Monday, November 28, 2011

Decking the halls in Wayne County
By Amy Lynch

Richmond and the surrounding area are serving up a whole batch of seasonal activities and events sure to make your holidays a little happier.

Old-Fashioned Christmas Festival

Head on down to the Historic Depot District on Tuesday nights between Nov. 29 and Dec. 20 to enjoy lots of festive fun including lights and luminaries, horse-drawn carriage rides, a fantasyland train display, caroling, visits with Santa and live reindeer. The festival runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. each week; admission and parking are free.

Madrigal Dinners

Feast on fine holiday fare while enjoying a performance of Medieval Christmas carols sung by the Madrigals dressed in period costumes. Dinners take place at Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church on Friday, Dec. 9; Saturday, Dec. 10; and Sunday, Dec. 11; each night’s event begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are $24 per person. Call early to make arrangements — there’s only space for 60 attendees per dinner and the reservations deadline is Nov. 30.

Christmas Festival and Silent Auction

From Nov. 25 through Dec. 11, the Wayne County Historical Museum hosts its annual Christmas Festival and silent auction. With dolls on display, dainty nibbles, punch and hot chocolate, the Doll Tea on Dec. 10 is a perfect party to share with daughters and granddaughters. The tea starts at 1 p.m.; guests are urged to dress for the occasion and bring their favorite dollies along! (Tea admission is $10 per adult, $4 per child; museum members can enjoy a discounted rate of $5 per adults and $2 per child.)

Lighted holiday festivities

Light up the night by attending one of several area holiday parades — Downtown Richmond’s parade steps off at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2, and Centerville’s parade takes place at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10. Also, check out the thousands of holiday lights at Cambridge City’s Christmas Wonderland Celebration of Lights in Critz Park.

The Texas Tenors

The popular “America’s Got Talent” vocal group comes to town Saturday, Dec. 10 for a holiday concert at Civic Hall. By blending country, classical, pop and gospel musical styles, this Houston-based trio has a unique sound all its own, and one that lends itself perfectly to all the best seasonal standards. The concert starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $28 for adults, $20 for students; group rates are available. For more information, call the Civic Hall box office at (765) 973-3350, or visit

To learn more about these and other local holiday events, call the Richmond/Wayne County Welcome Center toll-free 1-800-828-8414, or go to

Born and raised in Richmond, freelance writer Amy Lynch now makes her home in Indianapolis with her husband and three-year-old son. Read more about her food and travel adventures at

Monday, November 14, 2011

Italian Market is a Favorite of Richmond's Many College Students

Parker's General Store, Maria Mitrione's and Richmond
Hardware share this interesting building in Richmond's
Historic Depot District. Photo is courtesy of Jana
Haustetter Angelucci and was submitted to our
Maria Mitrione’s Italian Market is a favorite spot for a late afternoon lunch for many Earlham students and people of the Richmond community. Located in the Historic Depot District of Richmond, Indiana, the Italian market is easily accessible and is located inside Parker’s General Store, near the French bistro Ghyslain.

My friends and I venture to the Italian Market a few times a month for our much needed breaks from the cafeteria food at Earlham. Upon first entering the Italian Market, we notice the toasty smell of fresh coffee and grilled sandwiches. As we approach the deli counter that holds a large variety of imported and local meats, cheeses, olives, and pasta dishes, our stomachs churn with indecision over what we want for lunch. An unanimously-voted favorite sandwich among my friends is the Mile High Grilled Cheese sandwich, which includes melted colby, provolone, and mozzarella cheeses with tomato, oregano and mayonnaise layered perfectly on top. My personal favorite is the prosciutto panini, which includes thick layers of salty prosciutto and mozzarella grilled to perfection. If I’m feeling like I need a little green in me, there is a wonderful salad bar, as well as made-to-order salads that I wish I had access to 24/7.

Along with a variety of sandwiches, the Italian Market offers natural casing hot dogs, delicious homemade soups that will cure any degree of homesickness, homemade pizza, a full espresso bar, and of course, desserts.

