Downtown Kokomo Eateries Continue to Grow

Shrimp & Pepper Sauté over Red Beans & Dirty Rice.  Photo credit: Boondocks Food & Spirits in Downtown Kokomo

Shrimp & Pepper Sauté over Red Beans & Dirty Rice. Photo credit: Boondocks Food & Spirits in Downtown Kokomo

The choices for eateries in Downtown Kokomo have continued to grow over the past year, with a variety of culturally diverse flavors and choices available.  Joining anchor restaurants Cook McDoogal’s Irish Pub, Main Street Cafe, and Foxes TrailBoondocks Food & Spirits recently opened on the Courthouse Square offering an authentic Cajun experience. Selections include Po Boy sandwiches, bourbon pecan pie, crab cakes, frog legs, and catfish.  Burgers, steaks, pasta, and chicken are also on the menu, and check out live music on the weekends.

Earlier this year, Oscar’s Pizza and 3 Amigos Mexican Grill opened in the Depot District behind the L.E. & W. Railroad Depot on Buckeye Street.  Other eateries and bakeries recently new to the Downtown’s Historic Depot District include Gabetta’s (with unique burgers, paninis, and breakfast served all day) and the Gingerbread House Bakery, known for doughnuts and sweet treats.

Now is a great time to visit Downtown!  Not only to enjoy a good meal, but also to explore unique shops, art, walking & biking trails, and historic sites.

First Friday Kokomo: A Family Experience

First Friday provides a great opportunity to bring your family to Downtown Kokomo.  While we have attended before, I thought I would share our family’s experience during last month’s First Friday in photos.

Our adventure started at Artworks Gallery.  We looked at the beautiful artwork on display and enjoyed watching the local artist demonstrations.  There is so much to see on both floors!

Artworks Gallery

 

Then, we headed to Planet Mind and Kokomo Toys & Collectibles (two of my son’s favorite downtown stores!)  He made an edible craft while at Planet Mind.  We took our time exploring both shops (while he made mental notes of the items he wants to add on his Christmas list already!)

Planet Mind

When we left Planet Mind, we ran into a couple of interesting characters on the sidewalk – pirates!  Well, not real pirates as my son thought.  They were promoting an upcoming event in Kokomo and drew quite a bit of attention!

Re-enactors

 

Some of the Kokomo Downtown Farmers’ Market vendors were there.  We shopped and enjoyed samples.  And learned more about the weekly market (and brand new Little Sprouts program for kids.)  It felt like a festival!

Farmers' Market vendors


 Farmers' Market booth

As we walked around, we stopped to listen to great, live music performed on Walnut Street.  Musicians from the Sound of Music’s Rockstar Academy were playing.


Live Music

 

Sound of Music was celebrating its 30 year anniversary.  So, we helped them celebrate by joining the party!

Sound of Music

 

Next, my son got his face painted (with a mischievous moustache!) and got a balloon animal hat made.  Of course, he requested an elephant – his favorite animal!

Balloon Animals
There was so much to see and do!  The restaurants were busy, and the flowers were in full bloom.  Downtown was the perfect setting to enjoy a Friday evening.

First Friday crowd
After several more stops and looking at the “Chalk the Block” sidewalk artwork, it was finally time to go home.  And make plans to attend the next First Friday!

Balloons & Fun

 

First Friday is held year-round on the first Friday of every month from 5:30-9:00 p.m.  While the activities change each month, you can bet you will find artists, music, and tons of fun in Downtown Kokomo!  Visit www.firstfridaykokomo.com to learn more.  The next First Friday “A Tribute to Innovation” will be held on July 4th, where you can get your pic in the Pioneer! Hope to see you there!

Plan a Summer Getaway to Kokomo!

Kokomo Beach Family Aquatic Center

Kokomo Beach Family Aquatic Center

 

Kokomo is a short drive for a fun (and very affordable) family-friendly weekend getaway.

