- Joey Smith
- Tappers Arcade Bar in Fletcher Place
Food and drink are essential parts of life: They bring us together across all barriers and give us something to enjoy. Even if we want to fight and bicker over nearly every other aspect of this city, state, country or world, Indianapolis luckily has a shit ton of food and drink that are fucking delicious and that is something we all can be happy about. So pull up a chair, grab a glass of your favorite libation and let’s dig into the best food and drink this city has to offer.
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Best goddamn cookie in the whole city
Best local spots that opened after Best of Indy nominations ended
New restaurants are popping up all over the city all the time, which is about the best “problem” a city could have. Since our nominations ended, dozens of new restaurants have joined the Indianapolis dining family. A few of these are well worth mentioning. You want seafood? Head to Mass Ave’s fanciest restaurant Salt on Mass. The seafood is fresh and delicious. Wanna play bartender? Rebar is a new concept for Indy where you pour your own beer from the taps, which is great for a night of beer tasting. The food is standard bar fare done well, and there’s no shame in that. Ever tried Russian food? Well, if you haven’t, don’t worry, you don’t have to go spend time shirtless, riding horses and fighting bears with Putin; head to Indy’s only Russian restaurant, Gregory’s Russian Restaurant, instead. Enjoy a cup of borsch and a plate of pelmeni (dumplings with pork and beef, mmm, вкусно).
Best local food to eat by the jarful
Speaking of things we eat way too much of: Noblesville PB outfit B-Happy Peanut Butter makes something we thought couldn’t be done any better — peanut butter — well, better. B-Happy offers flavors like white chocolate pretzel, snickerdoodle and chocolate toffee, all with little crispy morsels nestled within the butter for a Rice Krispies-but-better type of experience. Find it in shops like Wildwood. We’re happy. We’re so, so happy.
The biggest reason to take a drive down 38th Street
Many people don’t quite realize the incredible quality of international restaurants on Indy’s Westside on and around 38th Street. It truly is a cultural epicenter when it comes to cuisine, with restaurants like Fritanga Nicaraguense (Nicaraguan), Havana Cafe (Cuban), Chapati (Pakistani), Inkas (Peruvian) and many more. If you want to branch out, but don’t want to go it alone, Indianapolis’ International Marketplace does weekly international lunch and dinner tours for you to join. Get to know all about it at imcoalition.org.
Best popcorn to accompany your cocktails
The team at Plat 99 cooks up some incredible dishes and their bar program is continually in the top tier in the city, but the true gem of this place, other than the views, is the little bags of free truffle popcorn that accompany your drinks when they come to the table. The stuff is addicting and we’ve gotta say it’s reason enough to spend good money on a drink here.
- Cavan McGinsie
- Kona Tacos, featuring poke tuna, avocado and caramel-soy glaze from Salt on Mass
It doesn’t get much more throwback than a night at Tapper’s Arcade Bar. Grab a can of Hamm’s, or if you’re a craft kid, go for the latest Indiana City offering, and get to playing your favorite arcade games (all of which are free, except pinball machines). Challenge your S.O. to Mortal Kombat (just remember: Sub Zero- D, F, LP), and once you Finish Him, bring his spirits back up by working together to defeat Donkey Kong and his barrels or extend a second challenge of pouring beers for thirsty bar-goers in Tapper.
Best (and only) place Ron Swanson and Leslie Knope would agree on
If you’re looking for meat and it’s breakfast time, the best meal of the day, then Love Handle is where you should be. The biscuits and gravy is like an American Dream, a true “man’s” meal; even if you have lady parts, you’re a man if you’re eating these. (That’s what Ron Swanson would say, anyway.) But, if you’re anything like my friend Leslie, you probably want to go for those sweet options — extra whipped cream, please and thank you — and there’s nothing wrong with that. Don’t miss their cheesecakes, which I top with pork belly, because I’m American and I can.