Jon Bois… Cancel your reservation at Applebee’s. I got your Indianapolis Good Eats list right here!
Jan 26, 2012, Updated May 25, 2023
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Ok – I don’t know who Jon Bois is, but I do know that his most recent column on SBNation.com really bothered me. Who does this boy from Louisville think he is? And exactly how are Indianapolis’ 17 Applebee’s a correlation to his sarcastic slam of our city’s dining scene? Our globally-respected & food-savvy neighbor, Chicago, has 19 Applebee’s. Check your facts, Jon Boy, before you go off slamming MY hometown.
Yes, I’m the Produce Mom – but you don’t fall in love with food by eating nothing but leaf lettuce. I’m a foodie and I’m obsessed with patronizing local/family-owned places.
Here are my 12+1 reasons why I disagree with you, Jon Bois… cocky author of Superbowl Recipes, Indianapolis Style: How to Applebee’s it up for the Big Game
All hand-made chocolates. All hand-packed. All made in-house at their quaint store front/kitchen on the east end of Massachusetts Ave. Try the Sea Salt Caramel, Jon.
11. Los Chilaquiles
In a jaded strip mall near 38th & Lafayette Road, you will find the best Mexican food in Indianapolis. I have been honored to work & dine with world-renowned Chef Rick Bayless, known around the globe as the voice of authority when it comes to Mexican cuisine. So, that makes me the voice of authority when it comes to Mexican cuisine in Indy. Los Chilaquiles is not your typical family-owned Mexican joint. No sticky white cheese & microwaved chimichangas here. Instead, try the lengua sopes or the mole enchiladas.
My favorite of the Fountain Square eats. And mark my word… Fountain Square will soon be the destination in Indianapolis for the most adventurous & unique dining. There are maybe 10 tables in the dining room at Tortas Guicho and over 20 tortas on the menu, all named after celebrities! I’ve tried them all & my favorite is the Helio Castroneves. No where in the Circle City will you find a better sandwich for your buck. The tortas are huge and less than $8 each.
9. Food Trucks, baby.
Starting Friday, January 27th, the streets near Monument Circle will be transformed into a Food Truck Food Court. Here our XLVI visitors will be able to sample all of the finest of Indy’s Mobile Eats. I am obsessed with Food Trucks. I follow all of them on Facebook & Twitter and I chase them around the city at least 1x a week for lunch. I had Groovy Guys Fries set up shop in my backyard for little Joe’s 4th birthday party. I enjoy the cupcakes from Scout’s, and appreciate the healthy menu done by Duos, but my #1 all time favorite food truck is Scratchtruck. Matt is the chef/owner & I like to refer to him as the Godfather of Indy’s Food Trucks. His menu is comfort food with an eclectic flair. He makes refreshing beverages like watermelon jalapeno lemonade & also stocks Mexican cokes (any foodie knows Mexican cokes are the best). But the real claim to Matt & Scratchtruck’s fame is the signature Scratchburger. It’s cooked to perfection & then topped with bacon marmalade & arugula.
These are grouped together because Breadsticks & Pizza belong together. And Pasquale’s has the best sticks I’ve ever had, while the NBO is hands-down the best pizza pie in the city… my husband (who has put down a few pies) would probably boast it as the best pizza in the nation, or at least the best he’s ever had.
7. New Day Meadery
What’s a bunch of good eats without some good drinks? My friends & I did the Indy Wine trail for my 30th birthday & New Day was the easy highlight of all the wineries we visited. Some wineries, like some of the people who drink nothing but wine, can be really pretentious. Not New Day. Tia & Brett are without doubt 2 of the greatest additions to the Indianapolis Entertainment/Dining Scene. They own & operate New Day and they are true ambassadors for the eat local movement and participants in the Indiana Artisan program. You should of course do the tasting when you visit, but take home a growler of the South Cider. It’s the official drink of the GNO Cave – For all you “Man Cave” fanatics… that’s the Girls Night Out Cave aka my basement.
6. Sun King Brewery
Indianapolis is also home to a solid handful of local breweries. Sun King is the best. Again, do the sampling. My brother goes almost every Friday and fills up our growlers on $5 fill day. We prefer the Cream Ale, but have been known to put down some Wee Mac, too.
I love the ambiance of Iozzo’s. Especially in the summertime when the courtyard is open. Enjoy one of the signature dishes, many of which date back to 1930 when the restaurant originally opened in Indy. The Spinach Salad is one of my lunchtime favorites & the best I’ve had in the Circle City. Owners Katie & Greg are friendly & business-savvy. Look for Iozzo’s to continue to do great things in the local dining scene. And, Jon, the courtyard that I love so much will be a heated VIP tent during the Big Game weekend.
When the sweet tooth strikes, head south towards Madison & Epler and enjoy one of the delightful cupcakes, or any of the other treats in Kim’s case. The offerings change daily & I have never had anything taste less than delicious at Kim’s. I love this place so much that I suggested to my beautiful sister that she consider Kim’s for her upcoming wedding cake. Can I just say that I’m as excited about the cake & dessert bar at her reception as I am gaining Matt as my brother-in-law? Seriously, though. Go to Kim’s. They do gluten free goodies & bake fresh bread daily, too.
3. The Loft
Traders Point Creamery is widely known for their premium dairy products – I absolutely love the wildberry yogurt! But the real highlight of Traders Point is their restaurant, The Loft. The Loft focuses on local, organic & seasonal ingredients. The menu is always tantalizing & changes frequently. Remember when Kendra lived in Indy? I know you watch the show, too! Remember when Holly came to visit Kendra & they went out to eat? Yep. They dined at The Loft. If it’s good enough for K-Dub…. It’s good enough for me!
2. Black Market
If I were to cheat on my husband, it would be with Black Market. Can you have a romantic relationship with a gastropub? This place is without doubt my favorite bar… ever… anywhere. From the atmosphere to the eccentric food & beverage options – it really is perfect. Again, look for a menu that changes, but you can always count on the Black Market Burger, it’s topped with their goat cheese spread, grilled red onions & house-made pickles.
If you know me…. You know this is my favorite restaurant. I celebrate every birthday with dinner at Iaria’s & pout if Chip tries to take me out to eat at any location other than this Indianapolis landmark. I almost always get the cheese tortellini with 2 meatballs & an antipasto salad… but the chicken marsala is another favorite. I love this place so much, that I am a waitress here. I am working as a server during the lunch shift on the Saturday before the game, February 4th. I would like to personally invite Mr. Jon Bois to be my guest for lunch on Saturday at Iaria’s. I’ll buy it for him. I’ll serve it to him. And I won’t accept any gratuity from him. Instead, I ask him to write a new column that shows some due respect to the local chefs, cooks & food industry professionals who work so hard to make Indianapolis such a great city with some amazing local eats.
Now – the “+1” on my list is a treat that you can only enjoy in May here in Indy. Turn 3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is home to a vendor that does nothing but biscuits & gravy and turkey legs. Jon, if you want to enjoy the Best Turkey Leg around…. meet me outside of Turn 3 on Sunday, May 27th. I’ll even give you a tall boy out of my track cooler to wash it all down.