It’s time again to celebrate the local businesses, community leaders, attractions, and events that light up our city. While Evansville Living readers flock to their keyboards to vote in the Best of Evansville awards, the editorial team selects a few additional winners who we feel deserve a spotlight. The result is 30 readers’ picks and seven editors’ picks highlighting the best Evansville has to offer in 2021. Enjoy, and thanks for voting!
September / October 2021
A century ago, colorful souvenir booklets often were exchanged between friends and loved ones to share a person’s travels to cities such as Paris, London, New York — and even Evansville.
Copper House is truly the best of both worlds. The luxurious ambience models high-end restaurants found in larger cities across the country, but the core of Copper House’s menu comes down to comfort food that people from all walks of life can enjoy. Evansville’s newest upscale-casual dining experience combines modern, industrial design with traditional fare and libations, all carefully crafted from owner Charisa Perkins’ culinary vision.
Walking downtown in Henderson, Kentucky, the scent of hickory and maple floats to the street from the smoker behind Taylor’s Grill on Wheels. As the door opens to the takeout restaurant at 130 N. Water St., you’ll hear Maai Taylor’s greeting of “watch your step” and the scraping of utensils as she and husband Carl put the finishing touches on generous portions of their homemade dishes made fresh each morning.
Waiting for a table with more than 200 other restaurant patrons at modern brasserie Francie in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, you may notice familiar names have reserved seats at the bar: Two are for fashion designer Halston, and another pair for Van Halen’s David Lee Roth. These famous Hoosiers won’t be dining with you — the signs are how owner and Evansville native John Winterman stays connected to his Indiana roots.
Living with what you have is an essential part of Chris and Shannon Owen’s lifestyle. It is why they have set out on a mission to supply their community with sustainable, nutrient-dense produce by converting their East Side home into a hydroponic microfarm.
The African decor, nature-inspired construction, and even a canoe light fixture hanging from a vaulted ceiling were enough to get Tom and Bryanna Barron’s rustic chic home at 8040 N. St. Joseph Road featured in the May/June 2003 issue of Evansville Living. Now, the 6,681-square-foot estate is up for sale.
The next time you emerge from the sharp S curve on North Boehne Camp Road, cast your gaze west to the stately building perched alongside the street. In a neighborhood of traditional farmhouses and classic ranch-style homes, this red brick block stands out as a curious attraction. It predates most of the surrounding structures, yet its interior is thoroughly modern. After undergoing a renovation and beginning a new life as a handful of condominiums, the building — in spirit and in title — is indeed The Restoration at Boehne Camp.
When Lewis Browning retired as a special education administrator at Evansville Vanderburgh Public Schools and the University of Southern Indiana, he rode off into the sunset — perched atop a bicycle and surrounded by a group of fellow bicycling enthusiasts.
On June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden signed a bill establishing Juneteenth as a federal holiday. Celebrated annually on June 19 to remember when the Emancipation Proclamation reached Galveston, Texas, and freed the last enslaved people in the U.S. in 1865, this year’s event at Lyles Station, Indiana’s last remaining Black settlement from the Civil War era, was especially poignant.
After a year of quarantining and social distancing, raise your “spirits” in historic Bardstown, Kentucky, a quaint town 142 miles east of Evansville and 40 miles southeast of Louisville. If it’s been a while since you’ve gone distillery-hopping in the Bourbon Capital of the World®, you’ll find there’s much more to see.
On the far north side of Vanderburgh County, away from the bustle of the city, and up a winding gravel road through acres of cornfields lie miles of unharvested fruits, awaiting the rigid hands of an orchard-goer to snatch them from the trees’ low hanging branches.
Center of Attention
In March 2020, students lost access to books as their schools closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That summer, retired Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp. teacher/administrator Lana Burton coordinated book donations to children at EVSC sites and those receiving food from the weekly giveaways by Feed Evansville at Hartke Pool. Along with Patricia Weinzapfel, Burton turned these book drives into READ Evansville, which gave away more than 18,000 books in 2020.
Check It Out
On the last Saturday in September each year since 2018, thousands gather at Friedman Park in Newburgh, Indiana, for live music, tasty food, and cold beer — all to raise money for the construction and maintenance of Warrick County parks and trails. This year’s Party in Paradise will take place Sept. 25 to benefit the Warrick Trials and Warrick Parks Foundation. The one-day event will feature 10 food trucks, a MillerCoors beer truck, and live music from St. Louis-based cover band Queens Blvd.
Anyone watching the recent Tokyo Olympics likely heard the Tri-State mentioned on air. Competitive swimmer and Evansville native Lilly King and WNBA player and Princeton, Indiana, native Jackie Young both represented the U.S. in the delayed 2020 Summer Games. Young had less than one week’s notice when she was called to replace Katie Lou Samuelson on the women’s basketball 3-on-3 team after the Seattle Storm player tested positive for COVID-19.
