Real Food, Real Indiana

Welcome to the Indiana Foodways, a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to the celebration, promotion and preservation of the authentic food culture of Indiana. We are a membership organization of inquisitive eaters, good cooks, culinary historians, chefs, food journalists, restaurateurs, culinary tourists, artisans and manufacturers.

Our membership encompasses a field to table spectrum from agriculture to fine dining, with emphasis on all the specialty foods, farm markets, diners and hands-on restaurants in between that are so dear to the hearts of Midwesterners who love real food.

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Tales from the Trails Blog

  • Oasis Diner - Serving Great Food With A Side Of History

    Posted on Wednesday, May 25, 2016

    Alt TextOur love affair with nostalgia. Bringing hearts and minds back to the golden days of hot rod cars, sipping Root beer and eating burgers during simpler times. The Oasis Diner reflects that history with the exterior and interior completely renovated and restored to its original state. Since this renovation, Oasis Diner has been named a hot spot in the Indianapolis Area for their famous Indiana Breaded Tenderloin, hand crafted sodas, and on-site bakery. The Oasis Diner is located on the Historic National Road US Highway 40 and one of the only diners left on the National Hwy.

    Packed with history the 1950s original dining room was transported through Plainfield, Indiana. (Watch the transporting of Oasis Diner here) A brief history about Oasis Diner  The original owner donated the restaurant to Historic Landmarks of Indiana in 2013. Owners, Doug Huff and Don Rector brought the 1954 Mountain View Diner back to its original state by restoring the front dining area and adding on to the back of the restaurant for additional seating. Simplistic wall hangings of era related furnishings such as an old waitress uniform and retired license plates decorate the back addition of the restaurant. Picking a seat at the original counter service area is always the best choice to enthrall yourself in the whole experience.

    All burgers made at Oasis Diner are made with a delicious blend of 8oz. of chuck, sirloin and brisket. However, the Oasis Burger is dually noteworthy because its topped with pulled pork, barbecue sauce, bacon, coleslaw, pickles, cheddar cheese, and garlic mayo on a toasted bun. The burger is huge and napkins are in order!

    Let's don't forget the one and only Breaded Pork Tenderloin sandwich which has been said to be one of the best in the Indianapolis Area! Currently, it is in the running for top 10 in Indiana on 10Best Choice from USA Today for their Breaded Pork tenderloin sandwich. Vote Here! Oasis Diner is also on Indiana Foodways Alliances Tenderloin, Just Cruisin, and Hoosier Pie Trail. The actual pork tenderloin is tenderized twice by Chef Pedro, hand breaded then deep fried exuding sweet juicy flavor with every bite. Try it on a sandwich or order the breakfast tenderloin called the Indianapolis Country Fried Tenderloin, which is a hand breaded Indiana Pork Loin smothered in homemade sausage gravy, served with a side of two eggs, home fries and a side of toast. It is one of the best breakfasts around paying homage to the tenderloin.

    The Oasis Diner's handcrafted sodas made especially for the by a local company should be sipped not gulped to truly savor the rich flavors such as the butter beer, cherry cola and red crème soda. If you aren't into soda order the milkshake. Make a classic move by dipping the fries into the milkshake for a creamy salty sweet mix.

    Speaking of sweets, Oasis Diner has a bakery nestled in the basement and the smells of the bakery frequent the dining area. So be sure to order the Pie of the Day or take home baked goods available daily off their Baker's Rack or Diner Counter.

    Doug Huff and Don Rector have made all the right moves with Oasis, as their motto states - "They serve great food with a side of history." Oasis Diner is located 405 West Main Street, Plainfield, Indiana 46168 317.837.7777 or

