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DINING: Now you eat 'em, now you don't

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Dining - A&E

If you found yourself eating at the same places in 2009, then you haven’t been paying attention. Lots of changes occurred throughout the year that altered the state of Indy dining. Here are some of the most notable.

Indy a college town? Early in the season, campus favorite Scotty’s Brewhouse graduated to downtown Indy. Late in the year, Indiana University-Bloomington favorite Kilroy’s Bar n’ Grill followed suit.

Newcomers to old venues. Taking a shot in Union Station is the newly opened Cadillac Ranch. Filling the void at the Stutz Building: Bearcats Restaurant. Treading where Buffalo Wild Wings, J. Gumbo’s and BadaBoomz previously tread: the classy new Ambrosia Centro. Replacing Puck’s at the Indianapolis Museum of Art: Nourish Café. The former Canary Café landmark was re-spiced as Saffron Café. In Carmel, it was Bistro de Paris out, La Mie Emilie in. And the prime Illinois Street corner space at the Conrad Hotel reopened as Tastings, a wine-by-the-sip bar.

Who can argue with more pizza?
No matter how you slice the dining scene, there will always be new pizza places (and we’ll be visiting more in January for this column). Newcomers include Broad Ripple’s ’Za, Neal Brown’s new Carmel creation, Pizzology, Zionsville’s Oobatz!, and, in Franklin, Richard’s Pizza Kitchen (spun off by neighbor Richard’s Kitchen).

Now you see ’em, now you don’t. Downtown’s Vito’s on Penn didn’t survive 2009. Indy gained and lost Stanley’s New York Deli in the same year. But near the same 86th Street and Ditch Road intersection can now be found Rusty Bucket Tavern, Pearl Bistro and Tulip Noir.

Speaking of closings. We also lost Elements, Old Town Ale House in Fishers, Fionn Mac Cool’s Irish Pub in Fishers, Hot Shotz Ale & Grill, Spicy Pickle, Bonjour Café and Bakery, and Balboa’s Philly Steaks & Pizza.

Games on. New dining offerings were also added to Indiana Live! casino, including a better-than-usual buffet and the fine dining Maker’s Mark Bourbon House & Lounge. Meanwhile, gamers willing to be paid in tokens rather than cash now have a Dave & Buster’s on the north side.

Downtown originals. Think Indy offers nothing but chain restaurants? Tell that to newcomers Iozzo’s, Café Zuppa and The Taste of Tango (conveniently located across the street from IBJ’s offices). And if you stretch downtown to include Mass Ave, then there’s also the new BuDa Lounge.

Exit strategy.
Granite City Food & Brewery opened near the Meridian Street north exit of 465.

More brew in Broad Ripple.
Barley Island Brewing Co. opened the taps in Broad Ripple. And, for the a.m. after, Good Morning Mama’s Café, a breakfast spinoff of Mama Carolla’s, opened on 54th Street.

Not just for kid parties. Cupcakes were all the rage, with beyond-Betty-Crocker versions available from The Flying Cupcake, Holy Cow Cupcakes! and Cupcake Camper.•

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 In January we visit a quartet of new pizza places.

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