doors and enters Junior Achievement (JA) BizTown. Here, storefronts of familiar local businesses such as PEFCU, Caterpillar, and Kirby Risk line a miniaturized main street. Then, it suddenly becomes clear. This really is a town inside a town.
“You may want to move off the grass there, you could get a citation from the city,” jokes Cramer. He points to a painted patch of grass covering the cement floor and then motions toward the Lafayette City Government office several steps away. “There’s city council, there’s the mayors, there’s the CEOs, they’re here for the whole day,” he says of the 12,000 students who will visit this JA BizTown space throughout the school year to learn in this virtual setting.
Cramer’s energy crescendos as he explains. “So, they’re going to learn financial literacy in the preschool programs (at the YMCA), here they can learn it in the elementary, middle and high school. Then Ivy Tech takes them through the college level.”
This is the heartbeat of the YMCA – connecting people of all ages to positive programming whose long-reaching effects can spill over into successive generations. Cramer explains that the mindset at Greater Lafayette YMCA is “Infants to infinity … we want to be multigenerational in reaching and experiencing.”
After opening in December 2018, this facility has become a shining example for YMCAs across the country. “So, everything in this building was designed about partnerships and collaborations. That’s why this is a new model for the country,” explains Cramer, who says that planning for this facility began over a decade ago when leaders from Ivy Tech approached the organization hoping to form a partnership.
Building the new YMCA on a plot of land just steps from Ivy Tech’s Lafayette campus now gives Ivy Tech students everything from affordable childcare, access to the fitness center, and an invitation to join classmates in the gym when the school hosts athletic events with other Ivy Tech campuses.
In addition to working closely with Ivy Tech, the YMCA also partnered with Franciscan Health and IU Health to create space within the facility for healthcare services. More than 300 patients a day visit the facility to receive physical and occupational rehabilitation, then are encouraged to continue exercising at the YMCA once their rehabilitation goals are met.
Collaboration is key, according to Cramer. “Really I think what helped this move along so well was the wonderful relationship between the county and the city and how they work together in a collaborative way. And that’s what this is. Our theme here is, ‘We complete one another. We don’t compete with one another’… It’s really a community that works together.”
Greater Lafayette YWCA had a lot to celebrate as 2019 marked the 90th year of the organization’s presence in Lafayette, the 50th year of the YWCA Foundation, 40th year of the Domestic Violence Intervention and Prevention Program (DVIPP), and 25th year of the Women’s Cancer Program.
The organization started at a critical point in history when the first meeting was held at the Community House Association, now Duncan Hall, just months before the stock market crashed in 1929. “When the YWCA was started by this fearless group of women, this was in one of our country’s most dire times… this was a period of time when our country was in a chaos and people weren’t starting new organizations,” explains director Allison Beggs.
Through it all, the YWCA has remained a steadfast force in the local community by working to empower women and eliminate racism.
“While women are the (primary) market we serve, there are male victims of domestic violence and those who identify as transgender or other. We serve all of those populations. It really doesn’t matter where you live, who you love, what you believe; we serve everyone,” says Beggs.
The organization’s impact has extended well beyond Tippecanoe County. In 2018, the YWCA’s Women’s Cancer Program staffed by seven employees provided nearly 4,000 free breast and cervical cancer screening services to women in 41 Indiana counties. That same year, DVIPP assisted in filing nearly 450 domestic violence protective orders and provided more than 9,000 nights of safe shelter in the 30-bed facility located in the historic Rachel and Levi Oppenheimer house on Sixth Street.
Beggs praises her staff for serving with heart. “You can’t come to work every day in our domestic violence program and hear the stories, the horrible stories that these families have gone through. Or be with a family if they’re diagnosed with Stage IV cancer… our staff has to internalize that each and every day as they’re working through our client needs. It is tough work, and it takes a special kind of person to truly live out our mission.”
In addition to providing consistent comfort, shelter and support, the YWCA also provides opportunities for growth through its Culinary Incubator program, where food and catering businesses use the facility’s commercial kitchen to prep and cook. Beggs hopes that the Culinary Incubator along with a new Dress for Success program will evolve to empower domestic violence victims with training and employment opportunities.
“Ultimately… when you help one family be able to overcome an obstacle, you’ve just created another healthy family in our community that will hopefully go out and pay it forward,” Beggs says.