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  • Zydeco's Cajun Actual

    Posted on Friday, May 20, 2016

    zydecos food Step into Zydeco's in downtown Mooresville and its like youve stepped into another part of the country  Cajun country. New Orleans native Chef/Owner Carter Hutchinson and wife, Deb are serving up authentic South Louisiana cuisine in a festive Mardi Gras atmosphere. A claim to fame is they were featured on the Food Networks Diners, Drive-ins and Dives show with Guy Fieri! This was not my first trip to Zydeco's, and I always feel like I'm traveling on vacation in the deep south when I eat there. It just has this party vibe and you can tell people are having fun and enjoying great food. Weekends are always busy, and the night we were there was also crawfish boil night so it was really hopping. The crawfish boils are held from late spring through early summer and you need to follow them on Facebook or Twitter to find out the dates and times theyre happening. They don't accept reservations, but they have a separate bar area where you can hang out and have a drink while you wait on your table and enjoy some live music featuring local artists on Fridays and Saturdays. I can't go to Zydecos and not have one of their signature hurricane know, when in Rome. Zydeco's only uses beef and chicken that are humanely raised, or as Deb likes to say they only had one bad day. Everything is made from scratch, and my favorite dish is the Half and Half, which is half gumbo and half jambalaya. Their jambalaya and gumbo are made with slow-cooked chicken and homemade andouille sausage served over white rice. Its a generous portion meal and very filling, not overly spicy, and typically includes taking home leftovers for me. I also love the catfish which is nicely seasoned and served piping hot with a side of either fries or potato salad. If you need something sweet to top off the meal, I recommend the Bourbon Pecan Pie or the Bread Pudding. In addition to live music on Friday and Saturday nights, every 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month you can enjoy the No Cover Songwriters Showcase where they feature original songwriters. They also throw an annual Mardi Gras Block Party on the 3rd Thursday in June (June 16th in 2016), where they close the street and have live music, craft and food vendors, a beer tent, a crawfish eating contest and other festivities. No worries if you've never traveled to New Orleans, Zydeco's offers you an opportunity to experience and enjoy real Cajun cuisine right here in central Indiana!

    Blog Written by Becky Harris

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  • Main Street Bar and Grill

    Posted on Friday, May 20, 2016

    Main Street Bar and Grill Food The Main Street Bar & Grill is conveniently located off of I-70 near Highway 42, two blocks from SR 39 in Monrovia. Its one of those places that you may get lucky and stumble across one day, but hopefully you'll find your way to Monrovia to check it out for yourself. Main Street is a cross between upscale bar food and a good casual steakhouse, with that laid-back local favorite atmosphere. We arrived around 5:30 on a Friday night and the place was already filling up. We were promptly greeted and seated, and within minutes our server arrived asking for our drink order. In other words, we experienced great service on a busy night. I started off my meal with the fresh whole hand breaded mushrooms appetizer, deep-fried, and served with homemade cocktail sauce and spicy ranch dipping sauce. Let me stress fresh mushrooms, not canned or jar mushrooms, and this makes all the difference. Our waiter then recommended the Black Jack Burger and Southern Fried Chicken sandwich - both were generous-sized and served with our choice of fries or tater tots. We opted for the fried onion rings, which are available for 50 cents extra. I ordered the Black Jack Burger medium-well and it was perfectly cooked, and the Cajun spiced flavor, pepper jack cheese and house-made creole mayo really rounded out the flavor of the burger. The Southern Fried chicken sandwich is hand breaded and deep fried, and topped with pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion. If you can save room for dessert, the homemade sugar cream pie really hit the spot. If youre wanting something more substantial than a sandwich, the steaks at Main Street come highly recommended and are USDA Black Angus, hand cut and aged at least 21 days. Their popular Prime Rib dinner is served only on Friday and Saturday nights after 5:30pm. I plan to come back with my husband for a date night and try the Prime Rib, and of course order another round of the fried mushrooms.

    Blog Written by Becky Harris

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  • Tomato Pie Pizza Joint

    Posted on Thursday, May 19, 2016

    Tomato Pie Pizza Joint Pizza You had me at the first smell when I walked into Tomato Pie in Paragon. Maybe it was the dough that's made daily and proofed for a minimum 48 hours (more on the dough later), or the homemade sauce, or the garlic butter made with real butter. I knew this was not the average pizza place and I was in for a treat. Owner Kim Greiner Raia started working in her father's Greiners Subs- shops in Indianapolis when she was 14, and she brings her expertise in offering a unique dining experience to her Tomato Pie customers.

    I started my meal off with the Antipasto Salad, which is made with freshly sliced vegetables, pepperoni, ham, mozzarella & provolone cheese and their creamy house Italian dressing, and an order of their hand-twisted breadsticks. Let me just say that I could eat the salad and breadsticks for lunch every day. The breadsticks are made with their homemade dough, lightly brushed with garlic butter and served with cheese or marinara sauce. I can honestly say they are some of the best breadsticks Ive ever eaten. I personally would skip the sauces because the breadsticks are so good on their own.

