Where to Eat in Indianapolis Right Now
The pandemic hasn’t been kind to Indy’s restaurant scene, with culinary fixtures such as Rook and Black Market, along with neighborhood icons like Broad Ripple’s Brugge Brassirie, closing their doors forever. But all is not lost. At press time, the following high-quality dining spots soldier on, each offering some combination of table service, carryout, and home delivery -- individual formulas that will no doubt change as time passes and the Coronavirus either advances or recedes. Perhaps most heartening of all, several of the entries on this list are newcomers -- proof that hope, like a freshly kneaded loaf of artisanal bread dough, is on the rise.
The gist: Enjoy authentic Mexican fare at a restaurant that’s as bright and colorful as the food on its plates.
The food: This tiny establishment is forever toying with its menu lineup, so pay particular attention to the ever-changing lunch and dinner specials. If you’re looking for a proven winner, try any of the copious varieties of street tacos.
The cost: Entrees top out at around $15 for lunch, and the mid-$20s for dinner.
How to order: Call 317-635-4444 for curbside pickup or get delivery from DoorDash.
The gist: This mom-and-pop transplant from Bloomington offers artisan pizzas blasted to crispy perfection in a thousand-degree oven.
The food: The pizzas are incredible (try the goose-infused N Do Ya Punk), but so’s pretty much everything else on the surprisingly extensive menu. At the risk of sounding lame, the wings are delicious.
The cost: A pie will set you back $10 to $20. The various wing varieties are all $11.50.
How to order: Order carryout here, or get delivery from Total Takeout.
The gist: Opened in 2010 and famous for its artisan breads and ever-changing menu, the restaurant that helped bring Fletcher Place to life is now a beloved neighborhood fixture.
The food: An ever-changing menu taking advantage of the freshest local ingredients. A Texas-style smoker has been parked in the restaurant’s courtyard for the better part of summer, turning out everything from pulled pork to rib tips.
The cost: Entrees average from the high teens to the low 20s.
How to order: Order takeout online or get delivery from Uber Eats.
Root & Bone Indy
The gist: This is the third location, after New York and Miami, for restaurateurs Janine Booth and Jeff McInnis’ unique take on the culinary traditions of the American South.
The food: Old-school recipes with new twists -- from Fried Chicken Brined in Sweet Tea to Caprese Style Sausage Gnocchi. Save room for the sticky Toffee Bread Pudding.
The cost: Entrees range from $20 to $40.
How to order: Partake of the special carryout menu, or get delivery from Seamless.
Big Lug Canteen
The gist: Enjoy a Boner Pils (a German pilsner) while giggling your way through a menu that delivers almost as many laughs as it does taste treats.
The food: New twists on tavern food, from the Fried Cheese Sub to Nashville Chicken (with mild, hot, or no sauce).
The cost: Most items range from the low teens to the high teens. You’ll be hard pressed to find much over $20.
How to order: Call 317-672-3503 for both delivery (within two miles of the restaurant) and carryout. You can also partake of Big Lug’s box lunch delivery service. Box lunch orders must be placed 24 hours in advance.
The gist: A toothsome, ever-changing menu, delicious cocktails and a legendary brunch make this one of Indy’s premier breakfast-and-lunch (but not dinner) dining spots.
The food: The impeccable food at this self-described “fine diner” enjoys national fame -- including the signature Grilled Cheese (with raclette cheese, black truffle honey, and a fried egg) and Crab Fried Rice. Be advised that the menu items (except for the grilled cheese) come and go rapidly.
The cost: Entree prices range from the mid-teens to the low 30s. The grilled cheese is $17.
How to order: Call 317-986-5131 for carryout. No delivery service available.
The gist: This whole foods purveyor takes the hell out of healthy eating. Yes they offer meat and dairy, but also some of the most hardcore raw and vegan dishes in the city. But no dinner; both locations close at 3pm.
The food: Clear your mind (and digestive tract) with a Quinoa Breakfast Bowl, and wash it down with cold-pressed juice combos sporting names like Neon Nectar, Detox Dream, and Lush Love.
The cost: Sandwiches and such go for $10 to $16; the cold-pressed juices are all $9.
How to order: Both the Broad Ripple and Mass Ave locations make arranging pickup and delivery a breeze.
The gist: Calling this James Beard semifinalist a “sandwich shop” is like calling Citizen Kane a “flick.” Formerly a resident of Pogue’s Run, it’s settled nicely into its new, semi-downtown address.
