We were headed to Michigan for a weekend of relaxation when my friend suggested we stop off at Fiddlehead Restaurant, a place he'd visited and wanted to go to again. I'm always up for new places, especially when they serve local food and local beer; that I can support every time.
Fiddlehead Restaurant "... will be a community-minded training hub for veterans, serving fresh and locally sourced food and drink..." That's a great description of this restaurant that sits in a community that should be thriving, being so close to Chicago, but is not. There are signs, however. A new craft brewery here, a more interesting restaurant there - things are changing for the better. The veteran training program at Fiddlehead — FERN or Fiddlehead Employment Response Network — is a growing network Fiddlehead has established with area businesses to promote individualized training, advancement and long-term employment for service men and women. What a great thing they are doing for those who have served.
While the building that Fiddlehead sits in is not the most attractive around, the patio area outside and the interior are attractively designed and comfortable places to sit while eating and drinking.
When they say local, they mean local; even their shrimp is from Indiana (yes, a shrimp farm in Indiana, who knew?). In fact, all their meat comes from producers in Indiana, as does some of their beer (I had a 3 Floyds Yum Yum Session Ale, for instance, which is probably brewed less than a half hour away).
We started with fried pierogies, which were light and tasty and will be ordered again next time. Mac 'n' Cheese for my son and it actually tasted like it was fresh-made and not of the box. I'm still waiting on the restaurant that feels like a veggie or two would be a good idea to put on kids' plates. Still waiting. My buddy's chicken salad sandwich was very good (his second time having it), while my burger (goat cheese, bacon, and fried onion topping) was fantastic.
It's a new restaurant and there are bound to be growing pains. I had to order 3 beers before I got to one that they actually had not run out of. My burger was supposed to have jalapeño jelly but didn't. However, the food was good, the beer was cold, service was spot on, and sitting in the sun on the patio felt great, so the minor mistakes were overlooked. Cut them some slack this first year, they'll get it.
Northern Indiana is slowly becoming a really good place to eat. Local food and beer are being served by restaurants such as this one, owned by someone from the community and serving that same community. This is worth a stop if you're in the area. Not too far from the beach, outlet mall, or casino (all big draws), stop in and have a sandwich (or more) and celebrate the folk who brought us this effort.
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