12 things to eat, see, and do in Warsaw and Kosciusko County

If you live in Northeast Indiana, you might know Warsaw and the surrounding area of Kosciusko County as a “laketown” or “the Orthopedic Capital of the World.”

For my family and me, this is the place we call home.

I’ve lived in Kosciusko County since I was a kid myself, growing up in the small town of Palestine, Indiana. After graduating from Tippecanoe Valley High School, I assumed I would leave this community and not return, like many of my peers.

However, after graduating from Purdue University with a degree in sales management and organizational leadership behavior, and after working in the insurance industry after college, I ended up moving back to my hometown to be closer to family and to take on the next phases of my life and career. Today, I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Warsaw is a vibrant and up-and-coming community that takes the idea of “neighborliness” to the next level. By day, I work in sales for Helvey & Associates Inc., and I live in the Crestview Neighborhood of Warsaw with my husband and two (twin) 10-year-old sons, only a short drive from Winona Lake. My husband is a small business owner who operates a digital marketing company called 1Eighty Digital in downtown Warsaw.  

Brooke Hamstra and her family live in Warsaw.

As locals, we love that we have so many outdoor activities close to home, and so many of our friends and neighbors play an important role in the businesses and industries that support our community’s growth. 

When it comes to things to eat, see, and do, there’s no shortage of ideas. But I wanted to highlight some of the special, one-of-a-kind businesses owned by locals, just like me, who are fully invested in our region’s future. 

In a small town like Warsaw, we truly embrace the concept of “community,” and when the pandemic began in 2020, we pulled together to support the local businesses we know and love.

Here are 12 things to eat, see, and do in Warsaw and Kosciusko County.



Eat

1. Treat yourself to a night out at One Ten Craft Meatery in Warsaw.

110 N Buffalo St, Warsaw, IN

One Ten Craft Meatery is located at 110 N. Buffalo St in Warsaw, IN.

If you’re looking for a gourmet meal and craft cocktails to make the most of a special occasion, look no further than One Ten Craft Meatery. Located in a beautiful, historic building downtown at 110 South Buffalo St., this spot is a go-to for my husband and I for any kind of celebration, from anniversaries to family gatherings. 

Food-wise, you might say I am a bacon-a-holic, so naturally, my favorite menu item at One Ten is their Flight of Bacon, which includes your choice of three mouth-watering bacon options with creamed honey, duck fat fried buttermilk biscuits, pork rinds, and blackberry goat cheese. But really, everything on the menu is full of color and flavor!

One Ten Craft Meatery is located at 110 N Buffalo St. in Warsaw.

My husband and I love the presentation of the food, which is way more intricate than the meals we prepare at home, and while we usually feel a bit out of place at fine dining establishments, this place always feels very welcoming and approachable. When the owner is not working in the kitchen, he’s often checking on customers in the dining room, asking how your meal is going. (We happen to play in the same volleyball league as him at Spikes, too!)

Like I said, we enjoy supporting friends and neighbors in Warsaw, and One Ten’s amazing food and atmosphere makes it easy.
 

2. Place a reservation at Westmain Kitchen in Syracuse, and prepare to be amazed.

201 W Main St, Syracuse, IN

Westmain Kitchen at 201 W. Main St. in Syracuse.

For another top-notch dining option outside of Warsaw’s city limits, try Westmain Kitchen in Syracuse. This is a really unique, husband-and-wife-owned restaurant that only serves dinner on Friday and Saturday nights. Because of its intimate location with extremely limited seating, you have to place a reservation in advance. Once you pick a date, the owner will contact someone in your party, and let you know what your dinner options are for the evening, so you place your order before you arrive, too! Then, on the night of your reservation, you simply show up, and enjoy the feast.
 

3. Grab a coffee (and some local art) at Wire & Steam in Warsaw.

2858 Frontage Rd, Warsaw, IN

Wire & Steam coffee shop at 2858 Frontage in Warsaw, IN.

As someone who works in sales, coffee shops often become my de facto offices around town, and Wire & Steam is my go-to place. This shop has a rentable conference room that is perfect for meetings and lots of comfortable seating for catching up with friends in your hours off-the-clock.

A mango bubble tea with strawberry popping bubbles at Wire & Steam coffee shop at 2858 Frontage Warsaw, IN.

