5 New Places for Couples to Dine & Drink in Hamilton County

Whether you’re looking for the perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, a fun date night idea or a sweet spot to treat your significant other, you’ll find all this and more in Hamilton County, Indiana.

We spent most of last year exploring the top nine date spots around the county, but we’ve got five more to add to the list, thanks to our date day, sponsored by Hamilton County Tourism.

These five new spots – Grindstone on the Monon, Cone + Crumb, Spencer Farm Winery, Juniper on Main and Broken Barrel – all opened in 2019 and, judging by the experiences we had, they’re sure to be pretty busy in 2020.

Here’s an overview of our date day:

Hamilton_county_novel_map (1)

  • Lunch: Grindstone on the Monon
  • Dessert: Cone + Crumb
  • Wine Tasting: Spencer Farm Winery
  • Dinner: Juniper on Main
  • Cocktails: Broken Barrel

Both of our meals were under $50, and our dessert and drinks were well under $25 each (except we did splurge at Spencer Farm Winery and bought a bottle of wine, because #treatyoself).

In this blog post, we’ll take you through our full-day adventure, breaking down our thoughts on each spot’s atmosphere, service and menu. Plus, we outline our recommended date itineraries at the end!

Note: Hamilton County Tourism funded our date, but all opinions in this blog are our own, as we only endorse experiences, places and products we love and think our readers will love too. 

5 New Date Spots in Hamilton County

1. Grindstone on the Monon

Opened August 2019 at 17470 Wheeler Rd. – Westfield

Grindstone on the Monon

Our date day began with lunch at Grindstone on the Monon, an American-themed, classy but casual restaurant that offers something for every taste – from poutine and sliders to salads and pasta.

We arrived around 1 p.m., when the restaurant was busy but not overcrowded. I don’t know if it’s because the food was so good or the service was so fast (or a combination of both), but we were in and out within an hour, making this a great spot for a quick lunch date.

On the Menu

Here’s what we ordered:

  • Drinks: Water and Soda
  • Appetizer: Fried Green Tomatoes (hand-breaded and fried golden brown, with parmesan, parsley and chipotle ranch)
  • Mike’s Dish: Chicken & Noodles (flavorful broth with chicken, carrots, celery, herbs, homestyle egg noodles, served over yukon gold mashed potatoes and green beans)
    • Substituted mashed potatoes for sweet potato fries
  • Emily’s Dish: Hot Honey Dijon Chicken (grilled chicken breast glazed with hot honey dijon, served with yukon gold mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables)
    • Substituted roasted vegetables for green beans and bacon

Grindstone on the Monon

The food was so delicious that we made the mistake of eating all of it (knowing full well we had an entire day of drinking and eating ahead of us). 😂

We’re fans of fried green tomatoes, but it’s rare that you find a restaurant that prepares them properly. They’re usually either too sweet or the texture just isn’t quite right. Here, they were perfectly sweet and crunchy, and melted in our mouths. The only debate we had was: Do you eat them with your fingers or a fork?

Mike’s dish was hearty and filling – a good winter staple. My chicken was tender and the dijon added an interesting and unexpected kick. We loved the green beans and sweet potato fries too.

Overall, the food at Grindstone on the Monon was great, the service was fast and friendly and the experience was pleasant.

2. Cone + Crumb

Opened June 2019 at 205 Park St. – Westfield

Cone + Crumb

To be embarrassingly honest, we had no idea what slab pies were before our dessert date at Cone + Crumb. For anyone else who’s as clueless as we were, they’re shallow pies that are prepared in rectangular baking sheets instead of traditional round pans.

Either way, we knew we had to try a piece – and it did not disappoint! Of course, you can’t have pie without a little ice cream, right?

On the Menu

Here’s what we ordered:

  • Mike’s Dessert: 1 Scoop of Coconut Latte (vegan)
  • Emily’s Dessert: 1 Scoop of Fireside S’mores
  • Treat to Share: 1 Slice of Apple Brown Butter Slab Pie

Cone + Crumb

We’ve never met a dessert we didn’t like, and that includes our sweet treats at Cone + Crumb. What’s not to love about ice cream and pie? Even in the winter, we’re always in the mood for a cold scoop. Our total was less than $12 and was the perfect addition to our lunch at Grindstone.

What made the experience even better was the cute and quaint atmosphere of the shop, as well as the company of our table neighbors, Jessalyn and Rachel, with whom we exchanged stories about their home state of Utah.

3. Spencer Farm Winery

Opened October 2019 at 7015 E. 161st St. – Noblesville

Spencer Farm Winery

Located adjacent to Spencer Farm in a former residence built in 1883, this charming winery is a great new addition to Hamilton County.

We walked right up to the counter and began our guided tasting, which costs just $5 (plus tax) for five 1-ounce pours.

The list of nearly 20 wines are crafted from the grapes in the Spencer Farm Vineyard, which was planted in 2016. One of the most interesting pours is “The Mistake”, which was supposed to be a white wine but some red mixed in during the bottling process. It may be billed as a mistake, but we think it was a good one!

