The next time you find yourself driving in the Cataract Falls area, give yourself a little extra time and visit the little town of Poland, Indiana for a delicious breakfast or lunch, along with some supplies or a souvenir from The Poland Grocery & Hardware (with the B&L's QuickStop diner inside - more on the great food here later), or some mom & pop home cookin' from Cook's Corner.
There are only a few operating businesses in Poland, and all are worth stopping in and enjoying the local charm. While you're at either of the two restaurants, or both as they are just right around the corner from each other, be sure to get a couple photos of the old historic Post Office building, or the two restaurants themselves, as both offer great small town character and charm.
Poland, Indiana was formed in 1841 when an Indiana land owner and blacksmith shop proprietor named James A Poland convinced three other adjacent land owners to each set aside land and form a town. Located in eastern Clay County, Poland is an unincorporated community sitting along State Road 42, southeast of the city of Brazil, the county seat of Clay County.
My Visit to Poland, Indiana
Cook's Corner was closed at the time I arrived in Poland, it closes early afternoon so arrive earlier in the day to take advantage of that location. So we ended up at the Poland Grocery & Hardware, which is owned by a young couple who do a great job with not only a good selection of groceries and a full food menu, but the cleanliness is truly amazing.
The owner admitted her mother is a clean freak, and gets up in the rafters on a regular basis to make sure you're not going to look up and see any cobwebs, dirt, or anything else that would be a sign of uncleanliness. Ironically, this was the first thing I noticed when I walked in, as I was expecting a bait shop smell ... I was wrong!
The very clean interior gave me confidence to dive into the menu, and the food was delicious. If you're looking for great homemade food, this place is a go to place. A friend had the catfish dinner special that came with three sides. The catfish was fresh and looked to be hand-breaded, the mashed potatoes and gravy were clearly homemade (a few lumps in the potatoes and pieces beef in the gravy), the tomatoes tasted like they came from a local garden, and honestly even though I don't pay a lot of attention to coleslaw, their's was some of the best I've tried.
I opted for the fried chicken dinner, and it was outstanding. The crust and seasoning were right on point and juicy. First-rate baked potato & salad. Another friend had the broccoli and cheese soup with grilled cheese sandwich. The soup was homemade and she said it was absolutely delicious. High praise, but we just didn't expect it to be that way. You can tell they take great pride in their business.
As most of the google reviews will tell you, not only is the food top-rate, but the service by the owners is great. They are very comfortable, conversational but not overbearing, and give you the feeling they know how to take care of customers.
I'm always amazed at the great business owners one can find in Indiana regardless of whether it's a rural or urban establishment. The owners of Poland Grocery & Hardware are a prime example of how good service and prices not only make for good reviews, but also great memories. And isn't that why we take drives in the country in the first place?
How to get there: 8475 IN-42, Poland, IN 47868