Overall, it’s the type of place that just feels like home, where the workers remember your name and your order. This shop also has a really neat display of local art by RedBird Art Studio in Warsaw, a program that sells art made by people with disabilities as a means of empowerment. 

The merch display at Wire & Steam coffee shop at 2858 Frontage in Warsaw, IN.

Along with its mission and atmosphere, Wire & Steam has incredible drinks. I recommend their vanilla chai. It is delicious! 
 

4. Get the best bacon of your life at Teel’s Family Restaurant in Mentone.

108 E Main St, Mentone, IN

Breakfast at Teel's Family Restaurant.

You might remember I said I’m a bacon-a-holic, and Teel’s has THE best bacon I’ve ever tasted. It’s not too greasy and always fresh with the most perfect, chewy crunch.

Waitress Kathy Moore takes a customer's order at Teel's Family Restaurant at 108 E. Main St. in Mentone, IN.

Teel's Family Restaurant at 108 E. Main St. in Mentone, IN.

Along with the bacon, Teel’s serves a variety of homestyle meals, including mashed potatoes, fried chicken, and a selection of delicious desserts. Since I grew up in Palestine, just outside of Mentone on Highway 25, this small town spot always feels like going back to mom’s kitchen table.


See

5. Snap a selfie with the ‘Big Egg’ of Mentone.

The intersection of Main and Morgan streets, Mentone, IN

The Big Egg of Mentone at Main & Morgan Streets in Mentone, IN.

Did you know that Mentone is the “Egg Basket of the Midwest”? At least, that’s what it says on the Mentone Egg, a roughly 10-foot-tall, 3,000 pound concrete egg near the edge of town that has captivated travelers across the U.S. in blogs and online forums. The egg claims to honor the town’s rich history of egg production and to be the “largest egg in the world.”

Brooke's sons visiting the Big Egg of Mentone.

Each year Mentone hosts an Egg Festival to pay homage to this legacy, and to me, the egg has an egg-xtra special element of family history, too. My great grandfather was a key local architect who helped design the egg in 1946 when it was used to advertise for an “Egg Show.” Be sure to get your picture with this local landmark while you’re out and about.
 

6. Browse locally made masterpieces at RedBird Art Studio in Warsaw.

504 N. Bay Drive Warsaw 

Artwork is for sale from various RedBird artists at RedBird Art Studio at 504 N. Bay Drive in Warsaw, IN.

I mentioned RedBird Art Studio previously as a vendor at Wire & Steam Coffee, but while you’re in Warsaw, be sure to stop by the studio where these masterpieces are made. RedBird Art Studio is a program of Cardinal Services for people with disabilities, and they have a studio here where you can find the artists at work creating original 2D and 3D pieces, from paintings on canvas, to jewelry made from polymer clay, to sculptures. 

Artwork is for sale from various RedBird artists at RedBird Art Studio at 504 N. Bay Drive in Warsaw, IN.

Artwork is for sale from various RedBird artists at RedBird Art Studio at 504 N. Bay Drive in Warsaw, IN.

I have a piece in my office at Helvey & Associates Inc. that I really enjoy. It’s a painting of an abstract blue heart on canvas, and it reminds me of my boys. In addition to its regular sales, RedBird Art Studio hosts its annual fundraiser each year called the Cardinal Call, where they have a big luncheon to raise money for their mission. This year, it’s happening virtually on Oct. 13, if you are interested in learning more or attending, contact Matt Boren, the Executive Director of Cardinal Services at [email protected].  

Artwork is for sale from various RedBird artists at RedBird Art Studio at 504 N. Bay Drive in Warsaw, IN.


Do

7. Enjoy a cozy (kid-friendly) afternoon at Main Street Coffee Company in North Webster.

302 N Main St Ste 1, North Webster, IN

Main St. Coffee Co. has multiple play areas for kids at 302 N. Main St., Ste 1, in North Webster.

As a mom of two young boys, one of my favorite places to visit is Main Street Coffee Company in North Webster, which has an elaborate indoor “treehouse” playground and ball pit for kids. For us adults, there’s a cozy coffee shop nearby with a fireplace and warm drinks.

Danielle Jones makes a Camp Fire latte at Main St. Coffee Co. at 302 N. Main St., Ste 1, in North Webster.

A Camp Fire latte at Main St. Coffee Co. at 302 N. Main St., Ste 1, in North Webster.

