“If you don’t pick a good concept, don’t call me wondering why it didn’t work out.”
A food-industry friend’s advice regularly rolled through Lee Stanish’s mind as he weighed how to turn his weekend-warrior BBQ expertise into a (nearly) 24/7 endeavor of running a restaurant.
“Lots of people make great barbecue,” Stanish says. “I knew we had to really mix it up.”
The result? Eddie Joe’s Icehouse, a Tex Mex-infused BBQ joint in West Point inspired by Stanish’s trips to Texas, where many rural icehouses that stored ice prior to modern refrigeration have since become eateries. The name stems from a service station Stanish’s grandfather ran at his Pennsylvania farm, where Stanish’s passion for cooking took hold at a young age.
“My grandparents were also butchers, and I had a 4-H leader who hooked me up with a smoker, so it was a natural progression,” says Stanish, who smokes all of Eddie Joe’s meats himself.
The Icehouse opened in May at the former West Point Steak House, where Stanish once slung BBQ on the side during a near-decade in IT at Purdue University’s College of Agriculture. (Stanish stayed in Indiana after earning a degree in Agricultural Economics from Purdue.)
Stanish has transformed a stately steakhouse into a tangibly Texan oasis of good grub, cold brew (Shiner for true Texans, Indiana craft beers to keep it local) and Hoosier history. In the spirit of icehouses as community gathering places, Stanish pays homage to West Point’s vast champion rodeo-rider history and incorporated decor from down the road.
“The tin on the walls comes from a Darlington farm, and a lot of stuff came from people saying, ‘I have this thing …’,” he says, referencing an old-time piano in the corner that works … but needs tuning.
Nothing off-key about Stanish’s menu, however. BBQ traditionalists can enjoy platters of brisket, chicken, ham or pulled pork, with plenty of sides and a sweet potato muffin for sweet-to-heat balance.
But Stanish’s Tex Mex creations stand apart, namely the West Texas 4-Stack Enchiladas. Yes, four enchiladas stacked with pulled pork, pulled chicken or brisket; the latter is the heartiest enchilada you’ll ever encounter.
Four wing varieties offer good afterburn; savor ginger teriyaki for flavor and sweet / spicy for the fire. And while portion sizes make it difficult, leave room for the State Fair Bananas Foster, a deep-fried bread pudding made with Lafayette’s own Mary Lou Donuts and topped with bananas, caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream. It’s shareable … even if what you just read rendered your salivary glands selfish.
“It’s kind of like learning to live again in a new world,” Stanish says of his restaurateur transition. “But it’s rewarding to lead a group of people in a whole different ballgame and serve up something new.”
4941 Washington St., West Point, Indiana (one block south off State Road 25)(765) 572-2000
11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Tuesdays-Thursdays
11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Fridays and Saturdays
Appetizers, Shareables and Salads: $2.99 to $12.99
Tex-Mex, BBQ Platters, Fish and Steaks: $8.99 to $26.99
Extras: Beers (including local and Indiana craft beers) and bar drinks; takeout meals / platters; kids’ menu
Rob Ford is Tipmont and Wintek's communication director, a role he's held since 2015.
Rob has a bachelor's and a master's in Communication from Purdue University. He lives in West Lafayette with his wife and three children and has a life-sized Yoda statue in his office. Away from the office, you’ll find Rob working on his golf swing, jump shot, or hope for a Purdue basketball national title – all futile endeavors.