When considering how the YWCA fulfills its mission, Beggs praises the local agencies who work with the YWCA, such as Food Finders, Mental Health America, Willowstone, Bauer Community Center and The United Way, along with support from the local community. “In other places that I’ve been, while they were good communities, you just don’t see this kind of engagement and involvement from so many different areas of our community as you do in Lafayette…. We have a generous community.”
What spurs this generosity? In Beggs’ opinion it’s Hoosier heritage. “It’s hard working people who care about others and follow the Golden Rule, and I think they truly understand that they’ve been blessed, and they want to bless others. It’s just that simple.”
Below is a sampling of the events, programs and amenities offered within the community centers. For a complete list of services, as well as partnerships, please visit the following websites.
Faith East Community Center
Faith West Community Center
Northend Community Center
River City Community Center
Lafayette Family YMCA
Greater Lafayette YWCA
BY AMY LONG
PHOTOS PROVIDED BY VISIT LAFAYETTE – WEST LAFAYETTE
On a hot, dusty afternoon in late summer, Jason Behenna took a break from refinishing the floors of a 2,800- square-foot space tucked into a small strip mall next to the popular Lindo Mexico restaurant, at 405 Sagamore Parkway South in Lafayette, to talk about his new business.
On this particular day, the spartan space, with its construction clamor and drywall debris, was rather stark and uninviting. But it was also rife with possibility: a blank slate ready to be filled. The space has been vacant for the better part of a decade, but Jason and his wife, Heather Howard, envision a bustling brewpub where Behenna can brew his award-winning stout, among other beers, and a small kitchen will serve up vegetarian and vegan fare.
Behenna’s space could be a metaphor for the local craft brewing scene: at one time a rather lonely landscape, but recently coming into its own.
His brewpub, Escape Velocity Brewing Company, due to open in early 2020, will be the sixth craft brewery to open in Lafayette-West Lafayette, and the fourth since only 2017, following Brokerage Brewing Company in West Lafayette, Thieme & Wagner Brewing Company in downtown Lafayette, and Teays River Brewing & Public House, on Lafayette’s south side.
Bolstered by state legislation that has increasingly favored small breweries through the years, a swell of consumer support for locally owned and operated businesses, and the general public’s growing taste for a wide range of high-quality, full-flavored beers, the local boom mirrors a national trend.
According to the Brewers Association, a nonprofit trade group, the number of craft breweries in the U.S. (defined for association membership as small, independent operations producing less than six million barrels of beer annually) has nearly doubled in four years: 7,346 in 2018, up from 3,814 in 2014. (The legal definition is much narrower in Indiana, where the law caps small brewery production at 90,000 barrels per year.)
“You’ve just seen an explosion in the last 10 years of breweries opening up,” says Greg Emig, who opened Lafayette’s first brewpub, the Lafayette Brewing Company, more than two decades ago.
Without controlling corporate interest, independent brewers can experiment and innovate, using traditional ingredients to interpret historic styles of beer and adding nontraditional ingredients for originality and flair. Over time, “consumers became more interested and aware of the breadth and flavor of differing beer styles,” Emig explains.
“Chains are trending down,” observes Jeff Burnworth, who worked for Buffalo Wild Wings for 17 years before launching Teays River Brewing in 2018. “People want to see that their money is staying local and see people in their communities succeeding.”
But the recent surge of local microbreweries and brewpubs is not so much an explosion as a slow burn that sparked nearly 30 years ago.
After graduating from Purdue in 1986, Emig was an avid homebrewer through the early ’90s when he first conceived of the Lafayette Brewing Company as a craft brewery and restaurant – at a time when Indiana law prohibited beer production facilities to sell their product on-site.
Together with Jeff Mease, who would eventually open the Bloomington Brewing Company, Emig lobbied the state legislature for a bill that would grant retail permits to small breweries. The bill passed on the first go-round, Emig says. “People didn’t really know what the concept was, so there was no real opposition to it.”
On Sept. 17, 1993, LBC was granted Indiana’s first small-brewers retail permit. The brewpub opened that very day.
“That piece of legislation opened some doors,” says Emig, who notes that the microbrewery trend really flourished in Indiana through the 1990s, with about 20 brewpubs opening across the state.
“Our mission was really to educate people about the variety and quality of beer that was out there,” Emig says. While most of the country was drinking one or two styles of mass-produced American lager, “there were 50 styles of beer that people just had no idea about, and we wanted to introduce them.”
