There are a lot of Super Bowl guides to Indianapolis out there and I'm a big believer in reading as many guides/articles as you can. Soak it all in. Whenever I'm in a new city (or revisiting one) I read a handful of guides, articles (on the 'net and in magazines). I think it's important to do some research and cross-reference information. I also try and pack as much as I can into my visit. This may seem slightly exhausting- but I want to see and do as much as possible. Fortunately- Indy is a great city to do that. You can drive from one side of the city to another (for example- downtown Indy to Carmel) in about 40 minutes- sometimes less.
Here's my list of highlights for visitors and locals on where to eat and shop in Indy. I've tried to include a lot of wallet-friendly places (chains, burgers, pizza) and a few off-the-beaten path places. Many of these places are ones that I've taken friends and family. I've purposely focused this list more on the northside of Indy, because the downtown area is well-covered in other write ups and also because I grew up on Indy's northside and I'm quite familiar with the area. And- not to beat the point into the ground-- but you can get to Indy's northside in a short period of time (also, there are a number of hotels on Indy's northside).
If you haven't read my blog before- you can read about me here. I'm definitely a foodie-- and was raised by foodie parents who owned a restaurant for years and owned a catering company and who love to travel. Although I do not work in the restaurant industry now-- I've worked in the front and back of the house of a few restaurants and catering companies. I've worked during big events- like the Kentucky Derby and Indianapolis 500.
Welcome to Indy and I hope you visit again soon (especially when it's a bit warmer)...and for you locals, check out a few of the recommended places below (I've also included some photos of food). For more information on Indy-- check out some of the links on the right side of the page- under "Indianapolis Food and Drink Blogs" and "Visiting Indianapolis/Indiana area."
I'm also on Twitter @Indianapolisamy and e-mail at indianapolisamyinfo (at) gmail (dot) com
For questions regarding parking, road closures and anything else about the Super Bowl, check out this site (indianapolissuperbowl.com)
*Please note that I've listed several restaurants web sites, along with phone numbers and addresses. Please check the web site and/or call to confirm hours of operation and other particulars.*
top row: ultra thin crust pizza from WB Pizza; hamburger from Workingman's Friend; Sun King beer
middle row: homemade pretzels from A Taste of Philly; frites from Brugge Brasserie; California roll and soft shell crab roll from Ocean World
bottom row: fried shrimp from Kona Jack's; cookie and brioche from Rene's Bakery; guacamole from El Pastorcito
top row: Athens specialty gyro from Athen's on 86th; lemongrass chicken from Sizzling Wok; pizza from Pizzology
bottom row: tacos from El Pastorcito; thin crust sausage pizza from Roselli's; Italian beef sandwich from Roselli's
Downtown (and near downtown)
Adobo Grill A small chain (original location in Chicago) serves up tableside guacamole (made to your liking), specialty margaritas and upscale Mexican. 110 E. Washington St., Indianapolis (317) 822-9990
Ralph's Great Divide This 21 and over bar/restaurant specializes in ham sandwiches and potato soup and kitschy 50s sides like pea salad. Don't forget a slice of homemade pie. A five minute cab ride from downtown. Full bar. *closed on Saturday and Sunday. 743 E. New York St., Indianapolis (317) 637-2912
Red Lion Grog House This English-style pub in Indy's hip Fountain Square has plenty of atmosphere- a fence at the bar and waitresses in kilts. But the food is the real star with hand-battered fish and homemade fries and curry sauce just waiting for the dipping. 1043 Virginia Ave., #6, Indianapolis (317) 822-4764
