Haitian restaurant is a taste of home for owner and chef

Joseph Mickerson has worked in restaurants for most of his life, from Florida to Texas to Indiana. Now, after moving to Indianapolis six years ago, he has opened a Haitian restaurant in the Circle City serving the flavors that remind him of home.

Joseph was born in Port-au-Prince, the capital city of Haiti. He moved to Orlando, Florida as a teenager in the early 1990s and washed dishes at a restaurant to make ends meet. With the guidance of a supportive boss, Joseph progressed to prep cook and eventually to a management position. Later, he held other positions within the industry. Joseph proudly says he can “cook any food” because of his extensive background in the restaurant industry.

After leaving Florida, Joseph briefly worked in Texas before moving to Indianapolis in 2013 with his two young sons. Once settled into the community, Joseph furthered his culinary education by cooking at an Ethiopian restaurant, African-Caribbean eatery and Brazilian steakhouse.

While Joseph enjoyed honing his skills in restaurants, he wanted to open his own establishment in Indianapolis and be head chef. In October 2019, he opened Bon Appetit in Indy’s International Marketplace. The Haitian restaurant, located at 4225 Lafayette Rd., serves traditional dishes such as fried plantains and spicy slaw, along with staples such as rice and meat. Joseph said he hopes people will appreciate the time and effort it takes to prepare authentic Haitian food as he exposes guests to the flavors of the island.

Haitian food has a special place in the Mickerson family. Joseph’s mother and sister, who still live in Port-au-Prince, are proud of what Joseph has accomplished. He credits his skill in the kitchen to his mother’s lessons. When they speak on the phone, he jokes with her that he will soon cook better Haitian food than she does. Joseph laughs as she indignantly retorts, conceding that while he is a skilled chef, he is “never better than mom.”

Joseph credits his achievements to God and is grateful for the blessings in his life. After years of hard work in the restaurant industry, Joseph is “more than proud” to open Bon Appetit and serve the Indianapolis community.

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