But, Emig says, the number of brewpubs actually slumped through the early 2000s, in part because the brewery trend took off before quality-control measures could catch up, leading to a market of not-so-great craft-brewed beer. Consumers lost interest, and brewpubs across Indiana, with a few notable exceptions, were forced to close.
“This shakeout left a solid core of breweries that understood the necessity of producing a quality product,” says Emig.
LBC was one of those core breweries. An anchor on Lafayette’s Main Street for more than 25 years now, the roomy interior includes a bar and an all-ages dining room with a full menu. Day to day, LBC offers up to 15 beers, all made in-house – from the easy-drinking Star City German-style lager to the Black Angus English-style stout with notes of chocolate and roasted coffee – and a range of specialty and seasonal beers.
But in part because of the “shakeout” that Emig describes, LBC was the only craft brewery in the Lafayette area for 15 years – from its start in 1993 until Chris Johnson opened People’s Brewery in 2009.
Johnson actually honed his craft under Emig’s direction. He started as a keg cleaner at the Lafayette Brewing Company and quickly worked his way up to LBC head brewer, a position he held for seven years.
“We noticed that there wasn’t much craft beer being produced that was being put out into the community,” says Johnson, who focused his business on brewing classic American ales and German lagers for distribution to area package stores and restaurants.
Within months of opening the brewery, Johnson also opened the People’s Tap Room in a small space at the front of his building, with seating for a handful of people – intended as a place where customers could try different beers and fill their growlers for carry-out.
By 2013, business was booming, and People’s underwent an expansion that doubled the facility’s space to 11,000 square feet and expanded the taproom, which now opens up to a patio, accommodates about 80 patrons inside and out, and hosts game nights, live music and local food trucks throughout the week.
Johnson notes that the latest craft brewery craze has taken off right under his nose. When he started working at the Lafayette Brewing Company in 2000, Indiana had only 12 microbreweries. Nine years later, when he launched People’s, it was the 27th brewery in the state. Today there are 170 microbreweries across Indiana.
After graduating from Purdue in 1998, Brian Russell spent about a dozen years on the West Coast, where he attended the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, then worked as a chef and pub consultant around Portland, Oregon. When he returned to his hometown of West Lafayette in 2011, he says, he looked around for a place to grab a beer on a Saturday night, but was surprised that there weren’t a ton of options outside of the college-town watering holes close to the university.
A few years later, Russell discovered a column by James Fallows in The Atlantic magazine, detailing “Eleven Signs a City Will Succeed.” The first 10 or so signs were no-brainers. Successful cities, Russell read, focus less on divisive national politics and more on community issues; invest in public-private partnerships; and are located near large research universities. But number 11 on the list was unexpected: “Successful cities have craft breweries.”
“A town that has craft breweries also has a certain kind of entrepreneur,” Fallows wrote, “and a critical mass of mainly young customers.”
It was a lightbulb moment for Russell. “We thought there’s space in the market for a craft brewery in the bar scene in West Lafayette,” says Russell, who partnered with his wife, Laura, and his sister and brother-in-law, Stacy and Dustin Grove, to open Brokerage Brewing Company on Sagamore Parkway in West Lafayette in late 2017.
“We now joke that we are West Lafayette’s oldest brewery,” Russell laughs. “It’s funny and true at the same time.”
With 40 seats inside, the Brokerage taproom is already so popular – and crowded – that a multi-phase expansion is in the works that will double the size of the brewery, and then add a kitchen and an all-ages dining room sometime this summer, if all goes as planned.
Within months of Brokerage’s debut, other craft breweries also have established themselves.
Brian and David Thieme opened the Thieme & Wagner taproom on Lafayette’s Main Street in early 2017. David began brewing bock beer from an old family recipe the following year. The father-son owners are descendants of Frederick A. Thieme, who, with John Wagner, established a brewery at the corner of Fourth and Union streets in Lafayette in 1863. At the turn of the century, Thieme & Wagner was one of the largest and most successful breweries in the state, but it was forced to cease beer production with Prohibition in 1918.
Today, the 50-seat Thieme & Wagner taproom sits above the basement space where David brews six different beers, from an American lager to Thieme’s signature bock. The taproom also offers selections from other local and regional microbreweries, as well as a full bar and a light menu.
