With three new eateries and a place to brew your own beer opening for business, the southside scene continues to develop

By Clint Smith

Court Street Cafe
Twenty-five years ago, Kathy Shertzer and Sherry Young first met, becoming fast friends and bonding as single moms. “Out of a love for serving others, we began to do a lot of cooking and entertaining (for) large groups,” says Shertzer, “which eventually blossomed into catering special events for our friends.”

Soon clients began urging the pair to open their own restaurant. “I think in our hearts we always knew we would — someday,” she says.

Fast-forward to 2014, when the “door of opportunity suddenly opened for us,” Shertzer says. “When we learned that the space (the former site of Indigo Duck on Court Street) was available, the dream literally took on a life of its own.”

Now the Court Street Cafe in Franklin is set to open for business in April, with made-to-order meals, like specialty pancakes, French toast and homemade biscuits and gravy, rounding out the planned breakfast menu, and soups, stews and sandwiches served for lunch.

“We believe our burgers will quickly become a favorite,” Shertzer says, adding that the lunch menu will feature a stout bacon and bleu cheeseburger. “You will literally need a knife and fork to eat it.”

Daily fare will include a signature Court Street pulled pork, served with house-made barbecue sauce and specialty salads with homemade dressings.

The ambience of the new café will echo some atmospheric elegance from the days of Indigo Duck. “We haven’t changed the interior too much,” explains Young. 

“We put on a fresh coat of gray, French Linen paint,” she adds, describing sleek black tables and chairs, glossy wood flooring and relaxing, indirect lighting. Though no alcohol is served, Court Street Cafe is utilizing the bar area for bar-top seating. 

The pair also commissioned the construction of a 16-foot table for communal seating. “This is a place where people enjoy conversation with each other,” Young explains. 

All in all, the two feel like “a restaurant seemed like a natural next step,” she adds. 

“When people are blessed by our food,” says Shertzer, “we are blessed.” For more information, visit courtstcafe.com.

Wuzzler’s Grill and Spoon
Having opened in September, Wuzzler’s Grill and Spoon has had some time to establish its rhythm, but its roots run back to the early 1990s. Business partners Jeff Board and Walter Bolinger are both Center Grove High School graduates and have, for decades, maintained a vision of operating a neighborhood restaurant. “We both have been in the restaurant/bar business since our early 20s,” says Bolinger. “And (we) have always wanted to open a place together on the southside.”

Last year, the pair was notified that the venue formerly occupied by Margarita’s in the Center Grove area was becoming available. “So when we heard that,” says Bolinger, “we jumped on it.”

Bolinger and Board share the same food service philosophies: “Great service, great quality food and local as much as possible,” Bolinger explains. “We make 98 percent of all of our items in house, from our sauces to grinding our own beef to make the burgers.”

And both have made good on creating a community-based atmosphere at Wuzzler’s (the moniker means to “mix” and is a nod to the contrasting combinations on the menu), where all are welcome.  “We have a game room for the kids with a chalkboard wall for them to draw on and games to play,” he says.

As for the menu: Find pub classics like fish-and-chips, brisket and tenderloin sandwiches and salads, as well as a collection of desserts. But the burgers draw most of the attention. “The Trojan burger,” Bolinger says, features “100 percent Angus beef mixed with jalapenos and sriracha sauce.” Another popular option is the Cheetos Chili cheeseburger,” which he lovingly describes as “messy and delicious.” For more information, visit wuzzlers.com.

Suzy’s Teahouse and Bakery
Karen “Suzy” Buckler says she’s had a dream of opening a coffee shop for more than 20 years, but, thanks in part to a few health problems, life got in the way. For relief of her ailments, she made a few dietary adjustments. She began eating only gluten-free foods and drinking bulk teas.

And Buckler, now a fully certified herbalist, will have the opportunity to educate others on how she uses herbs as health aids through her new business: Suzy’s Teahouse and Bakery.

At press time, she was putting the finishing touches on her new operation, which is scheduled to open in downtown Franklin in March. Suzy’s will specialize in gluten-free baked goods and confections including breads, pies, chocolate chip cookies and hummingbird cake, a variety of banana-pineapple spice cake. “I (will serve) homemade ice cream for those eating a slice of pie in the teahouse,” Buckler says, whose menu also will feature smoothies.

As for the tea, she will carry approximately 50 bulk varieties (both sold by the ounce and by the pound), as well as caffeine-free tisanes (steeped beverages produced from flowers, like dandelion, rather than tea leaves).

Buckler envisions Suzy’s Teahouse and Bakery blossoming into a destination. “Tea lends itself to a slower pace, which is different than that of a coffee shop,” she says. Guests will be able to “sit at the front counter and look out the window, relax with a cup of tea on the love seat or join friends around a table. There is also a child’s table for the young.”

And though the shop, which will have tea accessories, handmade greeting cards and other items available for retail, offers some gluten varieties of baked goods, the focus will be gluten-free. “There are so many allergies I want to be known by the public,” she says. “I also want people to know that just because it is gluten-free, it still tastes good.” For more information, visit suzysteahouse.com.

Throughout Indiana, the craft beer scene continues to explode, and brew enthusiast Jeremy Hough wants to help take the mystery out of making good beer. “I believe there is a sense of mystery when it comes to a lot of the products that we consume, and that includes beer,” explains Hough. “I have no idea how spaghetti is made. I assume ingredients are mixed together, and somewhere along the way something magical happens, which allows me to buy spaghetti off the shelf in the grocery store. The same is true with beer in that a lot of people know they like it, but have no idea what steps are taken to make it.”

And so he opened his southside shop, Brew-By-U, to help educate customers on the beer-making process. At Brew-By-U, customers can use equipment, recipes, ingredients and instruction to become craft-beer brewmasters, if only for a day. After creating beer on-site, they then wait two to three weeks (depending on the recipe) before returning to bottle and take home their creations. Ideally, what Hough and his team intend to do is introduce the craft of brewing to average beer-lovers and hopefully remove the mystery, he says.

At Brew-By-U, beer is divided into three categories: Select (including Nut Brown Ale, Bavarian Hefeweizen and Oatmeal Stout); Signature (Scotch Ale, Porter, Amber and India Pale Ale); and Premium (Extra Special Bitter and IPA No. 2, which requires dry-hopping, a technique employed later in the brewing process). Irish reds and IPAs are currently the most popular, he says.

In Hough’s estimation, one element in the craft beer scenario is unlikely to change. “Most booms are followed by at least a little pull back,” he says. “And I think that will happen with craft beer as well. However, I don’t see everyone going back to the large production breweries. The craft beer boom … in Indiana and across the country is here to stay.” For more information, visit brew-by-u.com.