    I also sampled their best selling Ultimate Pizzas and Stromboli sandwich. The pizza is made with their homemade dough and topped with pepperoni, sausage, ham, green peppers, red onions, fresh mushrooms, olives, banana peppers and mozzarella & provolone cheese. They use the crumbly sausage that I like, and the other meats, veggies and cheese were nicely balanced. You could taste everything because nothing was overpowering. I also enjoyed the Stromboli sandwich which had sauce, pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, green peppers, red onion and provolone cheese. The 6 small size was a generous sandwich and I imagine the 12 large (under $10) would easily feed two people.

    They serve domestic and craft beer, including Sun King, and now offer online ordering with a 10% discount. They also offer delivery through They have a separate party room that you can reserve and will accommodate up to 40 people, and starting in May they will have outdoor seating and live music on Saturdays.

    I saved the best for last...they sell balls of their fresh dough for take home! Wow, who else offers this and does it at such a reasonable price? A large dough makes 1 large pizza or 10 breadsticks ($3), a medium is $2 and a small is $1. We were also let in on a little secret that the dough makes delicious sweet rolls. Its probably a good thing for my waistline that I dont live near this restaurant. I would be a frequent dough shopper.

    I confess, I had never been to Paragon, IN and I bet most of you reading this can say the same. Its not necessarily a drive-by destination, but it's a worth your time destination to experience dining at the Tomato Pie. I'll be back! Blog Written by Becky Harris

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  • Sgt. Pepper's Chicken

    Posted on Wednesday, May 18, 2016

    Sgt. Pepper's Chicken Breaded Tenderloin Sandwich If you need to satisfy your fried chicken craving, you should check out Sgt. Pepper's Chicken in Martinsville. Just good home-style cooked food, nothing fancy, but you can see why they have such a loyal customer base.

    Owner Dawn Crone tells us the secret in the chicken is in the marinate, created and perfected by original owner of 35 years, John Clark, and they only serve fresh chicken that is hand breaded, fried, and never frozen. The chicken comes either boneless or bone-in, and can be ordered in individual dinners or family meals. Traditional sides include green beans, mac & cheese, cole slaw, mashed potatoes and gravy, fried potatoes or potato salad. A nice surprise was to see fried livers and gizzards on the menu, especially the gizzards because thats so hard to find! Another not so common menu item is the fried green tomatoes. Tomatoes arent high on my favorite food list, but I was pleasantly surprised how much I liked them. To me they taste like breaded fried zucchini and are really good dipped in their homemade H&R Sauce (combination hot sauce and ranch).

    The breaded pork tenderloin is a staple food in Indiana, and if asked, most Hoosiers have an opinion on who has the best tenderloin sandwich. After sampling the tenderloin at Sgt. Pepper's, I wouldn't be surprised if you would find them on that best of list. They are hand-cut, juicy and flavorful, and they use the original breading recipe. A nice side with the tenderloin are their chips made from hand-cut potatoes, which are also great dipped in their H&R sauce. I also love that they offer both sweet and unsweet tea and they were freshly brewed. I personally like to mix the two for a not-so-sweet tea drink.

    They also have seasonal menu items  Spring and Fall. The Spring menu includes a veggie sandwich and corn on the cob. In the Fall, John Clark's original chicken noodle soup and a white chili soup using Dawn's Grandmother's recipe are available. They offer catering and can accommodate private parties in their restaurant for up to 75 people, with buffet-style eating.

    Blog Written by Becky Harris

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  • Gray Brothers Cafeteria

    Posted on Monday, May 16, 2016

    Gray Brothers Cafeteria Food As I'm passing through the food line at Gray Brothers Cafeteria and tempted to grab way more than I should, I can hear my Mom say "It looks like your eyes were bigger than your stomach". I try not to overindulge these days, but once in awhile you have to put on your best stretchy pants and go for it. There are healthy options for those with dietary restrictions, but lets face it, thats not why I go to Gray Brothers. I want a good old-fashioned, mid-western, Sunday-dinner, home-cooked meal with all the fixings, and a slice of pie for dessert.