Workingman's Friend (WMF) This 21 and over bar/restaurant is easy to find if you keep in mind to head west on Washington Street, pass the Indy Zoo and take a right onto Belmont. Some may call WMF a dive- but I call it a gem. The burgers rock (crispy around the edges) and you've gotta wash 'em down with a big beer served up in a fish bowl goblet. *A 10 minute cab ride from downtown. They close early- so call for hours and other particulars. 234 N. Belmont Ave., Indianapolis (317) 636-2067
Broad Ripple area
Brugge Brasserie This popular pub in the heart of Broad Ripple is always packed and it's easy to see why. They serve up the best steamed mussels in Indy (prepared with a few different sauce options & bread for mopping up sauce) and you'll want to share them and get messy with your bestie or your plus one. And- don't forget the frites-- order extra sauces. Serves beer (award-winning) and wine. *Call ahead seating. 1011 a E. Westfield Blvd., Indianapolis (317) 255-0978
WB Pizza This casual eatery (and family-friendly) just a few miles from Broad Ripple, makes a divine ultra thin crust pizza with sausage. Order it with a half chef's salad (plenty of homemade dressings) and you'll be happy. Most everything is made in-house and they deliver too. Serves beer and wine. 6165 Allionsville Rd., Indianapolis (317) 205-5555
Thai Cafe If you love Thai food- you won't be disappointed with addictive dishes like pad thai and many of the curry dishes. The spring rolls are light and crispy and addictive. This place runs spicy-- so order super mild (a zero or a 1) if you don't want a lot of heat. *The restaurant is small inside- so this is always a good takeout option. Serves beer and wine. 1041 Broad Ripple Ave., Indianapolis (317) 722-1008
Athens on 86th You can't beat the gyros here, especially the Athens specialty gyro (a large portion and easily splittable), topped with pepperoncini peppers and the most heavenly tzatziki sauce. Need to pair your gyro with a side? No worries- order a side of fries, drizzled with olive oil, spices and feta cheeses and you'll be shouting Opa! in no time. Full bar. 2284 W. 86th St., Indianapolis (317) 879-8644
El Pastorcito At this authentic Mexican taqueria, the homemade guacamole is shockingly cheap (at under 3 bucks) and super delicious. Order a few tacos and practice your Spanish while watching one of the novelas on Telemundo (on one of the TVs). 7876 N. Michigan Rd., Indianapolis (317) 872-5676
Just Wing'n It Need a new wings place? Look no further. These wings are made-to-order and served up with some killer blue cheese sauce. Order a side of onion strings (think: deconstructed onion loaf- thinly breaded and thinly sliced onions) and you'll be ready for football. Full bar. *A good place for takeout. 7834 N. Michigan Rd., Indianapolis (317) 471-1021
Kona Jack's Just stepping in the restaurant- you'll think you're in a Florida seafood restaurant with netting on the walls and aquariums all over the place. Sit in the cozy sushi bar and stick to the best things-- a fried fish sandwich and some of the best fried shrimp you'll find in Indy. Yep, sometimes fried food is fine food. Seafood is flown in daily. Full bar. 9419 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis (317) 843-1609
96th Street Steakburgers If you're missing In-N-Out Burger, this fast food-style restaurant is the next best thing. It's not In-N-Out, but it's close and the homemade fries don't hurt. *bonus: drive thru. 4715 E. 96th St., Indianapolis (317) 844-6351
Ocean World If you're addicted to sushi and you need a fix, this place won't disappoint. Fresh seafood and the maki rolls are inexpensive and generous portions. Recommended: Soft shell crab roll, Hoosier roll, New York roll, Asparagus tempura roll. If you can't get in-- order takeout (don't forget a side of spicy mayo). 1206 W. 86th St., Indianapolis (317) 848-8901 (sister restaurant: Sakura)
Sizzling Wok (northwest side) Stick with the Vietnamese side of the menu and you can't go wrong with classics like lemongrass chicken and Vietnamese spring rolls. 4351 Lafayette Rd., # I, Indianapolis (317) 297-3441.
