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Ken Honeywell

Ken Honeywell
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
March 20
Well Done Marketing
I'm in love with my wife; a writer and producer living in Indianapolis; partner at Well Done Marketing; founder of Tonic Ball, a benefit concert that's become one of the city's favorite annual events; co-founder of Second Story, a creative writing program for kids; a vegetarian; lead singer of Yoko Moment; a life-long New York Mets fan; a sucker for waltz time; crazy about Pernice Brothers; etc.


Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 13, 2011 12:04PM

Greetings From The Worst Food Town In The World

Rate: 17 Flag


Yesterday, a friend from Denver, Steve Preston, handed me a story from the Denver Post in which food critic John Henderson rates his best and worst meals in the world for 2010. Worst sandwich in the world? I quote:

Grouper fillet, Loughmiller’s Pub & Eatery, 301 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, 317-638-7380. This slippery slab of tasteless fish nearly slid out of my oily bun. Eating it with a fork sans cheap bread didn’t make it any better.

Yikes. I don’t very often eat at Loughmiller’s, that venerable pub down by the Statehouse where all the pols and lawyers hang out. Since I’m a vegetarian, I wouldn’t eat the grouper filet, anyway. So I can’t weigh in on the sandwich.

But “worst in the world” seems a little harsh. Especially coming from a critic in a city where one of the local delicacies is Rocky Mountain oysters: what someone once explained to me as “the difference between a bull and a steer.”

To make matters worse, in the print version of the story, Henderson named Indianapolis the worst town for food in the world. I quote:

Worst Food Town: Get a clue, Lou (it’s Indianapolis).

The offending copy.   

Wow. I’ve certainly heard plenty of complaining over the years about the quality of our restaurants. But “worst in the world?” That hurts.

And it can’t be true. Indianapolis’s restaurant culture as been evolving nicely in recent years–to the point that being a vegetarian is almost easy. (Almost.) Not that this should be the sole measure of a great restaurant town. But it is a sign of sophistication and creativity in the culinary arts, at least.

And so, to defend my city, here are a few restaurants John Henderson should try next time he’s in Indy. No offense, Loughmiller’s.

Taste, 5164 N. College Ave. For going on six years, Taste has been one of the northside’s busiest places for lunch; brunch on the weekends is insane. But it’s always worth the wait. I’ll bet I’ve averaged a meal a week at Taste since they opened, and I have never, ever had anything approaching a bad bit of food. When they’re open for dinner–Wednesday and Thursday nights only–this is my favorite restaurant in Indianapolis.

Pure Eatery, 1043 Virginia Ave. Pure is a newcomer to the restaurant renaissance in Fountain Square; if you haven’t been down lately, you need to drop in for lunch or dinner at Siam Square or Naisa or Square Rootz Deli or Shelbi Street Cafe or the Red Lion, the Smokehouse, the Brass Ring (seriously, have you been to Fountain Square recently?)–and don’t forget that Santorini has reopened and is as fabulous as ever. But make it a point to check out this little gem in the Murphy Building. Salads and sandwiches, simple and fresh and delicious.

Tulip Noir, 1224 W. 86th St. A doctor at St.Vincent once told me he didn’t like having lunch here because he was “the only man in the building.” I’m not sure I see the downside. He’s right: Tulip Noir is a popular breakfast and lunch spot for northside professional women (although, come on, Doc: there are plenty of men in the restaurant every time I go). Soups, salads, sandwiches, a great assortment of teas, and a lot more–all flavorful and creative, and, yes, a little delicate. Not the place if you’re looking for an entree bigger than your head, but you know that.

Mesh, 725 Massachusetts Ave. It’s the space that was once Scholar’s Inn–great atmosphere, nice wine list, okay food. Then the owners decided they didn’t want the likes of me hanging around there anymore, so they changed the name to SI and tried to attract–I dunno. The four fashion models who live in Indianapolis? Thankfully, the place has new owners, and Mesh is a new restaurant, and the food is spectacular. If you’re a vegetarian, their tofu entree kills. They have a nice wine list, too.