In early 2018, Jon Hodge and Burnworth, who had both worked for Buffalo Wild Wings for years, opened Teays River Brewing & Public House on South Ninth Street in Lafayette. Besides a brewery and a taproom, the establishment also comprises a full bar with wine on tap, a broad outdoor patio and an all-ages restaurant with an open kitchen.
“We wanted to be creative and unique and do things that weren’t really happening in Lafayette,” Burnworth says. “Lafayette is still a small town but we wanted to bring some of the cosmopolitan ways of a bigger city, but still keep it in a small-town atmosphere.”
And then there’s Escape Velocity, which enters the scene this year. If a new craft brewery in Lafayette is no longer groundbreaking news, the fact that this establishment is, according to its website, the only all-vegetarian restaurant in Lafayette and Indiana’s only all-vegetarian brewpub makes it pretty special.
Not one of the local brewery owners feels that the market is crowded. They don’t see the new businesses as competition. Rather, they welcome newcomers and embrace a kind of fellowship. And they say they have more than enough customers to go around.
“There’s still a great opportunity for more brewers in this city,” says Behenna, of Escape Velocity. “It’s nowhere near saturated for a city this size. It’s kind of like the Starbuck’s model. When are there too many Starbucks? When one of them opens and it’s not busy. It can be the same with brewers.”
Behenna also points out that each local brewery has its own neighborhood that it serves, and its own niche that it fills.
LBC offers family dining and a huge upstairs event space, and Teays takes pride in its innovative lunch and dinner menus.
Thieme & Wagner pays homage to old Lafayette with a historical brew, while Brokerage, at barely two years old, celebrates its standing as the most established westside brewery. Escape Velocity fills a void east of Sagamore Parkway as it embraces a space-age theme.
You can run into any package or liquor store from the north side of Chicago to the south side of Indianapolis and bring home a six-pack of People’s to stash in your fridge, or you can head to any one of the taprooms and meet the brewer face to face.
What ties these places together is a devotion to the community and a drive to be part of something bigger than what each individual brewery can be on its own.
The local brewers all seem to know each other, and they know what everyone else is working on – not because they compete, but because they collaborate. “There’s a camaraderie between small breweries that you don’t see in a lot of other industries,” LBC’s Emig says.
All of the local brewpubs and taprooms offer friendly gathering spaces where everyone is welcome. If they have space, they also feature live music and monthly game nights. Brokerage even puts on a Sunday evening “Beer and Hymns” casual worship event.
And while these happenings, of course, are intended for fun and fellowship – the business model for any bar or restaurant – they also are opportunities to educate customers about craft beer.
The local brewers understand that they are brand ambassadors. If one brewer can get one person interested in craft beers, then more brewers can get more people on board. “The more brewers the better,” Emig says. “The more awareness of what we do, the better it is for everybody.”
Over the summer, for example, Johnson, at People’s, teamed up with the Lafayette Aviators baseball team to present Thirsty Thursdays at Loeb Stadium. At People’s Patio along the first baseline, fans could buy beers not just from People’s Brewery, but from other local and regional breweries, as well, including LBC, Brokerage and Teays River.
“The craft industry is a little bit different when it comes to competition,” Johnson says. “It’s a friendly business.”
“Rising water raises all ships,” Behenna says. “We’re becoming a brewery destination for people to drive to Lafayette to try all the breweries. The more of us there are, the more of a community there is, and the more of a destination we can be.”
BY CINDY GERLACH
PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE PETKOV
Upper Main Street in downtown Lafayette wasn’t always known as the hippest part of the block. But things change. And much of the credit must go to the neighborhood’s swankiest eatery, East End Grill.
Located on the north side of Main Street, between 11th and 12th streets, East End occupies a building that was formerly a coffee shop and, prior to that, a health clinic. But you’d never know it — the building has been transformed, and its previous owners would likely not even recognize it. With its exposed ductwork, open ceiling, wood and metal accents, the interior is urban and chic, evocative of an urban loft.
It’s a transformation that was all intentional, says owner Scott Trzaskus. He did a lot of research, looking into the needs and desires of the community.
“We really wanted to bring a more urban environment,” he says. “And hopefully add something to this end of the street. We have some really well-traveled people.”
Trzaskus moved to the area in the late ’80s to attend Purdue University, planning to study civil engineering. “I wanted to build bridges,” he says. But somewhere along the way, he lost interest in construction, while, at the same time, he became fascinated with his work in dining and hospitality as he worked part-time in local restaurants. This, he decided, was where his passion lay. So, armed with a degree in hospitality and tourism management from Purdue, he set off to make his way in the world, working in high-end establishments in Houston, San Francisco, New York and Chicago, and learning everything he could.