Spend the day enjoying high-energy water slides, riding on the lazy river, playing in the splash pad, and swimming at Kokomo Beach Family Aquatic Center.  Admission is only $5 for adults and $4 for youth (ages 2-11.)

For a local experience, make sure you visit one of Kokomo’s local restaurants. Several are located Downtown in unique, historic buildings!  These include The DistrictFoxes TrailCook McDoogal’s Irish PubDrakes Bar & GrillPepperwhistle Bakery & CafeMain Street Cafe, and Jamie’s Soda Fountain.

Learn more about Kokomo’s rich history at the Elwood Haynes Museum, Seiberling Mansion, Kokomo Opalescent Glass Factory, or Kokomo Auto Museum.  Or explore the Historic Downtown Architecture Walking Tour!

Elwood Haynes Museum

Elwood Haynes Museum

Check out fun-filled festivals and the Summer Concert Series at the Kokomo Arts Pavilion in Downtown’s Foster Park.  Enjoy FREE admission to all concerts and festivals!  Many genres are represented with a great line-up of talented musicians and well-known bands, including rock, country, and blues.  For a list of all concerts this summer, go to www.KokomoSummerSeries.com. Upcoming festivals include:

Haynes-Apperson Festival – July 3-5, 2014
Parade, car show & cruise-ins, food, fireworks, rides, and concerts featuring Molly Hatchet, Here Come the Mummies, and 38 Special.  To see a full schedule of events, visit their website at www.haynesappersonfestival.org.

WeberFest – August 2, 2014
Food, medieval festival, and afternoon KidsFest.  Evening concerts will feature Cracker along with several opening bands.

Taste of Kokomo – August 16, 2014
Enjoy the tastes of local Kokomo cuisine from over 30 restaurants, beer garden, food competitions, kid’s activities, and concerts featuring American Idol winner David Cook.

While visiting Downtown, take time to explore local shops and trails.  The Wildcat Creek Walk of Excellence and Industrial Heritage Trail are perfect for walking, running, and biking.  Don’t miss the colorful murals created by local artisans located along the trails and throughout Downtown!

Wildcat Creek Walk of Excellence

Wildcat Creek Walk of Excellence

Love comedy?  Laugh House Kokomo just opened this month bringing premium, live comedy to Downtown Kokomo.  Upcoming summer shows include Donnie Baker, Steve-O, and Jamie Kennedy. Visit their website for ticket information.

To plan your summer getaway, call the Greater Kokomo Visitors Bureau at 800-837-0971, go to www.VisitKokomo.org or download the free Visit Kokomo mobile app!

Download the Visit Kokomo Mobile App – for local information at your fingertips!

The Visit Kokomo mobile app now has a NEW design!  Check out our newly updated and redesigned app that has a fresh, new look and is more user-friendly than ever.  Find information on local attractions, local restaurants, tours, upcoming events, walking & biking trails, and much more.  The Visit Kokomo app is FREE and available on both Apple & Android devices.

Kokomo mobile app screenshot - Things to Do

 

Think Local for Holiday Parties & Family Gatherings!

The holiday season is here and all those holiday gatherings will be in full swing.  Kokomo has several local establishments that will allow you to celebrate the season in “Kokomo Style”!  When planning that holiday office party or family Christmas gathering, think local.

 

The Quarry


The Quarry
, located at 2130 W. Sycamore Street, is accepting holiday group reservations.  Experience inspired cuisine along with fully stocked bar and seasoned mixologists to handcraft your favorite holiday cocktail.  The Quarry only serves prime meats and the freshest of seafood.  The Quarry also has a private dining area that can accommodate up to 40 people. Larger groups, no problem.  Just call (765) 250-5650 for special reservations.  Visit www.thequarrykokomo.com to see upcoming events and to view the holiday menu.

Pepperwhistle Bakery and Cafe is the perfect spot for the office holiday lunch.  Located at 106 N. Main in Downtown Kokomo, this downtown eatery specializes in gourmet sandwiches and homemade desserts.  Go to www.pepperwhistle.com or call (765) 398-1851 for daily specials and holiday hours.