This coffee house is actually attached to a church, but it’s open to the public most days of the week. And in the cold winter months of Northeast Indiana, this spot is a lifesaver for parents seeking a place where their kids can release some of their pent-up energy.
 

8. Throw a party at the Bowling Alley in Warsaw.

1535 N Detroit St, Warsaw, IN

Inside the Bowling Alley at 1535 N. Detroit St in Warsaw, IN.

Right off Highway 15 in Warsaw, the Bowling Alley has done a great job of establishing itself as a destination for families and bowling leagues, alike. We enjoy going to the alley for a weekend night out or renting a room for our kids’ birthday parties.

In addition to bowling, they have an arcade and a separate banquet hall room to accommodate events of all kinds and people of all ages.
 

9. Rent kayaks and paddleboards at the Lake House in the Village at Winona. 

720 E Canal St., Winona Lake, IN

The Lake House at 720 E. Canal St. in Winona Lake, IN.

If you haven’t been to the Village at Winona Lake, then you need to take a day, or at least an afternoon, to stroll this beautiful, walkable waterfront community. There are so many interesting and well-curated local shops and eateries to entertain you. But if you want to get on the water, the easiest way to do it is to stop by the Lake House. Aptly named, this business in the Village at Winona Lake is the community’s one-stop waterfront destination for all of your lakeday needs, from paddle boards to kayaks and adventure gear. 

The Lake House at 720 E. Canal St. in Winona Lake, IN.

While our family doesn’t live on the lake itself, we enjoy being able to get there in a quick 20-minute drive, grab some rental equipment, and make a day of it. Kayaking or paddleboarding is a fun idea for dates, too!

The paddle board closet at The Lake House at 720 E. Canal St. in Winona Lake, IN.
View of the lake from The Lake House at 720 E. Canal St. in Winona Lake, IN.

 

10. Get crafty at Pottery Bayou.

806 Park Ave, Winona Lake, IN

Nadia Guerra works on a piece at the Pottery Bayou.

While you’re visiting the Village at Winona Lake, stop by Pottery Bayou to get your creative juices flowing. In this local shop, you’ll find a full selection of ceramic pieces you can paint yourself or with your kids, ranging from coffee mugs to holiday decor and figurines. In addition to ceramics, Pottery Bayou also has added blown glass and other crafts to its mix of items you can purchase. 

Pottery Bayou at 806 Park Ave. in Winona Lake, IN.
Pottery to paint at the Pottery Bayou at 806 Park Ave. in Winona Lake, IN.

One of the things I absolutely love about this store is its owner, Gina Voelz. When the pandemic made in-person shopping and crafting more challenging, Gina managed to pivot her business model by creating grab-and-go craft kits that kids and adults alike could complete at home. For ceramics, she’d provide you with supplies and instructions in a bag, so you could work on them in your own space and then get them finished and fired by her shop.

Guests work on their pieces at the Pottery Bayou at 806 Park Ave. in Winona Lake, IN.

My kids and I did a few of these projects to stay busy and creative during the pandemic, and it felt great knowing that we were supporting a local business owner!
 

11. Test your skills at the Disc Golf Course behind Harrison Elementary School in Warsaw.

1300 Husky Trail, Warsaw, IN (the course is behind the school on a walking path)



I’m not very good at disc golf myself, but my husband and some of our friends have gotten really into the sport, buying weighted discs and seeking out new courses to try around town. One of their favorite spots to play is the 9-hole course behind our kids’ elementary school on a big walking path through the woods.

The disc golf course behind Harrison Elementary School at 1300 Husky Trail in Warsaw, IN.

Even if you don’t enjoy disc golf, this half-mile wooded path is worth a visit. (I enjoy walking our dog, Thor, there.) Just watch out for stray discs! 
 

12. Enjoy a good, old-fashioned day of fishing at more than 100 natural lakes.

Brooke's sons fishing with their grandpa on Palestine Lake.

I would be remiss if I wrote a list about things to do in Warsaw without mentioning one of our family’s favorite traditions: Fishing. Our county has more than 100 natural lakes, and we love to explore them all, searching for the best places to catch bass and bluegill. My sons often go fishing with their grandpa on Palestine Lake, right across the street from where I grew up and where my parents still live.

***

That's all for now. I hope you enjoy this opportunity to explore the beautiful place I call home in Warsaw and Kosciusko County!