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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

A different kind of soul

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Indy has a restaurant with a new take on soul food ­­– Daisy’s House of Flavor. Located in Brightwood, it has been serving tasty selections since 2008.

What makes it different? Healthier food for starters. Owner Dana Elmore is aware of the public perception of soul food – lots of starch, butter and fat. Her business gets around that. “I offer products a lot of places don’t,” she says. “Our food has fresh ingredients. At the same time, our food cuts down on unhealthy stuff. You don’t have to coat things in salt and butter to make them tasty.”

At Daisy’s, seasoning is a compliment to natural flavors, not the star of the show. And that is OK. Fresh ingredients taste good naturally, and are healthier than processed ones, too. Making meals from scratch also ensures quality.

A low-sodium batter is used on carry-out options like fried fish and chicken, maintaining the taste you would expect with fewer calories. Soul dishes are offered through the catering service, and feature lean yet tasty meats. Turkey dishes, such as turkey lasagna and turkey burgers, are her signatures. I tried the turkey meatballs, served over rice with homemade gravy. It made me realize that Elmore practices what she preaches. The turkey mixed perfectly with green peppers, onions and a little seasoning, creating a harmony of simple, natural flavors. It tasted like something from grandma’s house, and we all know grandma can cook.

Elmore certainly does. Her 93-yearold grandmother Daisy, the namesake of the restaurant, taught her a thing or two. “My grandma cooked for 13 kids by herself. It was always delicious,” she says. “I don’t use recipes or measuring cups. She taught me how to be tuned in to food.”

It was not easy opening this business. Elmore left a well-paying job in Carmel to open the eatery in Brightwood. “I know I have a good product,” she says. “I started cooking for my family at 13. When we first opened, I was the only employee and cooked everything myself. I would sometimes start at 4 a.m. and not get home until 1 the next morning. If you enjoy what you do and put hard work into it, it will pay off.”

It has indeed paid off for her. It’s been hard for any small business to survive the recession, let alone a solo carry-out and catering outfit. The fact that Daisy’s is going strong is a testament to its quality.

In addition to turkey, she offers catfish, pork chops, wings and more. Extended catering options, including favorite blackened salmon, are online at daisysflavor.com. Sides like coleslaw, greens and okra compliment any meal, and the homemade desserts are a special treat (Note: the punch bowl cake is delicious.) Whatever you try, Daisy’s won’t disappoint.

Visit Daisy’s House of Flavor at 3622 E. 25th St. or call (317) 591-0167.

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