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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. why oh why does this state continue to elect these people....do you wonder how much was graft out of the 3.8 billion?

  2. i too think this is a great idea. I think the vision and need is there as well. But also agree with Wendy that there may be better location in our city to fulfill this vision and help grow the sports of hockey and figure skating in Indy. Also to help further develop other parts of the city that seem often forgotten. Any of the other 6 townships out side of the three northernmost could benefit greatly from a facility and a vision like this. For a vision that sounds philanthropic, the location is appears more about the money. Would really like to see it elsewhere, but still wish the development the best of luck, as we can always use more ice in the city. As for the Ice growth when they return, if schedules can be coordinated with the Fuel, what could be better than to have high level hockey available to go see every weekend of the season? Good luck with the development and the return of the Ice.

  3. How many parking spaces do they have at Ironworks? Will residents have reserved spaces or will they have to troll for a space among the people that are there at Ruth Chris & Sangiovese?

  4. You do not get speeding ticket first time you speed and this is not first time Mr.Page has speed. One act should not define a man and this one act won't. He got off with a slap on the wrist. I agree with judge no person was injured by his actions. The state was robbed of money by paying too much rent for a building and that money could have been used for social services. The Page family maybe "generous" with their money but for most part all of it is dirty money that he obtained for sources that are not on the upright. Page is the kind of lawyer that gives lawyers a bad name. He paid off this judge like he has many other tine and walked away. Does he still have his license. I believe so. Hire him to get you confiscated drug money back. He will. It will cost you.

  5. I remain amazed at the level of expertise of the average Internet Television Executive. Obviously they have all the answers and know the business inside and out.

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