While we wait for our sandwiches to be made, we walk straight to the front of the store where the exotic drinks are kept. My East Coast friends usually go for Fentiman’s Victorian Lemonade or Ginger Beer, a staple at home, while I go for the natural root beers or cream sodas. If you’re of the legal age, a selection of local and imported beers and wines are available. After choosing our drinks, we explore the food section of the market, which includes almost all of the Bob’s Red Mill grains and bread mixes, beautiful imported pasta from Italy, fresh baked breads, pasta sauces and olive oils, and a shelf of hot sauces with noteworthy names.

Parker's General Store - Photo by Julie Dishman.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, the Italian Market offers a small candy store’s worth of sugary goods and chocolate, and if you’re a coffee connoisseur, there are more than a dozen varieties of coffee beans available to grind. 

I often feel that the best part of our visit is just how affordable it is. As many college students know, going out to eat often can be quite costly, but the Italian Market makes it easy to enjoy the small luxury of homemade food. You will be surprised to find a meal over $10, and most are large enough that they can be easily split between two friends. Once the sandwiches are perfectly grilled, they are brought to our table, along with a small side of olives, pickles, and Uncle Ray’s potato chips. Once finished, which usually doesn’t take long, we leave with a nice content feeling and a happier state of mind. 

Maria Mitrione's Italian Market
450 N 10th St
RichmondIN 47374
Open Monday - Thursday 7:30 AM - 7 PM
Friday and Saturday 7:30 AM - 8 PM
Sunday 11 AM - 4 PM
(765) 939 – 4152

Abby Primack is a Biology major, Chemistry
minor from Oak Park, Illinois, and currently a
sophomore at Earlham College. She loves
reading, cooking, exploring, playing scrabble,
and anything to do with peanut butter and chocolate.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Big Dawg bites into local brewing scene
by Amy Lynch 

Something big is brewing on Richmond’s west side — J&J Winery has recently added Das Bier Big Dawg Brew Haus to its picturesque location on U.S. 40, giving it the very unique distinction of being the only winery/brewery combo in Indiana.

The new brewing enterprise unveiled its wares at a chili cookoff in October to great response, promptly selling out of seven kegs worth of beer that included IPA, dry Irish stout, Imperial oatmeal stout, Oktoberfest and pumpkin-spiced ale.

The process of creating new beers for Das Bier Big Dawg is definitely a collaborative team effort. J&J Winery owners Jeff and Melody Haist oversee all the brewing operations and marketing efforts. The winery’s live music coordinator Mike Miller plays a big role in brewing and distribution, and Richard Shroyer, a local science teacher and award-winning home brewer, consults on recipes.

“I have friends who’ve brewed for years, so I was around it and was always interested,” Miller says. “I spent a lot of time at the Heorot (in Muncie) and really gained an appreciation for craft beers. I had been to Shroyer’s home brewery, drank his beers and really liked them. He and I brewed together and two weeks later, Jeff, Melody and I started a brewery. Jeff and I brewed many experimental batches and had a few different tastings over the ten-month period while waiting on our approval.”

Rounding out the team, Shawn Mead takes care of all IT responsibilities and technology for the brewery, and artist Jon Terzini of Terz Design created a series of clever eye-catching beer labels for the finished products. 

The Das Bier house lineup includes a range of styles to please different tastes, including a dry Irish stout, hoppy Trippel IPA and a fruity raspberry wheat. Additionally, a continually evolving rotation of seasonal beers might include creatively flavored offerings like cerveza amber with lime, a Christmas-themed chocolate peppermint stout or a summery apricot IPA. The roster changes all the time, making each trip a potentially new tasting experience.

“We just play around with different flavors, try them out and see what tastes work best,” Miller says.

Customers can try out Big Dawg beers for themselves at the J&J tasting room by ordering a “flight” of four samples for $10 or a pint for $3.50 to enjoy on site, or filling up growlers to take home (expect to pay $12 to $15 per fill). Miller estimates the brewery is turning out 100 gallons of beer a week, and anticipates making Das Bier products available at local restaurants and liquor stores in Richmond, Muncie and Indianapolis in the future. Look for beer dinners to make an appearance on the J&J calendar before long, too.


For more information about J&J Winery or Das Bier Big Dawg Brew Haus, call (765) 965-9463 or visit

Born and raised in Richmond, freelance writer Amy Lynch now makes her home in Indianapolis with her husband and three-year-old son. Read more about her food and travel adventures at