    Forth generation and family-owned, Gray Brothers has been around since 1944 and is an institution in Mooresville. You'll find there's something for everyone, as they offer a large variety of homemade entrees, sides and desserts daily. On my visit I had the fried chicken, green beans cooked with ham, mashed potatoes and white gravy (we called it milk gravy at home) and a piece of chocolate crème pie. The fried chicken was crispy and flavorful, the green beans were well-seasoned, the mashed potatoes and gravy were creamy and yummy, and the chocolate pie had a flaky crust, light merengue, and rich chocolate taste. They don't call it comfort food for nothing!

    There is no reservation policy at Gray Brothers, and seating is on a first come, first serve basis. Prepare to stand in line on the weekends, but the line moves quickly. They can accommodate large parties, and often do, and it's a great place for family get-togethers. They also offer catering and delivery service if you prefer to eat off-site. There is a separate entrance and food line for carry-out only, including desserts and whole pies to go, which makes it an easy stop to pick up dinner on your way home. There's also a gift shop inside the restaurant, but unfortunately it was closed when I was there. The restaurant is open every day from 11:00am  8:30pm, and only closed on Christmas Day.

    Blog Written by Becky Harris

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  • Quintessentail Partnership at Ralph and Ava's Cafe in Mooresville

    Posted on Friday, May 13, 2016

    Chipotle Chicken Wrap at Ralph and Ava's A local restaurant, supplying and buying local items from other local businesses&isnt that how this is supposed to work? Sadly, it doesn't always, but in Mooresville, there is one local restaurant that is doing a wonderful job, partnering with local businesses. Ralph and Avas Café is owned by Paul and Toni Ford and they have mastered the art of local. They get cake from Sugar Mommas, Pie from Bran N Shorts, alcohol from local wineries and breweries, employ local artists for their live music nights and they themselves provide the catering for almost all of Mallow Run Winery's events! Wow! What great business owners, they really understand local and help support their local economy. Their theory is "We're all in this together".

    The local partnerships show, the food is so fresh and tasty too! While we were there we were able to sample the Pretzel Melt with ham and cheese and the Chipotle Chicken Wrap. The pretzel melt's bun was of course a soft pretzel and was fluffy and buttery. The sandwich was stuffed with ham and cheese with a sweet honey mustard sauce making this the perfect combination of salty and sweet. The Chipotle Chicken Wrap, had a spicy kick with a creamy sauce (of course made fresh there) on a tomato wrap. We also had the opportunity to try a slice of cake from Sugar Mommas. The cake special that day was Snickerdoodle. Who knew you could have a snickerdoodle any other way than as a cookie? Let me tell you, the snickerdoodle cake was better than any traditional snickerdoodle I've ever had. The cake was moist yet flaky and melted in your mouth and the icing was the perfect mix of creamy and sweet. Yum! We are going to have to try out Sugar Mommas too, but that's for another day. I should note that the brownies and other desserts are still made here at Ralph and Avas as well.

    When you walk in Ralph and Avas, you immediately feel like you are home. The original wood floors have been restored, there is a silver tin ceiling, a grouping of wing back chairs sits by the fireplace as you walk in with an area to put a puzzle together or play a game if you wish. The rest of the restaurant has a variety of wood tables with mismatched chairs. It's very welcoming and makes you want to come and sit a while.

    Wondering where the name comes from? No it's not the owners names but their dogs! When they first opened the restaurant in 2011, they thought their dogs names would make a great name for their restaurant. In keeping with the dog theme, the bar is called the Wagging Tail Bar and the kids menu is called Sadies Plate, the name of another puppy they have.

    The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday-Saturday but you might want to come for dinner on Thursdays for trivia night, Fridays for Open Mic night or Saturdays for live music night. Check their website before you go for times and schedule. Bring your friends and family too! There are a variety of board games you can play before or after your meal if you'd like. Our favorite was the Rock'em Sock'em Robots game that they keep on the bar. You up for a round? I'll meet you there!

