Winona Lake, Warsaw, Indiana

Warsaw and neighboring community Winona Lake are only a couple hours from Chicago, which is a town we loved. It’s a little in the middle of nowhere, and known mainly for the research and development and manufacture of orthopedics—companies like DePuy, Zimmer, and Biomet are headquartered here. That said, there’s also a beautiful lake, a local-centric economy, farm stands and markets, and a great community feeling. There’s even a large Mexican population, which raises the palatability of the cuisine considerably.

Cerulean Restaurant is a sushi and tapas place on Winona Lake with a quickly rotating beer selection—according to our hosts, the 6 taps were completely different two weeks ago. My pear cider was crisp and lively, similar to some Rieslings I’ve had, and my companions assured me their beers were great too—not that I would know from personal experience, since beer is packed with all kinds of gluten and I am not supposed to have that, moan, whine, moan again. In any case I had some great homemade beef jerky there as well as some incredible tapas.

The Bak Efe (just say Bay Café), also right on the lake, has great coffee and cookies which tasted like hot fudge went outside and laid in the sun. Also: blueberry scones, almond cream cheese Danish, and the best pizza this side of the Mississippi. Ok, one of the best pizzas this side of the Mississippi.

Get your ice cream next door at Kelainey’s, a very cute “shoppe” and perfect for an ice cream fix.

Eagle Creek Farm’s market has local, raw milk, local cheese, meat, and produce, and a very sweet proprietress. Stop by for an authentic, undoctored taste of rural Indiana.

On the other side of town, you cannot miss Los Gordos. Of the dozens of Mexican places in town, this was my favorite, a delicate mixture of old diner, corner tex-mex place, lounge, bar, and family restaurant.

The food is great though, with all the Mexican staples—cheesy enchiladas, cheesy burritos, cheesy fajitas, nachos with cheese, agua de horchata (or hibiscus or tamarind), Negra Modelo, more rice and beans than anyone could ever eat, ever, etc. El Gordo himself runs the place, and he’s gentleman. To be honest I don’t know if the place is named after him but whatever. This is my favorite place in town.

By: Ben Britz