IBJOpinion

DINING: Granite City is a chain champion

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Dining - A&E

People will always make the case that Indianapolis doesn't need any more chain or franchised restaurants. I understand the big-picture argument. I understand the desire for a greater regional culinary identity and the wish for a more adventurous restaurant clientele. To be honest, though, a good meal can temporarily dismantle my regional pride.

It happened, for instance, when I ate Idaho Nachos ($9.79), one of the signature dishes at Granite City Food & Brewery (150 W. 96th St., 218-7185), a Minnesota-based concern that recently opened its first central Indiana location.

The appetizer replaces standard tortilla chips with waffle-cut Idaho russet potatoes, fried to just the right degree of crispness, and caps them with a well-balanced pile of melted Colby jack cheese, bacon bits, diced tomatoes, sour cream and green onion. I expected the bottom dwellers to get soggy, but the last fry was as good as the first thanks to a combination of proper presentation and hungry patrons. Outstanding bar grub.


We were tempted to order a second load, but progressed to other parts of the menu, finding satisfaction there as well. The French Onion Soup and a Tomato Soup du Jour ($2.49 each) were both winning choices. In the former, the melted cheese roof covered a delicious beef and wine stock with ample caramelized onions and toasted croutons.

We were temporarily disappointed by the Buffalo Burger ($8.29) and the standard Hamburger (I tried the one from my
son's $5.49 kid's meal) in part because of the dull ciabatta buns, but the Southwestern Chicken Salad ($12.29) won us over with its fresh-tasting julienne-grilled chicken breast, chopped cilantro and tequila lime vinaigrette dressing. Even better was the Chilled Sesame Shrimp and Cucumber Salad ($12.49), well-populated with seafood and well-chosen companions, including cabbage, snow peas, crisp wontons, diced red peppers and a wasabi cream.

No complaint, either, with the Chicken Salad Clubhouse on Focaccia ($9.49), a
two-hander packed with a well-seasoned mix of roasted chicken breast, mayo, celery and scallions. The sandwich rounds off with bacon strips, roasted garlic aioli, and sliced tomato.

A promising-sounding Big Cookie ($5.99) was a messy letdown, but a hearty glass of Two Pull, a mix of the brewery's Northern Light and Brother Benedict Bock beers ($.95 for a 20 ouncer) could have forgiven a lot worse. As it stands, though, it just made me want to schedule a leisurely lunch meeting here-over beer and an order of Idaho Nachos. Or two. •


First in a month-long series of restaurants that rock-or, at least, have rocks in their names.
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  1. Those of you yelling to deport them all should at least understand that the law allows minors (if not from a bordering country) to argue for asylum. If you don't like the law, you can petition Congress to change it. But you can't blindly scream that they all need to be deported now, unless you want your government to just decide which laws to follow and which to ignore.

  2. 52,000 children in a country with a population of nearly 300 million is decimal dust or a nano-amount of people that can be easily absorbed. In addition, the flow of children from central American countries is decreasing. BL - the country can easily absorb these children while at the same time trying to discourage more children from coming. There is tension between economic concerns and the values of Judeo-Christian believers. But, I cannot see how the economic argument can stand up against the values of the believers, which most people in this country espouse (but perhaps don't practice). The Governor, who is an alleged religious man and a family man, seems to favor the economic argument; I do not see how his position is tenable under the circumstances. Yes, this is a complicated situation made worse by politics but....these are helpless children without parents and many want to simply "ship" them back to who knows where. Where are our Hoosier hearts? I thought the term Hoosier was synonymous with hospitable.

  3. Illegal aliens. Not undocumented workers (too young anyway). I note that this article never uses the word illegal and calls them immigrants. Being married to a naturalized citizen, these people are criminals and need to be deported as soon as humanly possible. The border needs to be closed NOW.

  4. Send them back NOW.

  5. deport now

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