The food: Lots of sandwiches, many incorporating Love Handle’s signature smoked pork belly. You can’t go wrong with the Bunny Sandwich (jalapeno, American wurst, smoked pork belly, daikon puree, pickled red onion). Actually, you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.
The cost: Almost all the sandwiches cost between $10 and $15.
How to order: Place carryout orders at 317-384-1102 or get delivery from Grubhub.
The gist: Three Carrots has grown from a City Market food stall to the city’s top purveyor of vegan entrees that aren’t mass-produced black bean burgers.
The food: If you’re looking for meat-free versions of your favorite meals, this place obliges with everything from the Mitch and Chips (beer battered tofu instead of cod pieces) to the Pulled Seitan Sandwich (like pulled pork, but not).
The cost: Sandwiches and entrees run from $10 to $16.
How to order: Currently only curbside pickup and carryout are available. Delivery offered by DoorDash.
The gist: This Latin-themed establishment gets its name from its downtown location -- a former horse stable. It offers two levels, each with its own bar.
The food: Ever had a lamb tamale with sweet plantains and an ear of street corn? Now’s your chance.
The cost: Entrees run from $15-$20; appetizers from $5-$17.
How to order: Go here if you want curbside carryout, or get delivery from Grubhub.
The gist: One of Chicago’s most famous burger joints now offers an Indy outpost located in the middle of the Fountain Square bar and entertainment scene.
The food: Enjoy a 10-ounce burger decked in (depending on your selection) everything from chipotle mayo to herbed goat cheese to pulled pork. Or be a traditionalist and order the Kuma Burger (bacon, cheddar, sunnyside up egg, lettuce, tomato, and onion).
The cost: Burgers are $13-$15.
How to order: Call 317-929-1287 for carryout. Delivery offered by Grubhub.
La Parada Restaurant
The gist: Your one-stop shop for Mexican comfort food -- not too fancy, but also not the typical grease bombs available at many locales. Think warm tortilla chips, and entrees brightened with authentic seasonings.
The food: La Parada is the culinary version of an old FM radio station that plays “all the hits.” Pretty much everything comes with the usual rice-and-beans sides, including the carnitas and enchiladas de mole.
The cost: Entrees range from a little over $10 to almost $30.
How to order: Call 317-917-0095 for carryout or visit website. Delivery offered by ChowNow.
Taxman Brewing Co
The gist: Located in Bargersville and Fortville, this trendy “gastropub” also recently set up shop in Downtown Indy, offering Taxman beers plus other regionally made brews, ciders, and spirits.
The food: The ever-changing menu is packed with locally sourced pub-type goodies, including (at this moment) mussels and frites (French fries), pretzels and beer cheese, and fish tacos.
The cost: Sandwiches run $13-$14; entrees $15-$38.
How to order: Call 317-734-3107 for carryout. Delivery offered by Grubhub.
Super Bowl Pho
The gist: Owner Leo Nguyen uses recipes from his Vietnamese family to fill out the menu, but really, just get the pho. Nguyen personally selects each day’s meat and veggies, and the soup stock is created by simmering beef bones for as long as 18 hours.
The food: Just. Get. The. Pho. There’s plenty of varieties, from oxtail to meatballs to shrimp.
The cost: A steaming bowl sets you back between $12 and $18.
How to order: Call 317-399-7858 for carryout. Delivery offered by Uber Eats.
Salt on Mass
The gist: The seasonal menu contains everything from very fresh seafood (the eatery has no freezers, because it doesn’t keep anything long enough to warrant them), plus locally sourced meats and veggies.
The food: They do a killer lobster mac and cheese, and their center cut filet mignon is nothing to sneeze at, either.
The cost: Entrees fun from $30 to $50.
How to order: Call 317-638-6565 for carryout, or contact Grubhub for delivery.
The gist: This New Zealand burger chain’s first US location offers a refreshingly novel take on the American burger patty. Make sure to ask for a doofer -- a cardboard burger holder that keeps the juice off your shirt. Mostly.
The food: Look for deluxe takes on everything from the burgers (including the American Muscle Double) to the appropriately named Thickshake.
The cost: Burgers run from around $7 to $18, and a Thickshake will set you back $7.50.
How to order: Place carryout orders here, or visit DoorDash for delivery.