Drakes Bar & Grill will be celebrating its first holiday season in Downtown Kokomo.  Reserve the private dining space for that special holiday occasion.  Drake’s has a full menu and a secret family recipe for slow smoked barbeque.  Call (765) 457-1611 or visit www.drakesbarandgrill.com for reservations, specials and hours of operation.

 

Cook McDoogal’s Irish Pub


Cook McDoogal’s Irish Pub
is the place to be for any holiday occasion.  Whether you are sharing that celebratory cocktail, an intimate dinner for two or the holiday office party, Cook McDoogal’s provides exceptional atmosphere with attention to every detail of quality service.  They’re located on the square in Downtown Kokomo at 100 N. Main Street. Call (765) 450-6134 or visit www.cookmcdoogals.com for reservations or to book your holiday gathering.

For more information on local restaurants and unique dining in Kokomo, visit our website at www.VisitKokomo.org.

Enjoy Local Cuisine at the 2012 Taste of Kokomo

You won’t want to miss the 2012 Taste of Kokomo, which will be held in Downtown Kokomo from 5:00-10:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 18th.  From fantastic music, great food, live food challenges (events are listed below), kid’s activities, wine tasting and beer garden, this year’s event is setting up to be the best yet!  Below is information provided by the organizer, United Way of Howard County.  To find out more details about the festival, call (765) 457-6691 or visit their website.

The 16th annual Taste of Kokomo, voted Kokomo’s best event ten years in a row, will be held Saturday, August 18, 2012 from 5pm to 10:30pm around the courthouse square. All proceeds will benefit the United Way of Howard County.

The Taste of Kokomo offers a “taste” from local restaurants, caterers, coffee shops and pubs. From the basic to the obscure, there is something for everyone. Last year’s event found Jamaican jerk chicken, beef satay, chicken & dumplings, corn on the cob, brats and ribs lined up around the square. The dessert menu was stacked high with Texas sheet cake, sugar cream tarts and chocolate mousse. This year’s list of restaurants and menu choices is filling up quickly.

Local bands from all genres will be playing on two stages. Entry tickets sold the day of the event are $3 (children 5 and under free). Presale entry tickets will be available for $3 and includes 2 free food tickets. All food and drink items are sold for tickets not cash. One food/drink ticket is worth $1. All items cost between 1-5 ticket(s). Wine and beer will be served in the beer garden.

Bands playing at the 2012 Taste of Kokomo:
Gypsy Revival
BL Benson Band
Southside
Shiny Penny and the Critical Shoes
Rewind
Roger’s Ritual
Linda Lee

Events & Food Challenges:
5:30pm Gourmet Burger
6:30pm Burrito Chomp
7:00pm Tenderloin Throwdown
8:00pm Red on Red, Wine and Steak Pairing
9:00pm Buffalo Wild Wings’ Blazin’ Challenge
9:30pm McClure’s Orchard Wine Tasting
10:00pm Mixology, Bartending Competition

Kokomo Eateries Added to Indiana Culinary Trails


Several local restaurants and bakeries in Kokomo were recently added to the Indiana Foodways Alliance Culinary Trails.  Kokomo is now a stop along several trails established throughout the state, including Burgers & Brew Trail (Half Moon Restaurant & Brewery), Hoosier Pie Trail (Moore’s Pie Shop), Pizza Trail (Martino’s Italian Villa), Tenderloin Trail (Artie’s Tenderloin & Ray’s Drive In), Sweet Temptations Trail (J. Edwards Fine Chocolates), Just Crusin’ Trail (Ray’s Drive In), I Scream for Ice Cream Trail (Jamie’s Soda Fountain), and Prime Rib & Steak Trail (The Quarry.)

To read more or to find out about Indiana’s Culinary Trails, visit www.indianafoodways.com.