Greenwood’s newest restaurant is a dream come true for owners

By Clint Smith  /  Photography Josh Marshall

Reverie is, of course, a dream — a daydream, to be more precise. Aptly named is the restaurant Revery, though the spelling is a variation; this upscale collaboration of Mark Henrichs and Danny Salgado is one of the latest editions to the ever-evolving community of old-town Greenwood.

But just weeks before the grand opening, the interior of the Van Valer Building — the venerated, 150-year-old community landmark that Henrichs and Salgado had acquired for their project — resembled more of a “daydread” than a fanciful daydream: thick coatings of antique dust and debris … scuffed, wood-planked flooring containing splintered holes giving shadowed glimpses of the cellar … frayed wiring clinging to the bare walls like electric ivy. Zero equipment. No precise opening date.

Yet the duo of Henrichs and Salgado could see it. Like an imagined double exposure — concrete reality overlaid by creative vision. A dream. “It’s a raw building,” said Henrichs on the initial tour. “And it’s definitely bare-bones.” And the bare-bones concept has served the pair well, because Revery also represents a blank slate for this pair of restaurant vets. Henrichs shrugged his shoulders, examining the exposed branches of ductwork up toward the ceiling. “I don’t know,” he said, “I’ve always been a dreamer.”

Owner Henrichs hails from the Bloomington-Normal region of Illinois and is a graduate of the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago, Le Cordon Bleu, while Salgado, the restaurant’s executive chef, is a Windy City native and graduate of the estimable Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Their paths led them to Indy, where they both held head-chef gigs at several high-end restaurants. But it was at the downtown eatery Mesh where the two, well, meshed.

Business As Usual

Revery opened, as planned, in October. The restaurant’s interior blends hints of the Van Valer legacy — wide portions of aged, brick walls — while embracing contemporary touches with sleek lighting and tinges of sedated slates and grays. The tables are topped with white paper runners, and though it evokes refinement, it is actually butcher paper. And look closer: The centerpiece is a small glass jar containing crayons. The suggestion is simple: doodle, draw, have fun — a reminder of the whimsical, daydreamer-drive behind the restaurant’s philosophy. Instead of bread baskets, expect a small iron skillet filled with savory, dry-ice popcorn (the carbon creating a cool crunch). And at the end of the meal, aromatic cotton candy has replaced run-of-the-mill mints.

Over in the bar area, Henrichs points out that the weathered, vertically arranged planks lining the bar top are reclaimed wood from his family farm’s barn in Iowa. And for Henrichs, the concept of family is just as important as his dream. “Both of my grandparents have a German background,” he explains. “They had this huge garden. As a kid, I just remember my grandma canning things.”

His grandparents also owned a cozy, short-order diner called Al and Dar’s Tap, a critical influence in his formative years. “They served simple stuff, like blue-plate specials,” he says. “And I was raised really near my grandma, watching her cook. Everybody else would be watching a Cubs game or something, and I’d be in the kitchen, hanging out with grandma.”

For both Henrichs and Salgado, the Revery venture represents a return, of sorts, to the kitchen trenches. “We both cook with our own style,” says Salgado. “And for some reason” — he aims a thumb at Henrichs — “he and I just make things work. He’ll have an idea; I’ll disagree. We’ll argue about it, put our heads back together, break it down and make a dish work.”

Henrichs cuts in: “The thing about Greenwood,” he says, “is that everyone loves to eat, but they also love value.” And that sense of value is reflected in the menu offerings and the price pairings. Revery’s contemporary dinner menu is divided into “Smalls,” “Mids,” “Roughage” and “Bigs.” The “Smalls” (all $7 or less) serve one to two people — house-cut fries with choice of dipping sauce, General Tso’s pig tails, calamari served with honey wasabi, watercress and truffled ginger vinaigrette are just a few offerings. “Mids” vary from $8 — items like the sausage trio served with German potato salad, and lamb-neck Bolognese with pecorino cheese, orzo pasta and toasted crostini — and work their way up to $13 and $17, the higher-end pricing here mirroring select items, such as a generous meat and cheese board, beef tartare with egg-yolk jam and foie gras accompanied by brioche, ginger-marmalade and curry granola.

Full-size salads fall into the “Roughage” category, while “Bigs” signify entrees covering a wide-range of “relatable” culinary bases — the bacon and blue burger ($10), veal meatloaf ($11), fish and chips ($19), diver scallops and Scottish salmon (both $22). Revery will also run nightly specials of more experimental dishes. “Those rotating specials,” says Salgado, “will be our playground.”

Ultimately, there’s a common, underlying attitude about the food that Henrichs articulates. “If you won’t serve it to your mother,” he says, “then don’t serve it to a customer.”

Priding themselves on “precision cooking,” Henrichs and Salgado intend to make their mark with both exotic and fresh ingredients. There’s no microwave in the kitchen — no walk-in freezer, with the absence of the latter placing more emphasis on the required freshness of the dishes. Locally speaking, Revery has partnered with a number of Indiana farms to furnish ingredients, citing Gunthorp Farms (LaGrange), Viking Lamb (Morristown), Fischer Farms (Jasper), Heartland Beef (Bloomington) and Capriole Farms (Greenville) as central suppliers. Seafood will be arriving via Supreme Lobster, which, says Henrichs, is the best purveyor in the Midwest.

“The food is so fresh,” he explains, “people will ask, ‘How’d they achieve that?’”