Hidden in Evansville yards, native plant gardens are an oasis for bees, caterpillars, butterflies, other insects, and the songbirds that eat them. Supported by research by Douglas Tallamy, a professor of agriculture and natural resources at the University of Delaware and author of “Nature’s Best Hope,” these local greenspaces are a simple, but critical way residents can benefit the Tri-State.
After learning at a young age the ancient practice of creating stained glass art, Britton Starr is bringing the medium back into the mainstream, hoping to make it relevant to a new age of artists. Starr, who moved to Evansville seven years ago from Bloomington, Indiana, learned how to build stained glass pieces while a student at Bedford North Lawrence High School in Bedford, Indiana. Starr says according to his teacher, he was pretty good at it.
I recently flew to Lubbock, Texas, to join four travel writers on a press trip. I fell under the spell of the “Hub City” of West Texas: its quirkiness, the high plains (Lubbock sits at 3,256 feet; you can see for miles), its culture, food, and people — not to mention Lubbock is the hometown of rock ’n’ roll pioneer Buddy Holly and the home of Texas Tech University. What do 6.4 million annual visitors to Lubbock, Texas, do when they visit the Hub City?
Before the sun fully rises each morning, Evansville Police Department Sgt. Tyrone Wood and officer Paul Harper are already feeding, brushing, bathing, and loading their horses onto their trailers. By 10 a.m. Wood, Harper, and their four-legged partners are badged and monitoring the streets as the Evansville Police Mounted Patrol.
As the stage lights go up March 28, 2022, on the opening night of “Plaza Suite,” producer Sherry Wright will be watching from the best seat in New York’s Hudson Theater, savoring the culmination of an unusual project: The Evansville native produced the Broadway revival from the kitchen of her home on Riverside Drive. One might not guess Broadway productions are born in Evansville, but Wright has split her time between New York and the Tri-State since her first production, “Children of a Lesser God,” in 2018.
As restaurants, businesses, schools, and community organizations were shutting down in March 2020 in the wake of the first wave of COVID-19 infections, teachers and advanced dancers at Newburgh Academy of Dance created instructional videos for students to view and practice with at home. It was a dramatic departure from the camaraderie students were used to during lessons, but for academy owner Karen Jordan, keeping momentum going and spirits high was the objective.
Nearly two years into the pandemic, most people are eager to move on from the days of mask wearing and vaccine appointments, but COVID-19 still is a central topic, especially as we move into the holiday season.
Zesto on Franklin (102 W. Franklin St.), the second location of the walk-up burger and ice cream stand Zesto’s Drive-Thru, is known for traditional burgers, classic fried snacks, and creative flavors of flurries (ice cream with toppings mixed in). On Oct. 25, the eatery debuted its newest flurry. Called the “GaylaCake Flurry,” the dessert is a smooth concoction of chocolate and yellow cake crumbles with cream cheese icing from GaylaCake (320 N. Main St.) mixed into soft serve vanilla ice cream.
Built into the handmade rows of shelves filled with books, board games, and artwork inside Your Brother’s Bookstore is the vision of two passionate book lovers who just so happen to be brothers. Sam and Adam Morris opened Your Brother’s Bookstore in Downtown Evansville on Oct. 1. The two Evansville natives moved backed to the River City after years living in different parts of the country — Adam working on Wall Street in New York City, and Sam spending time across the nation while serving in the Air Force.
The former Walton Motor Co. building at 956 Parrett St. is once again accepting patrons to its sprawling, industrial-style dining space and patio. Owner Tim Mills opened casual barbecue restaurant Walton’s Smokehouse and Southern Kitchen on Oct. 21 after rebranding from Walton’s International Comfort Food which closed in July 2021. Mills, who also owns Read St. BBQ at 421 Read St., operates Walton’s on the main floor. Fidel’s Bourbon & Cigar Bar remains on the second level.
It’s not Mexican Halloween. It’s not even intended to be spooky. Día de los Muertos is often misunderstood in the U.S., but organizers of Henderson, Kentucky’s Day of the Dead celebration this year are hoping to educate the Tri-State on the meaning of the ethnic holiday and make Hispanic residents feel more at home.
The Tri-State is geared up for a festive Halloween weekend with corn mazes, trunk or treat events, and more that are sure to spook your socks off. Check out these Halloween Happenings! Bar Louie HaLOUween Trunk or Treat 5-8 p.m. Oct. 28 Bar Louie, 7700 Eagle Crest Blvd.
After a quarter century in the acting industry, few projects have excited Amanda Henn quite like the Evansville resident’s latest film “The Fight That Never Ends,” a story of love, justice, and perseverance.
