Friday fun: Exploring standout suburban restaurants

May 31, 2013
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Few things are as fun for me as trying a new restaurant—or revisiting an old favorite.

But I never realized how Indianapolis-centric my choices were until this spring, when the Indy Star and Indy Monthly both compiled lists of gotta-go restaurants. I was pleasantly surprised to find I’ve been to most of them (thanks in large part to my IBJ dining review gig), but I’m only batting .500 on the four paltry entries in my own back yard.

Pizzology in Carmel made both Jolene Ketzenberger’s “Taste of Indy” list—the only restaurant on it that originated North of 96th Street—and Indianapolis Monthly’s “25 Best Restaurants” rundown.

I reviewed Chef Neal Brown’s pizzeria back in 2010, and celebrated my 40th birthday there. Hubby and I visited “25 Best” honoree Peterson’s in Fishers several years ago on our anniversary.

The other two suburban standouts--Plum’s Upper Room in Zionsville and The Local Eatery & Pub in Westfield—are still on our to-dine list.

Did I mention we live in Fishers? And we eat out. A lot.

Unfortunately, we’re far from alone.

“I can’t fathom the number of Fishers residents who leave on Friday nights” to dine out, said Town Manager Scott Fadness. “We’re woefully behind in our restaurant culture.”

So it’s no surprise that Fadness is aiming to land a “destination” restaurant in downtown Fishers, where construction of a $33 million mixed-use development is set to begin this summer.

But will it make a difference? Can the suburbs draw diners, or is a night out in the “big city” too magnetic to resist?

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  • Local
    I try to eat locally as much as I can but as a fellow Fishers restaurants we are limited. Hopefully the revitalization of downtown will land a destination restaurant and add some local flavor.
  • Many good restaurants in Zionsville
    While Plum's is certainly worth the visit, Cobblestone Grill, Noah Grant's and Patrick's Kitchen are all really creative, locally owned restaurants in Zionsville.
  • Fishers "Downtown"
    The problem with Fishers Downtown is that there isn't really an identity to the area. You have 116th street zooming through the middle and bland suburban strip malls and asphalt parking lots. If they want to retain Hamilton County residents on weekends they need to create a pedestrian friendly, densely developed area. The upcoming $33M development is nice, but as a single project it's going to look and feel like an urban island surrounded by suburban sprawl. As long as the city views this project as a small first step, with many more to come, it's a good decision.
  • Why?
    I live in Fishers and we eat out A LOT and like to patron local establishments (I hate chain restaurants!) Why aren’t there a lot of local places to dine in Fishers? With a population of 80k people and most places in Fishers are packed all the time why aren’t we attracting more cool local eateries? We HAVE to go to Noblesville or Indy to find options. I would be perfectly happy to stay closer to home and keep my tax $ in Fishers if there were more local options. The people of Fishers are HUNGRY please come!!
  • The Local Eatery and Pub
    You absolutely MUST take the time out of your schedule to experience this restaurant. Chef Alan Sternberg creates some of the most amazing dishes I have ever tasted in my life, and to-date that is quite a few. All of the food is local and cruelty free which is very important to me. Take some time, enjoy yourself and support local farmers and the talented chef at this up and coming restaurant. You won't regret it.

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  1. A Tilted Kilt at a water park themed hotel? Who planned that one? I guess the Dad's need something to do while the kids are on the water slides.

  2. Don't come down on the fair for offering drinks. This is a craft and certainly one that belongs in agriculture due to ingredients. And for those worrying about how much you can drink. I'm sure it's more to do with liability than anything else. They don't want people suing for being over served. If you want a buzz, do a little pre-drinking before you go.

  3. I don't drink but go into this "controlled area" so my friend can drink. They have their 3 drink limit and then I give my friend my 3 drink limit. How is the fair going to control this very likely situation????

  4. I feel the conditions of the alcohol sales are a bit heavy handed, but you need to realize this is the first year in quite some time that beer & wine will be sold at the fair. They're starting off slowly to get a gauge on how it will perform this year - I would assume if everything goes fine that they relax some of the limits in the next year or couple of years. That said, I think requiring the consumption of alcohol to only occur in the beer tent is a bit much. That is going to be an awkward situation for those with minors - "Honey, I'm getting a beer... Ok, sure go ahead... Alright see you in just a min- half an hour."

  5. This might be an effort on the part of the State Fair Board to manage the risk until they get a better feel for it. However, the blanket notion that alcohol should not be served at "family oriented" events is perhaps an oversimplification. and not too realistic. For 15 years, I was a volunteer at the Indianapolis Air Show, which was as family oriented an event as it gets. We sold beer donated by Monarch Beverage Company and served by licensed and trained employees of United Package Liquors who were unpaid volunteers. And where did that money go? To central Indiana children's charities, including Riley Hospital for Children! It's all about managing the risk.

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