Hendricks County, Indiana: 8 Must-Try Restaurants

Food & Drink, Midwest Travel

Indiana’s Hendricks County is a collection of 11 charming small towns. While the destinations feature Midwest small-town charm, the flavors are big. Indiana’s Midwest roots make it an area rich in agriculture, so you’ll find local pork, corn, soybeans, and dairy products, to name a few.  Those make fresh ingredients for some of the area’s best foodie experiences. Here are my recommendations for eight must-try restaurant experiences in Hendricks County, Indiana.

My visit to Hendricks County Indiana was hosted by Visit Hendricks County.

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Experience One of Indiana’s Best Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches at Oasis Diner

The Indiana Foodways Alliance’s Tenderloin Lovers Trail features over 70 restaurants to try an authentic Hoosier pork tenderloin sandwich. Located in Plainfield, Oasis Diner’s tenderloin ranks in the Top 10, often considered one of the best restaurants in Hendricks County, Indiana. Since I was a tenderloin rookie, I couldn’t wait to experience my first.

A pork tenderloin sandwich from Oasis Diner, one of the best restaurants in Hendricks County
Pork Tenderloin Sandwich at Oasis Diner

Oasis Diner served their tenderloin fried, blackened, or grilled; a table of locals held their breath while I chose. Then, they nodded their heads in approval when I decided on fried. That’s the typical tenderloin, they assured me. The pork tenderloin, pounded thin and as big as the plate, came lightly breaded and deep-fried to a golden brown. They accompany it with lettuce, tomato, purple onion, dill pickle chips, and garlic mayo served on a toasted brioche bun. Today, I’m an experienced pork tenderloin enthusiast.

Tacos from Brew Link Brewing
Brew Link Brewing Tacos

Located in Plainfield, Brew Link Brewing offers 24 beers on draft at the Oak Tree golf course. The night I visited Brew Link Brewing, fun was in the air as Trivia Night was getting underway.

First, I’ll mention the beer. Like the atmosphere, many flavors were fun, like my oatmeal cookie beer and the Nuttercup, a chocolate peanut butter porter. Yum!

I particularly enjoy food at a brewery that uses their artisan beer as an ingredient. You’ll find several dishes like that at Brew Link Brewing. For example, try the pretzel sticks served with beer cheese and beer stone mustard. They also cover the loaded nachos with beer cheese to make them extra tasty. The mac and cheese used their beer cheese for added flavor.

An exterior view of Cabin Coffee Company in Hendricks County Indiana
Cabin Coffee Company

Enjoy a Cuppa Joe at the Cabin Coffee Company

As I walked through the door of Cabin Coffee Company in Avon, the aroma of roasting coffee beans hit hard. Even before I tasted the coffee, the caffeine woke me up. They offer a wide variety of single-origin coffees from Brazil to Tanzania, featuring light roasts to dark. Their expresso bar features lattes to cappuccinos. Tea and fruit smoothies will quench your thirst if you aren’t a coffee drinker.

Don’t just grab your coffee and go. Stay and enjoy the cabin décor with a western twist. A breakfast sandwich or a light lunch are good reasons to linger. Plaques reminded us to “Just be happy and have fun!” That was easy to do in this multi-sensory atmosphere.

Charbono's Wood-Fired Pizza Oven - one of the best restaurants in Hendricks County
Charbono’s Wood-Fired Pizza Oven

Share a Pizza at Charbonos, One of the Best Restaurants in Hendricks County, Indiana

First, Charbonos in Avon isn’t a pizzeria but an upscale venue with Tuscan countryside décor. Second, I watched the pizza maker hand stretch the dough while the wood-fired brick pizza oven stood at the ready in their exhibition-style pizza kitchen. The result was a thin, crispy New York-style crust, the perfect shared appetizer.

While the pasta is an excellent choice for an entrée, the tender New York strip steak marked on the grill with herbed butter melted on top created a tasty bite. Broccolini and garlic mashed potatoes were popular sides, but I had polenta fries, polenta cooked until firm, cut into long strips, and deep-fried for an exciting change of pace.