On the Menu

Here’s what we ordered:

  • Mike’s Tasting
    • “The Mistake”
    • Mulled Red
    • Blueberry
    • Traminette
    • Peach & Honey
  • Emily’s Tasting
    • Catawba Rosé
    • Syrah
    • Sweet Harvest Red
    • Pinot Grigio
    • Peach & Honey

Spencer Farm Winery

We’re sweet wine drinkers, so naturally our favorites were the Peach & Honey (the winery’s second best-seller) and Traminette (considered “Indiana’s wine”). Here are the descriptions for each:

  • Peach & Honey: This unique wine is loaded with the flavor of honey, as well as hints of clover. The honey then gives way to a peach aftertaste. This wine is a fan favorite of those that like sweet wines.
  • Traminette: This semi-sweet wine has a Muscat-spice character bursting with fresh flavors of ripe apples and pears, mingled with the sweetness of violets and apple blossoms.

Following close behind were the Syrah (the winery’s best-seller), Catawba Rosé and Blueberry – which is made with only blueberries, no grapes.

All wines are 12% ABV, except the Cabernet Sauvignon (13.3%) and Syrah (14.65%). If you want more of a taste, you can sit down with a glass – ranging from $5-$6 – or a bottle – $18-$22. We took home a bottle of the Peach & Honey for $18.

4. Juniper on Main

Opened August 2019 at 110 E. Main St. – Carmel

Juniper on Main

Juniper on Main, which serves Southern coastal cuisine, is a sweet and romantic restaurant perfect for your next date. Beyond the delightful staff and delicious food, one of the things we enjoyed most was the bright and airy lighting.

Often, restaurants dim their lights not only to create a romantic ambiance, but also to encourage you to overindulge. In fact, studies have shown that eating in a dimly lit restaurant can cause you to eat more and choose unhealthy options.

But we’d much rather dine in a cheery atmosphere, where we can see our food (and each other!).

On the Menu

Here’s what we ordered:

  • Drinks: Water
  • Appetizer: Brussels Sprouts (rosemary vinaigrette, toasted pecans, dried cranberries)
  • Mike’s Dish: Crab Rangoon Tacos (house crab cake, scallion cream cheese, sweet chili sauce, cabbage)
  • Emily’s Dish: Off-menu burger special (pimento cheese, fried onions and bacon jam on Texas toast, with a side of basil aioli)

Juniper on Main

Both dishes were absolute all-stars. While the burger was an off-menu special, the restaurant is considering adding it as a permanent item on their next menu refresh – and for good reason.

Surprisingly light, but packed with tons of flavor, this burger was one of the best I’ve ever had. The standout on Mike’s plate was the side of coconut rice and citrus black beans – a menu staple.

We didn’t have room for dessert (for obvious reasons), but we’ll happily return for another date night!

5. Broken Barrel

Soft-Opened March 2019 at 1156 Keystone Way S. – Carmel

Broken Barrel

Broken Barrel, connected to Wolfies Grill next door, is a sleek and sophisticated 1940s lounge serving bourbon, whiskey, cocktails and more.

Forget everything we said about lighting – this dimly lit, speakeasy-style bar creates the perfect mood for a late-night drink with your significant other.

On the Menu

Here’s what we ordered:

  • Mike’s Drink: Coffee Old Fashioned (Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel, St. George NOLA Coffee Liqueur, Brown Sugar Simple Syrup, Chocolate Bitters)
  • Emily’s Drink: Chocolate Boulevardier (Jim Beam Black, Campari Liqueur, Sweet Vermouth, Chocolate Bitters)

The smooth mixed drinks, combined with the classy atmosphere, made for a romantic end to our Hamilton County date day.

We sat at the bar, but if you’re lucky enough to snag a seat in one of the leather chairs, you can watch classic black and white films while enjoying your drink and your date.

Planning Your Hamilton County Date

Option 1: Date Day

Follow the itinerary in this blog post to create your own full-day date! We started with lunch around 1 p.m. and ended at Broken Barrel around 9 p.m.

For this option, we recommend ordering a lighter lunch and finding an activity to do between dessert and the wine tasting. We had about a two-hour break during our date day, which would be the perfect opportunity to add a round of Topgolf or another activity to your itinerary.

Option 2: Lunch & Dessert

If you’re short on time, or perhaps haven’t been dating your significant other very long, try a low-pressure lunch and dessert date. These two locales were perfect for an informal date.

Option 3: Dinner & Drinks

Whether you want to try all three spots – Spencer Farm Winery, Juniper on Main and Broken Barrel – or just two of them, you can never go wrong with dinner and drinks.

Option 4: À la Carte

Try each spot separately and, voilà! You’ve got your next five dates planned.

For more Hamilton County date ideas, check out our blog post Top 9 Date Spots in Hamilton County, Indiana, or request your free copy of the 2020 Hamilton County, Indiana, Travel Guide

Replay our date day: Follow us on Instagram @travtwogether to check out our Hamilton County, Indiana Story Highlight!

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