Monday, November 8, 2010

The Loft Restaurant at Trader’s Point Creamery

Having grown up in a small town surrounded by farmland, I sometimes get an urge to ditch Indianapolis’ semi-bustling downtown area and return to the quieter parts of Indiana. To get to any real rural scenery, however, you’ve got to drive for 45 minutes to an hour away from the city on an interstate highway. Fortunately, the area surrounding Trader’s Point Creamery presents a reasonable facsimile of the country – and it’s just 15 to 20 minutes northwest of downtown.

Hidden down a quiet, shady road just minutes from I-465, Trader’s Point Creamery’s rustic setting is the first thing you’ll appreciate about the Loft Restaurant, although it probably won’t be the last. The restaurant is housed in a converted three-story barn surrounded by acres of pastures and mooing cows. After heading through the little milk/cheese shop on the first floor, you climb up a set of rough-hewn stairs to reach the dining room, which is located, appropriately enough, in the loft of the barn. The white table clothes on the tables contrast with the exposed wooden beams and soaring ceiling, making you wonder what, exactly, you’re in for.

Upon being seated, my friends and I ordered iced teas, which were served to us in Ball jars. I’m a sucker for that…. Our server was pleasant and attentive, checking on us a couple of times to see if we were ready to order our lunches or if we needed more time with the menu. The lunch menu was not that extensive (made up mainly of salads and sandwiches), so it didn’t take us long to make our choices. I ordered the lunch special, which was a 100% grass-fed beef burger topped with blue cheese and bacon. One of my friends ordered a burger as well, although he chose to have avocado on it, and my other friend ordered the grilled cheese sandwich which was composed of whole-wheat bread grilled with raw milk Cheddar cheese. All three of us chose fresh cottage cheese as our side. Hey, we were at a creamery! What were we going to get? Potato chips?

After we ordered, we waited. And waited. It was kind of a long wait, to be honest. But we didn’t have anywhere we needed to be, so we just chilled out, sipped our teas, and examined the wheels of cheese stacked behind glass. When the food finally did come, we all agreed that it was worth the delay. I had ordered my burger medium-rare, and I was glad I did. It was delicious! And the blue cheese was generous and tasty. My compatriots scarfed their sandwiches down as well. The grilled cheese looked amazing, toasted to a golden brown with loads of Cheddar oozing out the side. The cottage cheese side dish was good, too, but its richness was a bit much. A little dab’ll do ya. None of us were able to finish his/her portion. In the future, it would be wiser to only have one person at the table order the cottage cheese and then share with the others.

Having finished our lunches, we decided that we could not leave the restaurant without first visiting the dairy bar for milkshakes. Two of us ordered chocolate shakes made with white milk and one of us ordered the sickly indulgent chocolate/chocolate shake. As always, the milkshakes were fantastic. One of my friends described the flavor of his shake as tasting “like grass and fat,” which is pretty apt. That description was a compliment, by the way! While I was slurping my shake, I even sucked up a couple of chunks of milk fat. Mmmmm…. Chewy milkshakes….

As a whole, I enjoyed my meal at the Loft Restaurant. The food was good, albeit a little expensive, and the server for our meal was fine. No complaints there. And of course the ambiance was nice. There’s nothing like eating in a big old barn to bring you back to your roots. My only complaint would be the kids who work at the dairy bar. I say “kids” because they all looked like they were in high school to me. Although the milkshakes they made were fantastic, their demeanor was a little too “youthful” for me. I felt like I was being served by teenage girls at a Dairy Queen instead of employees of a nice restaurant. Also, the prices for the milkshakes are completely outrageous. Don’t get me wrong, though – they are certainly worth the high price for an occasional splurge.

The restaurant is open for lunch every day, but they also serve dinner, Saturday breakfast, and Sunday brunch. I’ve only been there for lunch, but I would like to try the dinner menu soon.

Loft Restaurant at Traders Point Creamery on Urbanspoon

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