In every restaurant, there’s one item that haunts me. At Charbonos, it was the bread’s dipping sauce that called my name. Starting with olive oil and red wine vinegar; then they mixed in sun-dried tomatoes, jalapenos, and crushed red peppers. Dip in the warm house-made bread or even that extra pizza crust for a heavenly experience.

Interior of Mayberry Cafe
Mayberry Café

Re-live the 1950s at the Mayberry Café

Spotting the Mayberry Café in Danville wasn’t difficult, with Andy Griffith’s black-and-white sheriff’s car parked out front. But, as I walked through the door, if I didn’t know better, I’d think I had stepped back in time 65 years to Aunt Bee’s dining room.

Any seat has a view of a television with the Andy Griffith show on continuous play. That took me back to my childhood, remembering how I would sit on the floor with my brothers in front of a large console TV watching Opie’s adventures.

Chef-owner Brad Born loves to cook as much as he loves the Andy Griffith Show. So he turns out all-American scratch-made home-cooking using fresh local ingredients.

My starter was the fried biscuits tossed in cinnamon and sugar and served with apple butter. I could have made a meal of those; they were that good. But I didn’t stop there. Mayberry Café is famous for Aunt Bee’s fried chicken; it transported me to the 1950s.

Cider Bar at Beasley's Orchard
Cider Bar at Beasley’s Orchards

Taste the Best Award-winning Apple Cider at Beasley’s Orchard

As I saddled up to the cider bar at Beasley’s Orchard in Danville, I had a tough decision to make—apple cider or an apple cider slushy. It was a warm day, so before I explored all that the orchard had to offer, I chose the cider, and after my adventures, I cooled down with the slushy. Problem solved.

I ventured into the orchard and picked a variety of firm, crisp apples, then hopped on the hayride through the pumpkin patch. Then, I chose a square Blue Doll pumpkin that I had never seen before. It eventually made a tasty pumpkin pie when I returned home. On a quick stop to try the apple cannon on the way back, I hit my target 100 percent of the time.

At the farm market, housed in a 100-year-old barn, you’ll find a variety of local produce. I choose some apple butter from a wide selection of preserves. You might even want to take home a gallon of that award-winning cider to enjoy later.

BBQ Combo Plate from Rusted Silo Southern BBQ & Brewhouse one of the best restaurants in Hendricks County, Indiana
BBQ Combo Plate with Street Corn from Rusted Silo Southern BBQ & Brewhouse

Watch the Ferris Wheel of Meat at the Rusted Silo Southern BBQ & Brewhouse

In Lizton, at Rusted Silo Southern BBQ & Brewhouse, they cook the ‘que low and slow in full view on their Ferris Wheel of Meat, and it’s mesmerizing. The long-metal racks rotated chicken, ribs, brisket, and pork, riding the wheel for hours, smoking in hickory and cherry wood, becoming more tender by the hour. When it’s finally ready, it’s falling-off-the-bone tender. This process makes it one of the best restaurants in Hendricks County.

I had a choice of four house-made barbeque sauces—a Habanero Bourbon sauce, an Alabama white sauce, a Carolina mustard sauce, and a Kentucky Bourbon sauce. I enjoyed the slight sweetness behind the Kentucky Bourbon sauce.

Corn is a significant product of Indiana, and they serve it with a Mexican twist, turning it into street corn and one of my favorite sides. In addition, I noticed several other nods to Mexican cuisine using Habanero peppers and the house-made chorizo sausage.

My favorite dessert was the cold banana pudding. The contrast in temperatures gave the banana pudding a cooling finish to the warm meats and spice.

