Steve Charles—Dan is a middle-aged guy from Arkansas who lives in the old bank across the street from Fletcher’s of Atlanta, the culinary treasure where Fletcher Boyd ’72 is chef, owner, greeter, and head magician.

“Fletcher likes to color outside the lines,” Dan says of his Atlanta, Indiana neighbor.

Talking with me later that beautiful June afternoon on the bench next to the Atlanta Music Hall, Fletcher told me where he got some of that artistry and creative thinking (though Fletcher would wince at such words used to describe him.)

His grandfather was a vaudeville magician who owned a magic shop in Indianapolis in the middle of the last century.

His great grandfather ran a restaurant downtown (as did Fletcher in the 80s—a very successful one, at that).

He ate out a lot as a kid—most nights, in fact, and all types of cuisine.

And he credits Wabash for some of his creativity. He sure talks like a liberally educated man.

“There’s really not much difference between magic and cooking,” says the chef, whose magic show, humorously based on the history of food (with Fletcher playing Julia Child, among other characters) is part of the restaurant’s fare. Those who have tasted his culinary magic agree. Fletcher calls it “contemporary Hoosier electic,” and restaurant critics say no one does it better than Fletcher’s.

What keeps Fletcher coming back to work, though, are the people—those he works with, and those he cooks for.

Spend an evening at Fletcher’s—as I did for an article we’ll publish in the “My Little Town” issue of Wabash Magazine in Winter 2008—and that joy is obvious. Even during a night when the air conditioner wasn’t working. The comfort is in the food and good company.

Here are some photos I took. They probably won’t make the article—I messed up the lighting—but I like them for the genuine interest and pleasure you see on the faces of Fletcher and his guests. I’ll throw in a shot of Robert Vankirk and Jamie, Robert’s girlfriend. The former president of the Wabash Cooking Club (where Fletcher made a tasty presentation earlier this year), Robert rode the dinner train to Fletcher’s and is writing a review for the article.

Enjoy the photos. Better yet, get out to Fletcher’s and enjoy the food! My mouth waters just thinking about it.