A chef “out of necessity” returns home to lead award-winning restaurant

A chef “out of necessity” returns home to lead award-winning restaurant

Chef Logan Hostettler grew up in Nashville, Tenn., but was born in Clark County, Indiana, in the small town of New Washington, and until he was 6 lived across the street from the church that he and his family would one day renovate as 1894 Lodge & Catering Hall. When his family moved back to New Washington, his father, Greg, and local business partners purchased the former church and created a wedding and event venue and restaurant. The younger Hostettler returned to his hometown to become the chef and turn the restaurant into an award-winning establishment. 

As a family affair, his mother and brother manage the event side, and he and his father, along with business partners, operate the Lodge. Opened in 2015, the restaurant was recently featured in the Netflix documentary “Wrestlers,” putting the eatery on the map. 

What made you want to become a chef? 
It was out of necessity. We bought the building and transformed it into a restaurant. It wasn’t doing too hot at first, so you do what you must to make things work. 

What is your favorite type of food and why?
I like everything. I always try to eat foods and put my spin on them to elevate the taste. I like Asian ingredients and have been studying more about creating dishes that hit all the flavors.  

Where do you get your inspiration? 
I truly get inspiration from local chefs who do it correctly. Corydon’s chef Scott Dickinson from 1816 Modern Kitchen has helped me greatly. I love his flavor profiles and his making his dishes look like art. Other chefs who have helped me hugely are Louisville’s Fat Lamb owner and chef Dallas McGarity and the chef de cuisine Brad Menear. 

If you could eat anywhere in the world, where would that be, and what would you eat? Louisville’s Volare. The appetizer of rotollini di melanzane and braised short rib are the best thing I have ever eaten. Chef Josh Moore and Jonathan Tarullo, their general manager, do it right. They have been tremendous in helping me grow as a chef and restaurateur. 

What items are always in your fridge? Sriracha, Gatorade, beer and cold pizza. 

If you could choose a favorite place in Indiana to visit, where would that be and what would you eat? The Red Yeti [in Jeffersonville]. Chef Michael Bowe does everything well and makes creative dishes. I love his flavor profiles and his use of local products as much as possible! He is a fantastic chef.

Discover history, barbecue, candy and more in Jeffersonville

Discover history, barbecue, candy and more in Jeffersonville

Considered part of the Louisville metropolitan area, the Kentuckiana city of Jeffersonville, Ind., celebrates Southern cuisine and its history as a stop on the Underground Railroad. According to food historian Robert Moss, author of “Barbeque: The History of an American Institution,” in 19th century, the area, along with Cincinnati, became known as “Porkopolis,” due to the industrialization of pig slaughterhouses, meat packing and refrigeration. In an article on Serious Eats, he states that while no region can claim to have invented barbecue ribs, the mass production of one of America’s most iconic foods certainly began along Southern Indiana’s history-laden shores. 

With that information in mind, today’s eaters tasting through the area can sample finger-licking bones at the award-winning family-owned Big Ben’s D&M Restaurant at the Depot. Earlier this year, the Jeffersonville Main Street organization honored the establishment for “best barbecue” a record-setting 15 times at the annual “Taste of Jeffersonville.” 

Centered in the Jeffersonville Quartermaster Depot, Big Ben’s D&M is housed in a red brick building, a former segregated bathhouse. It’s also part of the Indiana African American Heritage Trail Project. Big Ben’s is owned by resident Gary Leavell and his family, who make everything in-house, down to the secret sauce. 

To wash down all that barbecue, a burgeoning craft beer and brewery scene has taken hold, offering Hoosier hospitality for hops enthusiasts to sample unique brews. 

But a trip exploring Jeffersonville’s food scene isn’t complete without stopping at Schimpff’s Confectionary. Featured on The Food Network and The History Channel, the historic candy-making facility and soda shop has been crafting sweet treats since 1891. It’s a slice of Midwestern nostalgia with a museum-like quality. The business, known for the hard traditional cinnamon flavor goodies, expanded in 2001 during the 110th anniversary to include a candy-making demonstration area and an actual museum housing candy-making memorabilia, making it one of the largest in the United States. 

Jeffersonville provides a tasty chronicle of the region, showcasing an evolving food scene. With its rich local flavors, the city continues to entice dining enthusiasts and remains a welcoming and delicious destination.

Talking wine and food with Anderson vintner Treva Bostic

Talking wine and food with Anderson vintner Treva Bostic

When psychologist Treva Bostic opened Cultured Urban Winery in her hometown of Anderson, Ind., as the first Black-owned farmhouse winery in the Hoosier state, she fulfilled a lifelong ambition. An avid traveler and oenophile, Bostic, who is the director of race, equity and inclusion for Anderson Community Schools, enjoyed visiting the world’s great wine-growing regions. But when she visited France, she felt she could also make her own. In 2008, Bostic began training and today she is an award-winning vintner, and Cultured Urban Winery is among the 1 percent of U.S. wineries that are Black owned.

What made you want to become a vintner?
I used to be a wine investor and enthusiast and had a love of wine. I’ve also traveled extensively to every continent except Antarctica and visited small vineyards along the way. These vintners could make, sell and enjoy wine, giving me the ambition to say I can do this. Wine is like school for me; I am always learning something and growing constantly.

What is your favorite varietal?
I like those big cabs, but I must say a pinot noir. I enjoy the ones from Oregon.

Any favorite food and wine pairings?
I love champagne with oysters. I know many people don’t like oysters, but that brininess with the bubbles produces a tasty moment.

Do you enjoy cooking for yourself and your family? Any favorite dishes?
I like to cook many things, but I make cold shrimp pasta that my family enjoys. It has peppers and cheese. All you need is a glass of wine.

