INDIANAPOLIS — A new restaurant offers a unique experience
for customers who like fresh local fruits, vegetables and meats.
INgredients, a café on the north side of Indianapolis,
offers a “farm-to-fork” experience that caters to many tastes and diets.
Customers can shop at the indoor farmers market, order lunch from the café or
take a class on how to cook healthy meals.
“Our mission is to show people it’s easy to cook with whole
foods, and it can be very tasty,” said Tom Wiles, co-owner of the café. “So
that’s why we made sure to hire a professional chef, and also we teach classes
here — cooking and gardening.”
The café has a homey comfortable atmosphere. Baskets of
produce, a small freezer full of meat and wooden shelves full of honey, cereals
and other foods decorate the store.
The menu includes green smoothies, locally sourced chicken
and beef entrees, as well as healthy desserts, to satisfy one’s sweet tooth.
Wiles, along with business partners Kevin and Jaqueline
Logan, operate an organic farm in McCordsville. The land is used to grow fresh
fruits, herbs and vegetables — along with cow pasture.
Tom and Kevin have been friends since fourth grade, and both
share a love for healthy eating.
“We started the farm about three years ago,” Wiles said.
“After a couple cycles of farmers markets, we felt like we weren’t getting the
sales we needed, and we also really wanted a commercial kitchen to process all
the foods we were growing.
“When we married those two, we needed a chef. And once we
had a chef, we needed to serve lunch. One thing led to another.”
The restaurant caters to many diets, including gluten-free,
vegetarian, vegan and paleo. The spotlight always is on local flavors.
“We also want to make it accessible to those who aren’t
necessarily familiar with eating whole foods,” Wiles said. “We want people to
come relaxed and learn about the wonderful nature of food.”
“We like to keep it simple and savory,” said head chef
Allison Godinez, while making a pineapple chicken entrée.
When the restaurant opened last October, sales were strong.
Due to inclement weather over the winter, it’s been less busy.
But the INgredients team is looking forward to busy spring.
Plans to add outdoor seating are in the works.
The restaurant also wants to host an interactive dinner
experience, where the chef will explain each course and answer questions from
Guests experiencing INgredients for the first time will
taste the difference between fast food and fresh food.
“It’s comfortable knowing where your food is coming from,
and it’s grown with the standards that I want,” Wiles said. “I believe the food
we’re producing is more nutrient dense than some foods that have to travel
hundreds of miles to get to us.”
INgredients works with between 20 and 25 Indiana producers
and food manufacturers to supplement what it grows on its own farm.
The café’s best-kept secret? Take-home dinners that are
perfect to bring home after a long day at work.
For more information, visit www.ingredientsindy.com.