Welcome to our staff Q&A! We plan to periodically introduce you to members of the Tucker Publishing Group team via a quick Q&A about us. Who has worked at TPG the longest? What past issues of Evansville Living are our favorites? Who has the fiercest high school rivalry in the office? Keep an eye trained here to find out!
The concrete walls and austere architecture of Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union Plaza is one of the last places lunchgoers may expect to find one of Downtown’s most popular coffee shops and eateries. Obscured behind an unassuming gray door at the corner of the plaza’s entrance at 1 S.E. Ninth St., The Daily Grind is a portal, transporting customers to fresh food, hot drinks, and a relaxed social environment.
There’s nothing quite like the atmosphere walking into Space Monkey Records. Rock music is blaring. Vinyl records in sturdy, branded bins line the walkways. Retro decor sends you back to a time when a needle and a turntable could carry a tune.
It will be impossible for Evansville residents to claim boredom this weekend, with enough live events — and widely varied ones, at that —to satisfy any interests. From haunted hayrides and twilight tours, to flights of craft beer and Shakespeare set to Mendelssohn, get out of the house and see the Tri-State’s best sights this weekend.
If you’re driving on Diamond Avenue early — very early — Saturday morning, you might notice a group of people along the side of the road rolling a massive tractor tire. But don’t be alarmed, they are rolling for a purpose.
Oktoberfest celebrations may traditionally end the first weekend of October, but you can still find festive German cuisine at Knob Hill Tavern, 1016 Hwy 662 West, Newburgh, Indiana, through the end of this month. Unveiling its Oktoberfest menu for the 30th consecutive year, Knob Hill Tavern drives German heritage home, with 16 appetizers, sandwiches, dinners, desserts, and even an Oktoberfest pizza.
Refurbished with black trim and gold details, the O’Donnell Building at 22 N.W. Sixth St. has reopened for the first time since Bethuram Vacuum Cleaners closed its doors in 1997. Purchased by Carl Arnheiter and his wife Jessica Jeffries in 2017, the space now is alive as The Arcademie bar and arcade. Built in 1905 with a second story added in 1911, the O’Donnell Building was left uninhabited when Bethuram closed, but was frozen in time. Rows and rows of vintage vacuums from the 1940s and ’50s remained, waiting for a buyer like Arnheiter to discover them.
Amid the contented grumble of bellies full of fried goodies and cheers of revelers enjoying carnival rides, the West Side Nut Club’s annual Fall Festival rakes in money for local civic organizations and non-profits. Although a yearly celebration and one of the best ways Evansville sets itself apart from other cities, the festival is, at its core, a fundraiser.
The most wonderful time of the year in Evansville comes in the fall. Each October, Franklin Street plays host to the West Side Nut Club’s Fall Festival. A fried food extravaganza, the Fall Fest churns out comforting favorites found only once a year and intriguing delicacies that make even the most seasoned foodies do a double take.
Of Evansville’s long history in Southwestern Indiana, one annual tradition has stood the test of time and become the River City’s largest and most notable attraction, reliably drawing more than 100,000 attendees each year. Celebrating its 96th year, the West Side Nut Club’s Fall Festival began in October 1921 when a group of West Side businessmen formed an organization that would handle the duties of putting together a festival to promote and support the West Side and Evansville as a whole.
In the September/October issue of Evansville Living, we caught up with Olympians Lilly King and Jackie Young. Both Tri-State natives medaled at the delayed 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, and both had unique journeys in getting there.
It’s one of Evansville’s favorite times of year — the West Side Nut Club is gearing up for its annual Fall Festival on Franklin Street. This year’s festival beginning on Oct. 4 and running through Oct. 9 will celebrate 100 years of the Nut Club’s commitment to supporting Evansville through a week of entertainment and charity.
The Vanderburgh County Commissioners unanimously approved a $39.6 million contract Tuesday for AT&T to be the provider for a second broadband project that will bring high-speed internet service to unincorporated areas of Vanderburgh County. The project, funded through a $29.7 million investment from AT&T and $9.9 million of public funding available through the federal American Rescue Plan Act, will offer residents the option of up to two Gbps (Gigabits per second) and businesses up to five Gbps of symmetrical service speeds.
Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated annually in the United States from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 and began as National Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968 under President Lyndon B. Johnson. In Evansville, the month hosts a series of events to recognize the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans.
Fall has arrived, and with its generous rain and cooler temperatures comes an ideal time to prepare your garden for its 2022 blooming seasons. As you plot the stars of next year’s garden, consider installing plants and shrubs native to Southern Indiana. Although they’ve recently become more fashionable, native plants have long been good to Tri-State soil and pollinators.
Along historic Jennings Street in Newburgh, Indiana, sits one of the town’s newest businesses: a pub where residents can enjoy music, comedy shows, and a refreshing cocktail. Jennings Street Public House, which labels itself as Newburgh’s neighborhood living room, specializes in cocktails using organic and homemade ingredients.