What items are always in your fridge?
You’ll always find various olives, a couple of different cheeses and apples. I like to make a charcuterie board in the evening.

If you could dine anywhere in the world, where would that be and why?
That would be Champagne, France. I love that area with all the sparklings and all the desserts from the local markets.

If you could choose a favorite place in Indiana to visit, where would that be and what would you drink?
It would be Anderson. (Hoosiers) make some great traminettes in Indiana. I have yet to tackle making one, but Huber Winery makes a nice, clean and refreshing version. It is a hidden jewel.

Coffee and Tex-Mex with a side of history: exploring Brazil, Ind.

Coffee and Tex-Mex with a side of history: exploring Brazil, Ind.

Historic Brazil, Ind., nestled in the heart of Clay County, offers a blend of small-town charm and delicious food. With an embracing warmth, the Indiana hamlet with a population of about 8,000 offers a range of dining options, from Mexican to wings to delicious coffee. There is something delicious to please every palate. 

According to the city’s website, Massachusetts native William Stewart settled the area in 1838 by building the first house. He named it after the South American country since Brazil had made newspaper headlines due to the region’s political upheaval – plus it was short and memorable. One of only a handful of U.S. towns named after the Portuguese-speaking country, Indiana’s Brazil became a crossroads for thousands of settlers headed west.  

For anyone heading through the area these days, Brazil provides many independent dining options, including the Brazil Coffee Grounds and Bits-N-Bites, both along National Avenue, the major arterial route that connects into Terre Haute. Both locations offer the opportunity to sip tasty lattes and cappuccinos and eat locally baked goods. Brazil Coffee Grounds prepares 49 different flavored and sugar-free brews, and Bits-N-Bites provides breakfast, lunch and java in a beguiling and comfortable atmosphere. 

Once your recycled cups brim with Brazil-brewed java, take a five-minute drive to State Road 59 and visit the impressive Chafariz Dos Contos Fountain. A diplomatic gift from the country of Brazil, the granite water feature, sculpted by Brazilian artist Tito Bernucci, replicates the original found in Ouro Preto. Weighing 62 tons and shipped across 5,000 miles in 105 pieces, the impressive bubbler stands 26 feet tall and about 40 feet long. Erected in 1950, it fell into disrepair, but in 2016, Indiana Landmarks and Clay County Parks funded a renovation to restart the gurgling. 

For those with a taste of Tex-Mex, dive into Mario Bros Mexican, a must-visit when passing through. The south-of-the-border eatery, known for authentic dishes, offers an extensive menu featuring everything from sizzling fajitas to savory enchiladas – and delicious margaritas. If you’re in the mood for classic food and locally crafted libations with a heady lineup of up-and-coming musicians, Timeout Bar might be the place to put on dancing shoes and work up an appetite. Known for mouthwatering wings with a secret sauce, customers can order a wing at a time for 89 cents each. 

Lastly, a stop at enchanting Honeysuckle Hill Bee-stro is a must. Open for lunch and dinner, the menu features locally sourced ingredients and changes weekly. If you have room for just one item, the dessert bites plate might be it. Featuring three half portions of homemade confections, you’ll be delighted for the rest of the day. 

Brazil presents an array of dining that cater to various tastes and preferences. That and the city’s rich history makes it a destination worth exploring, and its welcoming community will make anyone feel at home.

Local ingredients and global travel inspire Noblesville chef

Local ingredients and global travel inspire Noblesville chef

Chef Samir Mohammad, a native of Taos, N.M., who studied at Le Cordon Bleu in San Francisco and the well-regarded Culinary Institute of Arts in Napa, Calif., opened 9th Street Bistro in Noblesville, Ind., with his Hoosier wife, Rachel, at the height of the pandemic. While Rachel handles the intimate eatery’s dining room, chef Samir changes the menu monthly to showcase Indiana’s bounty. Already an award-winning chef on the West Coast, he made the semi-finalist list for Best Chef Great Lakes Region this year in the James Beard Foundation Awards. 

What made you want to become a chef? 
I love being able to transform ingredients into dishes that nourish the body and soul. I like how food brings people together and that I’m able to give guests a memorable experience. I love that a dish can transport you to another time, stirring favorite memories of people or places that you haven’t seen in a while. 

What is your favorite type of food and why?
I love Asian cuisine because of the diversity of ingredients and cooking styles across the continent. I have traveled to Singapore and Indonesia, where I learned how to make various curries as well as simple dishes such as Hiananese Chicken. I love pho, ramen, and haven’t met a dumpling I wouldn’t eat.

Where do you get your inspiration? 
I get my inspiration from locally grown, seasonal produce and am also inspired by interesting ingredients. I like to showcase the innate flavors rather than serve dishes that are complex with a multitude of elements on one plate. My wife and I love to travel – we try to take a trip to another country every year – and I get a lot of inspiration from the places we’ve been and the countries we have yet to visit. 

What is your favorite thing to make for yourself and your family? 
I love to utilize my smoker – put something on that can go low and slow so I can relax and enjoy company while cooking.

If you could eat anywhere in the world, where would that be and what would you eat?  
I would go to Singapore, to a hawker’s market, and I would eat everything.

If you could choose a favorite place in Indiana to visit, where would that be located and what would you eat? 
My mother-in-law’s property and my wife’s childhood home in Lafayette. We eat whatever I can make out of the ingredients on hand from her garden or in her fridge and pantry. 

What items are always in your fridge?
Always soda water, cans of Lambrusco and condiments. Often leftover Thai food. Not much else!