Where else? How about Recess at 49th and College? If you’re looking looking to spend even more on dinner, I’d point you toward Meridian at Meridian and Westfield Blvd. Mama Carolla’s on E. 54th Street is my favorite homey Italian joint. Pick a Patachou or Petit Chou for a fantastic breakfast or lunch. Try Hoaglin To Go on Mass Ave.–still my favorite breakfast in the city. And is there a restaurant in the world named-checked more often by TV sports commentators than St. Elmo?

Indianapolis is the worst food town in the world? Not in my world. What have I missed? Anyone want to defend Loughmiller’s? Anyone else want to defend our honor?

Anyone have a good idea about a place for lunch? I’m open to suggestion.

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I have never been to Indianapolis, but thanks for the tips. If I ever go, I think I will try Taste and tell them you sent me.
rated with love
These all sound like spots this fellow vegetarian would enjoy!

I am skeptical of the integrity a review that would make an impossible generalization such as Lou's. Recently, a Globe restaurant reviewer commented on how well patrons were dressed in the establishment being reviewed, since he cited it common knowledge that Boston is the Worst Dressed City.
Great post! I hate to let this guy know...but I found Colorado in general to have the worst food I have ever encountered...ummm...that's a taco? xox
makes me wish i were going to be hungry around lunchtime in indianapolis soon, like in about an hour actually. i'm pretty skeptical of restaurant reviews; they slip easily into hyperbole, probably to keep readers' attention, like far too many journalists these days. nice to see a local standing up for the team, ken.
What inquiring mostly-vegetarians need to know is: what is Indy like for cuisines of the world, such as Thai, Indian, Ethiopian, Chinese, etc? I'm pretty adept at cobbling together a tasty meal out of steakhouse side dishes, but that gets old after a while!
I've eaten at TASTE and remember being very pleased with my meal. What does that Henderson man know?
He obviously didn't get to Gainesville, FL. I couldn't even get a decent burger there.
Great article, many many wonderful restaurants in Indy. I like Palamino and Petersons for two. rr
I am a vegetarian too and though I spent a several days in Indianapolis several years ago, I didn't find the food either remarkable or offensive--although I had some good mac n' cheese at the Children's Museum. I did live in Denver most of my life before moving to Florida, though, and I can vouch for the fact that the food in Denver is mostly unremarkable, with only a few exceptions.
Now, strangely, I am hungry for restaurant food...
I live in Denver and my brother and I often call Denver Indianapolis with mountains. People here try there best to be New Yorkish and it doesn't fly. Tourists show up here to see the wild, wild West and instead see a small city trying to be like San Francisco of New York (of course we do have the mountains). You forgot the Spaghetti Bowl. Rated //=o)
Scorch! Worse in the world? Never ate in Indy, or... Indiana, but I have all over Colorado. Boulder being a well to do college town has good stuff. Back in the hills though where we usually went, the food was third rate, sometimes fourth!
Thanks for reading, all. Gotta defend my city. Surely there's got to be a worse one. Little Rock? Wheeling? Detroit?
The worst food in the world is right here where I live. There are less than ten restaurants including several huge franchises and they all are hideous. My house is the only place for fine dining and that is kind of "iffy" at times.
My husband spends lots of time in Indianapolis because his company is headquartered there; he raves about the food. Being the foodie resident of another Midwestern city that's trying hard to develop a vibrant and interesting food culture, I'd like to know more about his basis for calling out Indianapolis. It's true that it is neither San Francisco nor Manhattan...but neither is any city in Colorado.........
Storrs, CT? I went up there to attend a conference and, late at night, couldn't find anywhere to eat but -- seriously -- a truck stop with steam table food. It was horrible food and a nasty atmosphere.