    Blog written by Ashley Gregory

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  • Perfect Cheesecake and More at JK's Cheesecake Cafe and Coffee

    Posted on Thursday, May 12, 2016

    JK's Cheesecake Cafe and Coffee's Turtle Cheesecake Cheesecakes, chicken salad, fresh made soups, specialty teas, espresso, salad bar and build your own sandwiches; are you hungry yet? Located on Morgan Street right in the heart of Downtown Martinsville, you will find JKs Cheesecake Café and Coffee where you can find all of these items! Plan a lunch date today!

    During our visit we were able to try several wonderful items. First, the Wild Berry tea was the tea of the day. It was iced and had a lovely fruity, refreshing flavor. It was summer in a glass! Second, the soup of the day was Broccoli Cauliflower Soup. Every day, they have a different made from scratch soup, this one was amazing so Im sure they all are lovely. The Broccoli Cauliflower Soup was chunky, extremely cheesy and nicely seasoned. It was different than most since they added the cauliflower but it added such a unique flavor. Next course was the Chicken Salad with a side of Pasta Salad. The Chicken Salad was chunks of purple grapes, celery, nuts and chicken on a flaky deliciously messy croissant. The pasta salad was mayo based and nicely seasoned. For sure, everything I would come back and eat again, so far! But the piece de resistance was the dessert...Turtle Cheesecake! Oh my! We got the small piece (which in my book really wasn't super small) and it was just enough for the three of us to split after a large meal. Now I'm a big cheesecake fan and have tried many cheesecakes, this one though, was absolutely perfect in my book! It had just a hint of cheese flavor, not overwhelming, just how it should be and was covered in nuts, chocolate and caramel sauces. Devine! Just between us, even though I was thoroughly stuffed, I was really wishing I had the whole piece to myself. Forget the whole piece, try the whole cheesecake! (I think I have a problem.)

    I'm not a coffee drinker but they do have coffees and espressos as well. There is a lovely, homey area in the back of the restaurants for guests to enjoy their coffee or tea while relaxing and chatting with friends on some comfortable couches and chairs as well. Seemed like a great place to come and relax. I can't wait to make another trip to Martinsville so I can have some more tea and cheesecake, especially, from JKs Cheesecake Café and Coffee. Hope you will join me! Note, if you can't make it for lunch, check them out on a Friday night for dinner and live music. Check their website for dates and times before you go as they are only open Friday nights in the warmer months, typically April through November.

    Blog written by Ashley Gregory

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  • Down Home Cooking at Come 'N Git It

    Posted on Tuesday, May 10, 2016

    Come 'N Git It Sliders Looking for some great country style comfort food? Look no further than Come N Git It in Martinsville, IN. This restaurant is located downtown around the courthouse square at the corner of Main and Morgan Streets. The owners are a mother daughter team. The daughter has been in the kitchen since she was three and learned how to cook from her Grandma. They have both worked in the industry but It was always the Daughter's dream to open a restaurant with her Mom. Between the two, they have over 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry and are very excited to share some of their family favorite recipes with you!

    The owners' family is woven throughout the restaurant. The name of the restaurant came from the Grandma calling for everyone to "Come N Git It" when dinner was ready on the farm. The majority of the recipes are family favorites. The restaurant is decorated with family kitchen items like sifters and casserole dishes, etc. The art work is even family related. The owners' Father ( & Grandfather), was an artist for Purdue Extension and the drawings are those that he did for work or his sketches that worked up to the final product. Everything is agricultural based. It is very homey and inviting. You just want to sit and hear the story for everything on the walls.

    Now for the food... Craving comfort food? This is the spot! Even better if your comfort food happens to involve breakfast and especially if you crave sausage gravy! When we asked the server what was good and most popular to eat, she immediately without hesitation said "Anything with gravy on it"! There are a lot of gravy options too! So much that the owners have to make 22 quarts of sausage gravy every morning! Yes, you read right, I said 22 QUARTS EVERY MORNING! Many times they have to make another batch in the afternoon because they run out! It really is that good. It's the perfect size of sausage crumbles in a thick gravy. Its perfection! Serve us a bowl of just gravy and Im sure wed be able to eat it! And that is coming from a person who doesn't particularly care for gravy! To get a sample of the gravy we tried the gravy staple, biscuits and gravy! The delicious gravy was poured over a substantial biscuit that was flaky and just melted in your mouth. Well, you can't eat gravy for every meal so we tried a few other things as well, all just as delicious. First, the breaded tenderloin. It was large just as expected and thick, crispy and just the right hint of pepper. Second the sliders, we sampled the Bacon Cheeseburger and the Mushroom Swiss sliders. Now you may say its a hamburger, how can you make it any better? I dont know what they did to it but they were both awesome! Both smothered in cheese and the bacon and mushrooms were thick sliced and you could actually see and taste them but still taste the burger as well. Ok, my mouth is watering, got to stop. We did not try any when we visited but we are told they also have great catfish and cod, large salads, chili and desserts. One of the local's favorites is also a quarter pound beef hot dog with chili and cheese. We are already planning our next trip to try these items!

