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DINING: A year of changes on the Indy culinary scene

Lou Harry
December 29, 2008
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Dining - A&E
Some things never change on the local dining scene. We'll ignore those for now. Instead, here are some key events that affected eating habits of both locals and visitors to Indianapolis in 2008.

Opening of Fogo de Chao. Carnivorous folks with expense accounts and/or leisurely lunch times took pleasure in the gaucho-served, sliced-at-your-table steaks served at this Brazilian steak house chain at the suddenly busy Washington and Pennsylvania intersection.

Relocation of Adobo Grill. That same intersection became the new home of the semi-hidden Adobo Grill, which made the move from the north side. Adobo Grill's former location became home to Pikk's Tavern—sister to the Valparaiso original—known for its extensive beer menu.

Downtown BW3 controversy. Who'd have thought that a restaurant's exterior would generate more buzz than what it served inside? A lengthy drama evolved downtown when yellow paint and a fake facade adorned the new BW3 location in the first block of East Washington Street. Problem: It didn't get the revamp approved by the city. Eventually, the spot opened with more muted tones. In other BW3 news, the chain's former location on Maryland Street briefly became a BadaBoomz (home of the burger-on-a-doughnut), then a J. Gumbo's, before shutting down at the end of the year.

Airport filled with local eateries. The new midfield terminal at Indianapolis International Airport now offers flyers a strong sampling of fare from local eateries, including Shapiro's, Harry & Izzy's, Cafe Patachou and Naked Tchopstix. Who says we're a generic city?

The tightening of the Starbucks belt. Java junkies found that the expansion of Starbucks into, it seemed, every third block of the city had its limits. The location at College and Fall Creek was among the victims of a nationwide purge of underperforming stores.

Small plates not just for tapas. Zing, which opened in late summer on Indiana Avenue, created a needed destination spot in a food-starved corner of downtown. And it did it with appetizing appetizer-sized dishes.

The Mo's the Merrier. The owner of Mo's A Place for Steaks downtown opened a new concept, Mo's Irish Pub, in Noblesville. Neither is to be confused with the burrito joint or Moe & Johnny's.

Getting the Bugg's out. Tavern at the Temple, the upstairs eatery at the canal-capping Bugg's Temple, didn't work out. But there's hope. A new eatery, Euphoria, took its place.

Thai-ing downtown to Fountain Square. The former home of Bistro 936 became Siam Square, now the go-to downtown Thai restaurant even though it isn't exactly downtown.

Sexing up Scholar's Inn. The Massachusetts Avenue extension of the popular Bloomington Scholar's Inn went undercover for awhile and emerged as SI. That stands for Sexy & Intimate, a far cry from the joint's bakehouse roots.

Au Revoir to Chanteclair. The longstanding eatery that classed up the airport Holiday Inn shuttered in March. Other closings in town included Crawford's Bakery, Russia House (replaced with Pearl Bistro), Circle Centre's Bertolini's and El Morocco. D'vine a Wine Bar closed near 82nd Street and Allisonville Road, but the owners promised to return soon to space near Buca di Beppo in Castleton. Stay tuned. 
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  1. How much you wanna bet, that 70% of the jobs created there (after construction) are minimum wage? And Harvey is correct, the vast majority of residents in this project will drive to their jobs, and to think otherwise, is like Harvey says, a pipe dream. Someone working at a restaurant or retail store will not be able to afford living there. What ever happened to people who wanted to build buildings, paying for it themselves? Not a fan of these tax deals.

  2. Uh, no GeorgeP. The project is supposed to bring on 1,000 jobs and those people along with the people that will be living in the new residential will be driving to their jobs. The walkable stuff is a pipe dream. Besides, walkable is defined as having all daily necessities within 1/2 mile. That's not the case here. Never will be.

  3. Brad is on to something there. The merger of the Formula E and IndyCar Series would give IndyCar access to International markets and Formula E access the Indianapolis 500, not to mention some other events in the USA. Maybe after 2016 but before the new Dallara is rolled out for 2018. This give IndyCar two more seasons to run the DW12 and Formula E to get charged up, pun intended. Then shock the racing world, pun intended, but making the 101st Indianapolis 500 a stellar, groundbreaking event: The first all-electric Indy 500, and use that platform to promote the future of the sport.

  4. No, HarveyF, the exact opposite. Greater density and closeness to retail and everyday necessities reduces traffic. When one has to drive miles for necessities, all those cars are on the roads for many miles. When reasonable density is built, low rise in this case, in the middle of a thriving retail area, one has to drive far less, actually reducing the number of cars on the road.

  5. The Indy Star announced today the appointment of a new Beverage Reporter! So instead of insightful reports on Indy pro sports and Indiana college teams, you now get to read stories about the 432nd new brewery open or some obscure Hoosier winery winning a county fair blue ribbon. Yep, that's the coverage we Star readers crave. Not.

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