Ted's Montana Grill The northside location is quieter than the Carmel location and gets it right with perfectly cooked beef burgers and steaming hot, homemade fries. Don't forget the half sours (kind of a cucumber, kind of a pickle). Pick one of the booths in the bar. (Trader's Point) 5910 W. 86th St., Suite 134, Indianapolis (317) 875-8337
Amber Indian All of the food is cooked to order-- including standouts like vegetable samosas (served with plenty of mint chutney and tamarind chutney), tandoori chicken, chicken vindaloo (butter chicken) and lamb korma and don't forget the raita. If you don't like super spicy, ask them to dial it down a bit. Many vegetarian options. If crowded-- opt for takeout, always spot on. Serves beer and wine. 12510 N. Meridian St., Carmel (317) 580-0828
Mitchell's Fish Market Need a quick bite after a bit of shopping? Pop in the bar side of Mitchell's, order a plate of shrimp cocktail with Old Bay seasoning, served with cocktail and Louie sauce. Don't forget an icy martini. Full bar. (located in Clay Terrace outdoor mall) 14311 Clay Terrace Blvd., Suite 100, Carmel (317) 848-3474
Muldoon's Right in the heart of downtown Carmel-- you'll find this friendly Irish-style pub. Recommended: mini breaded tenderloin, buffalo chicken tender basket. Full bar. 111 W. Main St., Suite 100, Carmel (317) 571-1116
Pizzology Pizzeria & Pub Some argue what's better- the artisan pizza or the damn fine pasta dishes. Try both and you won't be disappointed. Don't forget the addictive breadsticks (straight out of the oven). Full bar. *no delivery (dine in or carryout only). 13190 Hazel Dell Pkwy., Carmel (317) 844-2550
Roselli's This casual eatery (order at the counter) serves straight up delicious Chicago thin style pizza. The Italian beef sandwich (which is served with au jus, but can be dunked too) is tasty too. Beer and wine. *delivery. *very family friendly and a good place to watch sports on one of the TVs. 4335 W. 106th St., Carmel (317) 228-9090
Quick Bites (savory & sweet)
A Taste of Philly Philly pretzels on the cheap. You bet. Don't forget one of their sauces, especially the cheese sauce with jalapeno. Order extra. 670 E. 42nd St., Indianapolis (317) 927-0109
Bagel Fair The go-to for NY bagels in Indy. Standouts-- garlic, & everything bagel. 1300 E. 86th St. Indianapolis (317) 846-0950 (just a few stores down from Whole Foods)
The Flying Cupcake Delicious cupcakes with plenty of kitsch. Various locations: (downtown) 715 N. Massachusetts Avenue, Indianapolis; (Broad Ripple area) 5617 N. Illinois Street, Indianapolis; 831 S. Rangeline Road, Suite 300, Carmel (more information call: (317) 396-2696
Holy Cow, Cupcakes Tasty cupcakes with buttery frosting and in a fancy new location. 61 W. City Center Dr., Carmel (317) 571-1500
The Illinois Street Food Emporium Great coffee and pastries, especially the rugelach and the made-to order cherry cheese danish (call a day or two ahead to order). A must-have for your Super Bowl brunch. 5550 N. Illinois St., Indianapolis (317) 253-9513
Just Pop In Stick with the best and order the Indy Style popcorn, equal parts sharp cheddar and caramel and guard it with your life. People will want to take it from you. Trust me. (Broad Ripple) 6302 North Guilford Avenue, Indianapolis (317) 257-9338; (Broad Ripple) 6406 Cornell Avenue, Indianapolis (317) 602-3540; Indianapolis International Airport (317) 602-3570.
La Mie Emilie This French bistro serves up lovely sandwiches, but their homemade pies are fabulous. Available by the slice or whole pie. 15 W. Main St., Carmel (317) 816-1200
Long's Bakery The crown jewel is the glazed donut- which is the stuff that dreams are made of. No lie. Order a dozen and try not to eat more than one. Try. (located close to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway) 1453 N. Tremont St., Indianapolis (317) 632-3741 *Another location in Southport, call for more information.
Rene's Bakery This tiny bakery location (sometimes you have to wait outside) gets everything right-- especially almond croissants, brioche, cookies and just about any baked good you can think of. (Broad Ripple) 6524-B North Cornell Avenue (located on Coil St.), Indianapolis (317) 251-2253
Sweet Things Homemade chocolates and candy. The favorite: hand-dipped chocolate pretzels. A perfect place to order Super Bowl gift baskets, packaged in Chinese takeout containers and personalized to your liking. (2 northside locations) 8655 River Crossing Blvd., Indianapolis (317) 580-1177; 2288 W. 86th St., Indianapolis (317) 872-8720
Vanilla Bean Bakery Indy's got plenty of cupcake places, but the individual cake pops here are equal parts tasty and adorable and can be made to order. 2342 W. 86th St., Indianapolis (317) 337-9470
Hotel Party/Super Bowl Party supplies