    If you find yourself in the Martinsville area, please be sure to visit Come N Git It and please tell us what you think!


    Blog written by Ashley Gregory

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  • Sweet Treats at Martinsville Candy Kitchen

    Posted on Thursday, May 5, 2016

    Martinsville Candy Kitchen Candy In the quaint downtown of Martinsville there is a cute candy store, right on Main Street called the Martinsville Candy Kitchen. Owned by Pam and John Badger since 2004, when they rescued it at a Historic Preservation Auction, this store is now alive and full of energy!

    Martinsville Candy Kitchen has been a landmark on Main Street in Martinsville since the business first began in 1919. Back then it was owned by Jimmy Zappas and although it has gone through multiple owners over the years and even a couple store fronts, you still get the feeling that things are done the same way now as they were when the business first opened. Each owner is taught how to make candy by the previous owner and there is a good chance things really havent changed all that much since 1919. The décor is fun with red and white stripes, wood floors, ice cream parlor type tables and chairs (you know those wooden tables and the iron chairs with the backs that look like hearts), colorful stools, a big window to look into the candy kitchen, everything really goes together nicely to make the atmosphere fun and inviting.

    Now, you cant have a candy store without candy right? Well, this candy store is best known for it's candy canes. Of course they have the typical red and white peppermint canes that they sell year round but they also make different colors and shapes based on the season and holidays. For example, they have heart shapes for Valentine's Day, four leaf clovers for St. Patrick's Day, baskets for Easter, orange and black canes for Halloween, etc. They also have different flavors such as Root Beer, Cherry, Wintergreen, etc. For the 10-year anniversary with the current owners, they made a 10-foot candy cane and they already have plans for a 15-foot candy cane in 2019 for the 15-year anniversary! Most of their canes are only 6 inches though but thats plenty big for most people. Did you know, it takes two and a half hours to make 200 six-inch candy canes and once you start, you cant stop? What a long process! Im not sure Id have the patience. I cant even make it through a whole candy cane by licking it, Ive got to bite it after a couple licks because I'm just too impatient. (Maybe that goes back to my childhood, watching those commercials with the owl eating the sucker, you know... "one, two, three... three licks to get to the center..." but thats another story.)

    Besides candy canes the Martinsville Candy Kitchen has some really great chocolate candy! My favorite was the "Tiger Butter Bark". It is a mix of White Chocolate, Milk Chocolate and Peanut Butter! Yum! It was divine! Coming in closely behind was the English Toffee with an amazing rich buttery flavor, maybe it comes from the two pounds of butter in each batch! They also had one of my all-time favorites, buckeyes! In case you dont know, a chocolate buckeye is a ball of creamy peanut butter candy covered in chocolate but with the top left open so it looks like the nut, a buckeye. There is also a slew of other wonderful candy as well, including a whole case of diabetic friendly candy. Take a minute while you are there to watch the staff make the candy in the candy kitchen through the glass at the back of the store. It really is interesting to watch and fun for the kids.

    If candy isnt quite your thing, dont worry, they also have 24 flavors of Smith Dairy Ice Cream, old fashioned phosphates and cokes and be sure to try the Brownie Fudge Sundae! Also, if you visit on a Saturday from April to October there is a good chance you will have an option to get a slice of pie for dessert. Go early or call ahead though because they only make one kind of pie that changes every week and usually they only make one pie unless there are special orders for whole pies.

    Gather up the kids, get in the car and get on over to Martinsville to experience the wonderful Martinsville Candy Kitchen!

    This blog was written by Ashley Gregory

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