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Village Inn

107 S. Main St., Middlebury, IN - (574) 825-2043
Posted By Michael Stern on October 29, 2001 3:38 AM
The town of Middlebury is where Amish farmers come to shop for dry goods and hardware. When it is time to eat, they crowd into a town lunchroom called the Village Inn for plowman's meals served by Mennonite girls in organdy caps.

How about a huge plate of cornmeal mush, accompanied by head cheese, for breakfast? There are ordinary egg breakfasts, too, but even they seem twice as hearty as anything you would get in an ordinary diner. Lunches are even bigger: chicken and noodles or meat loaf or beef stew and mashed potatoes, smothered steaks and stuffed peppers, all served with plenty of richly-dressed slaws and salads and well-cooked vegetables enriched with breadcrumbs, butter, and cheese.

Amish country is pie country. It has long been a tradition among “the plain people” to make spectacularly unplain pies; and town cafes in the Amish parts of Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania are terrific places to stop for pie breaks while traveling. They offer about a dozen different kinds of pie every day at The Village Inn, for well under $2 per slice. Varieties include blueberry (from locally-picked berries), lattice-topped raisin, and the pie known among Indiana farm folks as O.F., meaning “old fashioned”: little more than sugar, eggs, and cream, whipped into a jiggly custard perched atop a flaky pastry crust. Whole pies can be ordered in advance, to go.
5 star rating
Overall Rating

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Posted By Hans Baumann on July 14, 2011 3:07 PM
This was my second time at the Village Inn and it just keeps getting better. The food is pretty good, but the pies are just unbelievable. I remember being impressed with the pie, especially the old-fashioned/custard pie which seems to be a novelty outside of Amish country, but I don't remember it being this good. The custard is slightly eggy.

You can taste the slightest hint of each ingredient's provenance in all the food. I've begun to think that quality might be defined as "that which cannot be seen" and I think this applies to the baking here. You can just tell that these are farm-fresh eggs, that the fruit is locally sourced, that the milks and creams come from cattle who are eating good things. You can't make food this simple and have it any other way! There is a straightforwardness and honesty to the food that speaks to a confidence in the quality of the ingredients.

I had a slice of rhubarb custard pie, which was through the roof, and when I tried to order a full pie I was told they had no more. The owner offered to make me a no-bake pie instead. I was reluctant to accept because those can be so cloyingly sweet; I get serious corn syrup anxiety with these types of pies.

However, given how great everything else had been I ordered a whole raspberry cream pie. When it arrived I almost dropped it because it was so much heavier than I had assumed it would be. I had expected the other pies to be great, but this one was a revelation in the truest sense. No corn syrup, just fresh raspberries, some sugar, cream, and that amazing Village Inn crust. The cream was even slightly under-sweetened to allow the natural tang of the red raspberry to come through. Who bakes like that?

The format is so simple yet the result is undeniably complex because the being of each ingredient is allowed to come forth and present itself. Taste the terroir!
5 star rating
Overall Rating
Rhubarb Custard Pie
Raspberry Cream Pie

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