Who says you can’t come home again? Not Josh Linder, who, along with his wife, Adrianne, is celebrating the one-year anniversary of opening Linder’s Tavern on Main. Patrons from LaGrange and beyond have spent the last year enjoying the fabulous food and fun events offered by the establishment.
Linder left his hometown of LaGrange to attend Indiana University. After graduating, he and Adrianne settled in Indianapolis where both had corporate jobs. Although they had successful careers, the long hours and demands of working for large companies began to wear on them.
Meanwhile, Linder’s family continued to live in northeast Indiana. After retirement, his parents opted to live full time at their lake house. His brother returned to LaGrange in 2018 when he and his wife purchased Trading Post Outfitters in Mongo.
“We had come up to see my parents and we passed by a vacant restaurant,” Linder says. “Someone suggested to my brother that he could buy it. I started thinking, ‘Why not us?’ When I asked Adrianne if she wanted to do it, she said yes right away.”
Although the couple pursued that prospect, it fell through. However, the idea was set in motion. A short time later, Linder’s brother approached the owners of Romer’s Restaurant and Spirits, the former business where Linder’s is today. They were ready to step down, and within days the Linders changed careers and sold their Indianapolis home.
“We now live across the street from my childhood home,” Linder says. “When I was 18 the town seemed small. I didn’t appreciate it until I got older. It’s great to know the first names of 80% of the people that pass through our doors.”
It’s not only locals who frequent the tavern, but also people from nearby communities such as Angola, Sturgis in Michigan and Shipshewana. Those in the area for antique and craft shopping can make a stop for the smoked meat the Linders are increasingly becoming known for.
While the central theme is barbecue, there is something on the menu sure to please everyone. More than 10 appetizers are offered and include fan favorites such as beer-battered dill pickles and garlic cheese bread. Brisket, corned beef and pulled pork are found on pizza. There are many choices of dinner salads, burgers, chicken, wraps, sandwiches and pizza. Everything is made from scratch including carrot cake balls, a dessert crowd pleaser.
Linder calls the tavern’s libations hyper local. The Linders pride themselves on serving beer and spirts produced by Hoosiers. Bourbon whiskey is supplied from Three Rivers Distilling Company of Fort Wayne, and W.H. Harrison from Brazil. In addition to the many special signature cocktails, various brews are on tap. Besides nationwide brands, vendors include Lafayette’s People’s Brewing Company, Angola’s Chapman’s Brewing Company and Munster’s 3 Floyds Brewing.
Adrianne’s former experience in the hospitality industry and as an event planner for a large pharmaceutical company has helped to build the tavern’s following. Changing daily specials, drink promotions and live music nights keep the atmosphere lively. Special events such as May’s ticketed Mother’s Day brunch are fun ways to connect with the community. Besides the large family room section separated from the bar, an event space is available for private events. Catering is offered for off-site events as well.
“Most of the changes we made were in the back of the house,” Linder says. “We added three addition kitchen staffers and a bunch of servers. Everything is cooked to order, and on Friday nights when every table is full we want to make sure what a customer asked for is what they get, like the correct steak, so we added the position of expediter. They are like quality control. They make sure each plate is hot and the order is accurate.”
“We are so happy to be part of this little town,” Linder adds. “They have accepted Adrianne. We hope to make an impact in a good way and support LaGrange.”
Linder’s Tavern on Main is located at 211 South Detroit Street in LaGrange. For more info and to see a menu, visit linderstavern.com and call 260-499-3393. Visit them on Facebook for upcoming events and daily specials, and also find them on Instagram.
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