In the last 10 years, downtown Greencastle has seen about $30 million in public and private investment. And since being named a Stellar Community in 2011, the Putnam County city has experienced a renaissance of sorts. “The change was literally almost overnight,” said Mayor Bill Dory. “We were able to do things in sort of a dramatic push so that you saw change within a year or two.”
Around INdiana Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman visited Greencastle to learn about how the city has changed and is becoming a foodie destination.
Kristin Clary, executive director of the Greencastle-Putnam County Development Center, says the city’s relationship with DePauw University has also been crucial to its growth.
“DePauw coined a term called ‘Communiversity’ – community and university – and we know that we’re only as strong as each other,” said Clary. “We want to provide a place that is safe and fun for their students, as well as for our townspeople.”
In just under a decade, the city’s downtown has added eight new restaurants, notably the upscale Italian eatery Bridges Craft Pizza & Wine Bar in 2017 and most recently, Breadworks by Bridges. Both are owned and operated by the Greenfields Group, who one might say is single-handedly been responsible for transforming Greencastle into a foodie destination that rivals some of the best in the Midwest.
“My thought (was) let’s grow it and let’s have different restaurants, different concepts, bakeries, burger places, Italian restaurants, sushi restaurants and so far, it’s really taken off and become a big thing,” said Bridges Executive Chef Sal Fernandez.
His latest culinary project, Breadworks, serves everything from fresh doughnuts and pastries to sushi and sandwiches. But it’s the commercial bakery side that’s seen early success.
“What I found here was you either got high quality but it was really high price and it was hard to get, or you got low quality and you could get as much as you wanted, but I said, ‘Why sacrifice that? Why not be in the middle?’ said Fernandez. “We distribute to Butler University, Wabash University, DePauw University. We’re in negotiations with multiple other restaurants, but we only opened four months ago and so we didn’t expect so much volume right off the bat.”
Fernandez says the ultimate goal is to have his products distributed throughout the Midwest and the country.
And good grub is perhaps Greencastle’s ticket to what they’re hoping is the next great college town in the Midwest. And by all accounts, they’re on the right track.
“I think all of us that are in college towns realize that it’s a synergistic relationship between campus and community; if DePauw is successful, Greencastle will be successful,” said Mayor Dory. “That helps DePauw recruit faculty (and) quality students to campus so that they can continue their success.”