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. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.