He ended up back in the Lafayette area when he and his wife, fellow Purdue alum Erin, decided this was where they wanted to raise their family. And Trzaskus noticed immediately the possibility of opening a new eatery in downtown Lafayette — the business community would embrace it, he felt, as would Purdue.
“I always wanted to do something. I never thought it would be here, but it turns out it was,” he says.
Teaming up with partners Bearing Point Developers — John Nagy, Pat Jarboe and Tim Balensiefer — they chose this spot on Upper Main Street, knowing it had potential.
“We’re really happy to be on this part of the block,” he says
Trzaskus wanted to create a space that was open to all sorts of possibilities — he didn’t want to limit the restaurant to either high-end dining or to sandwiches and beer. Instead, he focused on creating a space that is open to multiple uses — whether it’s just dropping in for drinks and snacks, a special event or burgers with the family.
“It’s got some serious flexibility,” he says. “Whether it be a cheese reception, a wine reception or a business function, we want it to be what the guests want.”
And the space has been designed and configured to allow for this flexibility. The main dining area has standard tables that can be moved around to fit any size party, yet you’ll note they are not terribly close together, allowing for more private conversation space. The bar area has the same sorts of tables but also has a traditional bar area along with high-top tables. An area in the back can be closed off to allow for private space — perfect for either a family reunion or an off-site business gathering, complete with audio-visual hookups and a television that doubles as a screen.
“We didn’t want to do anything that would feel dated in two years,” he says.
The menu is designed around local, fresh ingredients. It’s seasonal; the focus is on what is fresh and full of flavor.
“We really focus on foods when they’re available,” he says, “Everything here is from scratch. Everything is produced in house.”
And proof of this commitment to fresh ingredients? The restaurant has only a refrigerator — no freezer.
“It’s really important for us to eat seasonal foods when they’re at the height of the season and then wait for them to come back next year,” says executive chef Ambarish Lulay. “Why push it? I know I’m going to get good quality when it’s in season.”
Not only are items only served seasonally, but they are procured as locally as possible, from local farms. All steaks are cut in house.
The same commitment applies to the bar menu, as bartender Thomas Gregg has created all signature cocktails.
In the coming months, East End will be expanding this same ideology across the street. Trzaskus and his investors have purchased a space across the street, where construction has begun on a new venture, a multi-use facility. Upstairs will house an event space and outdoor patio; downstairs will feature a casual eatery with counter service — yet the cuisine will be higher end, echoing the sort of menu items that can be found across the street at East End.
“What we’re trying to do is fill all the holes that East End didn’t,” Trzaskus says. “Counter service is the direction people want. We want to make it really easy to grab high-quality food.”
Trzaskus has worked very hard to create an open, welcoming environment. He is a hands-on owner, in the restaurant, paying attention to feedback from his customers.
“One of the things we try to do is listen,” he says. “And I don’t say that lightly.”
Case in point: When the restaurant opened, the noise level was much higher than anticipated. With the open ceiling and exposed ductwork, the acoustics were dreadful — people sitting across from one another could barely engage in conversation.
The acoustics may have been dreadful, but Trzaskus did hear the complaints. Acoustic padding was added to the ceiling, helping the sound.
“You could literally feel the difference,” he says.
The same can be said of the menu: They listen to customer input.
“When it comes to our specials, we play with them,” says Lulay. “And people tell us one way or another. We do our best to listen to what people are saying and respond accordingly.”
As Trzaskus sees his restaurant fill up night after night, watches as he expands across the street, he feels pretty satisfied about what he’s done.
“We want people to feel very comfortable,” he says. “People need to know the story about what we do and why we do it.
“We don’t do anything that’s terribly fancy, but we use high-quality ingredients. We don’t want to be pretentious, but we want to be highly informed.”
Clearly, it’s a recipe for success. Fresh vegetables and sides. Clean cooking. The kitchen is always open — that’s a key part of the integrity that he wants to foster.
“It’s not that hard to do,” Trzaskus says. “It just takes some effort.”
This simple commitment to quality, to service, has proven to work well for his clientele.
“The fun part is when people come in and say you’ve hit both sides, the food and the service,” Trzaskus says.
“I’m really happy here. Hopefully, this place will still feel in time in 10 years.”