A choclate cake from Bread Basket Cafe & Bakery one of the best restaurants in Hendrick County Indiana
Chocolate Cake from Bread Basket Café

Revel in Fresh Baked Goods at the Bread Basket Café & Bakery

Transformation came to mind as I spotted a saying on the Bread Basket Cafe & Bakery wall. “Bread and water can so easily be toast and tea.” A historic bungalow in Danville, transformed into the café, signaled home cooking from the start. The difference here is they make their food with love. They want everyone coming through their door to feel that love. We felt it in the ham and cheese sandwich with an apricot mustard spread that had us fighting for the last half of that sandwich, which we all loved.

After lunch, I visited the bakery and chose the smaller-sized chocolate cake and apple pie to take with me as an afternoon snack. Again, options for smaller portions exist, so I could sample a couple, share with my family, and not feel guilty about the calories.

If you’re looking for more foodies experiences check out this article:

The Kansas City Taco Trail: 10 Must-Try Taquerias

If you’re looking for even more things to do in Indiana, Jamie Ward can help you out with her book “100 Things to Do in Indiana Before You Die.”

Book Cover for "100 Things to Do in Indiana Before You Die"

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Hendricks County, Indiana Restaurants
Amy Piper
Author: Amy Piper

While Piper is a lifelong Michigander, she’s had adventures worldwide. Bomb-sniffing dogs chased her in the middle of the night in Bogota (working late), gate agents refused her boarding to Paraguay (wrong visa), and US Marshals announced her seat number on a plane while looking for a murder suspect (she’d traded seats). It’s always an adventure! She even finds exciting activities in her home state of Michigan, where she lives in Lansing with her husband, Ross Dingman, her daughter, Alexis, and two granddaughters.


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  1. Kavita Favelle

    Food is a big part of travel for me so I am liking your list of 8 to enjoy in Hendricks County. Love the retro diner vibe at Oasis and the 1950s style of Mayberry Cafe.

  2. Kelly

    I have never been to indiana, but Hendrick’s county sounds right up my alley. I love exploring restaurants when I travel and all of these seem so quaint. i especially would love the cidar bar. The cidar slushie sounds pretty good! i didn’t know such a thing existed.

    • Piper

      I didn’t either until I tried it and it was my favorite, I think because it was something new to me.

  3. Sage Scott

    Oh, yum! OUt of all the delish dishes mentioned in this post, I think my #1 must-try item would be the fried biscuits tossed in cinnamon and sugar, and served with apple butter at the Mayberry Café

  4. Katie

    BBQ, apple cider, chocol cake?! Sounds like My kind of food!

  5. Lana

    You left out a personal favorite of mine..The Mason Inn in Pittsboro! The owner is always coming up with new tasty specials. The cook has worked there forever and some of the best dishes are his creation. They have everything from bar snacks and pizza to pastas and seafood. The angry pasta is so amazing but my fave would be the ahi tuna dish. If you ever find yourself stopped at the one and only light in Pittsboro, maybe swing by the little bar on the corner because I promise you won’t regret it!

    • Piper

      I am planning to be in the area again this summer. I will definitely check out these recommendations! Thank you!

  6. Kristin

    I’ve never heard of an apple cider slushy–sounds amazing!

    • Piper

      I’ve had them at a couple of orchards and they are so refreshing early in the season, when it is still hot.

  7. Heather

    I LOVE food posts and use them so much when planning trips. I think I would most want to visit Mayberry Café on this list purely for the nostalgia!

  8. Gabby Leopard

    I would love to try the BBQ Combo Plate at Southern BBQ & Brewhouse. Looks tasty!

  9. alexa meisler

    I have yet to make it to Indiana, but Hendricks County sounds lovely. I am a sucker for charming small towns and if they have amazing food, even better!


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Welcome to Follow the Piper! Discover interesting destinations, and practical planning tips for packing more travel into your everyday life.

Our founder and author, Amy Piper, is a freelance travel writer, blogger, photographer, and author specializing in traveling through a food lens and multi-generational travel. She is a native Michigander who travels through the lens of a food lover and has been to 41 countries and 45 states.


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