The Fresh Market (close to Broad Ripple/northside) 5415 N. College Ave., Indianapolis (317) 259-9270; (Carmel) 2490 E. 146th St., Carmel (317) 815-1970
Great Cooks the Bakery The place to go to buy quality and inexpensive bread for that mile high Super Bowl sandwich. (also recommended: eclairs, rugelach); kosher items are available also. (northside) 1321 W. 86th St., Indianapolis (317) 202-2435
Goose the Market You'll want to buy everything in this gourmet market that has excellent cheese and charcuterie (great sandwiches and soups too). (close to downtown) 2503 N. Delaware St., Indianapolis (317) 924-4944
Locally Grown Gardens You'll find seasonal produce in this market and also homemade barbecue and pies. The calypso and reggae music playing in the store will almost make you think it's summer. (close to Broad Ripple/northside) 1050 E. 54th St., Indianapolis (317) 255-8555
Nicole-Taylor's Pasta & Market The fresh pasta here is divine as well as everything else in this Italian specialty shop (like the Italian baguettes, and the sea salt/black pepper crostini) 1134 E. 54th St. Studio C., Indianapolis (317) 257-7374
Trader Joe's (n.w. side, close to Michigan Rd.) 2902 W. 86th St., Indianapolis (317) 337-1880; (n.e. side, near the Fashion Mall) 5473 E. 82nd St., Indianapolis (317) 595-8950
Whole Foods (northside) 1300 E. 86th St., Indianapolis (317) 706-9000; (Carmel) 14598 Clay Terrace Blvd., Carmel (317) 569-1517
Culver's A good fast food burger. Skip the fries and order a frozen custard. (northwest side) 5020 W. 71st St., (northside) Indianapolis (317) 291-2444; 7105 W. 96th St., Indianapolis (317) 576-1180. (click on the link for other locations in the Indianapolis area)
Five Guys This east coast chain serves up tasty grilled burgers and homemade fries. Not a burger fan? Try the kosher hot dog. (northside) 2902 W. 86th St., Indianapolis (317) 876-0811; 2009-8 East Greyhound Pass, Carmel (317) 587-7474. (click on the link for other locations in the Indianapolis area)
Skyline Chili Like Cincinnati chili? Skyline has die-hard fans.... order it a variety of ways and try a coney dog with cheese. 3524 W. 86th St., Indianapolis (317) 872-2266 (click on the link for other locations in the Indianapolis area)
Steak 'n Shake Good fast food burgers. Skip the fries and order a shake. (northside, close to Keystone at the Crossing) 4105 W. 96th St., Indianapolis (317) 844-1355; (downtown) 101 W. Maryland, Indianapolis (317) 634-8703 (click on the link for other locations in the Indianapolis area)
Cracker Barrel Try and grab a table by the roaring fire. Recommended: bacon, grits, & biscuits. Other faves: country ham. (northside) 9340 N. Michigan Rd., Indianapolis (317) 337-0029 (click on the link for other locations in the Indianapolis area)
The Original House of Pancakes Take your time and look over the lengthy menu-- but you'll want to order the pancakes (recommended: banana, blueberry) and bacon. There's always a wait-- but the line moves fast. 1518 W. 86th St., Indianapolis (click on the link for other locations in the Indianapolis area)
Tulip Noir If you're looking for a healthier and lighter breakfast option, you've found the right place. Lots of offerings, including French press coffee, highlights: whole wheat pancakes, and an egg sandwich with pesto, spinach and proscuitto. Also- many gluten free options in this trendy cafe. 1224 W. 86th St., Indianapolis (317) 848-5252
The Fashion Mall at Keystone (many locals refer to this mall as Keystone at the Crossing), highlights: Anthropologie, Apple Store, Banana Republic, Crate&Barrel, J.Crew, Nordstrom, Urban Outfitters, Williams-Sonoma. 8702 Keystone Crossing, Indianapolis (317) 574-4000. (click on the link for store directory)
mall eats: Nordstrom Grill (soups, sandwiches, entrees, beer and wine, located on the second floor in Nordstrom); nearby: Maggiano's (sit in the bar and order an icy martini and an appetizer); Shanghai Lil (the best deal is lunch, order the Three Kingdoms: soup, spring roll and fried rice) 8505 Keystone Crossing, Indianapolis (317) 205-9335.
Clay Terrace, highlights: Ann Taylor/LOFT, Black House/White Market, DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse), Sur La Table, 14390 Clay Terrace Blvd., Carmel (317) 818-0725 (click on the link for store directory)
Outlet shopping (about 45 minutes south of downtown)
Edinburgh Premium Outlets, highlights: Banana Republic outlet, Coach outlet, GAP outlet, J.Crew outlet (click on the link for store directory and location)
The Children's Museum 3000 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis (317) 334-3322.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum 4790 W. 16th St., Indianapolis (317) 492-8500
Indianapolis Museum of Art 4000 Michigan Rd., Indianapolis (317) 923-1331