Story Inn

Indiana Trout with Chorizo Avocado Salad and Saffron Risotto 

I did some traveling this past week in central Indiana and following a few days in Indianapolis, I made my way to Brown County. As I usually do, I scoped out places to eat before my departure and lined up some reservations. When I'm on the road, the food stops are as important to me as the attractions and other parts of the destination, so I plan ahead. 


One place I had heard about in the past that I was interested in visiting was Story, Indiana. The town has an inn and a restaurant and a tavern. And well, that's the town. I perused their website, storyinn.com, and I was intrigued. The day I was looking to visit happened to be the restaurant's first Wednesday night open for the season, so I was excited to be able to have dinner there.



Locals kept telling me to be careful driving and that the location was way out in the county and that the route was very curvy. They were right on all accounts. It's off the beaten path for sure and as soon as I turned south on Route 135, I knew what they were talking about. The road had lots of twists and turns and I only encountered one other vehicle as I made my way there. When I pulled into town it felt like a ghost town. No people. No cars. Just a lonely dog sauntering along in front of the inn. I'm sure there's a lot more activity later in the season, but being a cold day mid-week day in mid-March, it was very quiet. And I loved that.



I wandered around for a couple minutes taking pictures and was soon greeted by Rick Hofstetter, a lawyer who purchased the whole town in 1999. The town has a fascinating history and I'll get more into that part in an upcoming post on my travel blog, Midwest Family Traveler. But this post is about the restaurant and the food. I chatted with Hofstetter and was soon joined by Kate Ebel. 
Kate Ebel at the front counter of Story Inn's restaurant, which was
formerly a general store.

I asked what the population of the town of Story, Indiana is and was floored when Hofstetter responded with "3 humans and 4 dogs." 

"And one cat," Ebel added. She and her husband, Jacob, are co-owners with Hofstetter of the inn, restaurant, tavern, wedding venue and town of Story. And they are the only three residents. The town has about a dozen structures and most have been converted into cabins to offer lodging in addition to the four rooms in the inn that sit on the second floor above the restaurant. 

Since it was early in the season and they had no reservations for that evening, rather than opening the restaurant just for one, I enjoyed dinner in the downstairs Story Still Tavern. The building is a former general store that was rebuilt in 1915 when the previous one was destroyed by fire. The downstairs tavern space was busted during prohibition for distilling spirits at a time that it was illegal to do so.


Sometimes a little bitty eatery in a rural area can be questionable, but I knew from viewing the menu online that this wouldn't be the case. The menu is trendy and local and fresh by a creative chef who has the freedom to prepare some wonderfully creative dishes with mostly local ingredients. The beverage list is large and impressive with beers, wines and spirits all from Indiana artisan brewers, vintners and distillers. Jacob and Kate are both chefs themselves who have worked all over the country and met in Alaska.

The dinner menu changes weekly with beef, pork, chicken and fish sourced from as close as possible. I started with a charcuterie platter. Meats are sourced from one of the top-rated butchers in the country, located in Indianapolis, and crackers are house-made. As the season progresses, locally made cheeses appear. 

The entrees on the evening I was there included Fischer Farms Beef du jour with parsley marrow butter, pommes puree; Viking Farms rack of lamb with arugula tzatziki, roasted yellow beets, grilled grapes, frisbee; smoked pork chop with trinity chow chow, sorghum mustard and cheddar grits; and butternut squash ravioli with smoked pecan praline, rosemary cream and grilled pineapple chutney. I selected Indiana trout with a chorizo avocado salad and saffron risotto. The chorizo has just a perfect bit of spice that was well balanced with the buttery avocado and sprinkled with microgreens. The saffron risotto was amazing and Kate told me it is the most requested side from brides when selecting wedding menus. 



If you find yourself in the Indianapolis area, the Story Inn is definitely worthy of a side trip to enjoy a meal. Be sure to make reservations. Or plan to make it an overnight or weekend trip and stay in a room in the inn or in one of the cabins, some of which date back to the 1850s. Story is about a 20-minute drive from Nashville, Indiana, which has a cute downtown that is loaded with specialty shops, tasting rooms and historic buildings. Also, FYI...the 16th Annual Indiana Wine Fair will take place in Story on May 12 with around 30 wineries participating.


Story Inn
6404 South State Road 135 
Story, Indiana
(812) 988-2273
storyinn.com

***I did receive a complimentary meal for purpose of a review. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

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