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Passion: The secret ingredient behind this Crawfordsville bakery and bistro

Posted at 7:15 PM, Mar 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-08 19:15:19-05

CRAWFORDSVILLE — Chef Hannah Thompson is the owner and head chef of Maxine's on Green in Crawfordsville. So why isn’t it called Hannah’s on Green? Well, there’s a story behind the name.

“A lot of people don't know that [Maxine] is my middle name,” Thompson said. “But it's also the backstory of how I'm tied to town.”

That backstory begins with Thompson’s grandparents. Her grandfather founded Zahn’s Floor Covering in 1988, just down the street from the spot where Thompson's bistro stands today. Although Thompson never met her grandmother, it turns out that they have a lot in common.

“My mom tells me that she was an excellent cook,” Thompson said. She was Maxine Hazel Zahn, for whom the bistro is named. “There’s actually people in town that knew my grandmother.”

The family connections don’t stop there either. The rolling pins that hang in the bistro’s window were passed down from both of Thompson’s grandmothers.

While it was primarily a lunch spot for the past 7 years, Thompson is planning to flip the table on the culinary lineup at Maxine’s. Later this year, Thompson plans to extend the bistro’s hours and even add some unexpected elegance.

“I would like to flip it and do white tablecloth or special events,” Thompson said.

The Baker’s Table, as Thompson calls it, is a play on The Chef’s Table.

“Everybody knows me as the baker, and I thought what I would like to do is make it to where it would be like if I was cooking for them at my home,” Thompson said.

Dishes like a Maryland-style jumbo lump crab cake with microgreens and a creole sauce; a seared ahi tuna steak salad on a bed of arugula, radish and cucumber; or the crowd-pleasing pan-seared filet mignon with a red wine reduction sauce and a salted black truffle mashed potato. And don't forget the chocolate-covered strawberry cheesecake made from scratch.

Taste Test | Maxine's On Green

Whether at home or at Maxine’s, it's pretty clear Chef Thompson is passionate about cooking and she encourages everyone to follow their own dreams.

“Chase your passion. That is what is going to make your life meaningful and it is what is going to give your life purpose.”

Maxine's on Green is located at 116 S. Green St. in Crawfordsville. Right now their hours are Monday-Saturday from 11a to 3p, but keep an eye out this year for Maxine's to add their white-linen service on Friday and Saturday nights.

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