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Sidebars: 'The Local' features the best of Indiana home-grown foods

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SidebarsTime to bend the rules again. This place isn’t exactly near a courthouse, but it is kinda, sorta, on the way to many. It is located about five minutes from my Westfield home and a favorite of my darling wife, Amy, and me. While wonderfully convenient for me and my family, that is not the reason I chose to write about this place. I write about this place because the concept is great and so is the food.

The Local focuses on exactly what its name touts. A blurb from its website defines the concept best: We feature hand-crafted, freshly made artisan foods, locally crafted ales and cocktails, using all-natural and organic ingredients when available. That last bit might scare people like Jenny away, but it shouldn’t. This isn’t some earthy, granola-head place run by dim-witted 20-somethings who take full advantage of nature’s offerings, including select weed varieties. No, one look at the menu and one visit will tell you otherwise.

The appeal of this place is that it offers something to please every palate, from the most die-hard, red-blooded American meat-and-potato lovers to the crowd that might bear a bumper sticker on their VW bus at a Phish concert reading something like: “Save the Gay Whales for Jesus.” Oh yes, it is a very family-friendly place too.

A favorite starter of mine is the dry-rubbed wings. If you’re flying solo, the portion is easily large enough to serve as your entrée. The spicy wings burst alive with flavor because of the homemade rub and not because of some bottled hot sauce manufactured a thousand miles away. Other starters include french fries (go Cajun here), frog legs (yes, frog legs) and baked goat cheese, to name a few.

The salads range from the basic tossed green (don’t even think iceberg lettuce) to the Caesar salad but also include a grilled squash salad with bacon lardons and toasted pumpkin seeds all tossed in a maple vinaigrette dressing. Or, how does a steak salad sound, complete with mixed greens, romaine, grilled filet mignon, bleu cheese, grapes, house buttermilk dressing and, YES, boldly topped with french fries? There are other salad varieties, and you can add grilled chicken, seared salmon, a fried egg or filet mignon to any salad, but they had me at the salad with french fries on top.

Entrees include lamb osso buco, squid ink ravioli with squash and ricotta cheese filling and sautéed with calamari in sage brown butter, and the basic but tasty seared salmon and scallops. My kids love the bacon mac and cheese, but I see a lot of adults eating it too.

Come for a burger and you have a chance to try something you’ve never tried before. You can have a lamb burger, or how about an elk burger with blue cheese and roasted garlic? They serve bison burgers crusted in black pepper and doused with horseradish cream sauce. Yes, they serve beef burgers too and veggie burgers and turkey burgers, all nicely portioned.

The craft beer selection is respectable, including Sun King, Mad Anthony and Upland brands. Breckenridge is available too, a pleasant surprise but not exactly “local.” Of course, if you’d rather have a tall-boy PBR, you can have that too.

The Local strives to support Indiana suppliers by offering the best they have to offer. Some of these include Heartland Indiana Beef Coop, Viking Lamb, Fair Oaks Farms, Miller Amish Country Poultry, Capriole Goat Cheese and Gelato Da Vinci to name a few. Complete the loop by offering your support. I have, repeatedly. The Local Eatery and Pub, 14655 North Gray Road, Westfield, IN. www.localeateryandpub.com.

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Fred Vaiana and Jennifer Lukemeyer practice at Voyles Zahn & Paul in Indianapolis, focusing in criminal defense. Both enjoy a good meal with colleagues and friends, and their Sidebars column reviews and rates eateries lawyers may enjoy visiting when working at courthouses throughout Indiana. The opinions expressed in this column are those of the authors.
 

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