Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Lifestyle

Local’s Guide To Gen Con: Eating Indy

It’s time for Gen Con yet again, probably one of the most exciting times of year for the world of board games and tabletop. That goes double for myself and my fellow Hoosiers, who get to see everyone come to the city of Indianapolis and poke around, confused, trying to find their way around a fairly standard Midwestern city. No, we’re not San Diego or Philadelphia, or even a Chicago. But Indianapolis is still a great town once you get to know it, and I know it pretty damn well (it’s where I grew up). So, to help my fellow Gen Con attendees, I wanted to put together a little guide or two in order to guide you around. Today I’m focusing on maybe the most important question of any con: where to eat.

Indy isn’t necessarily known as a foodie destination, and our signature foods are sugar cream pie and massive pork tenderloins. But if you’re willing to look, there’s some real hidden gems for every taste and need under it all. Get away from Steak n Shake and the Food Court and try something new!

Breakfast Time

Cafe Patachou

225 W. Washington St.

Longtime attendees of Gen Con know that Patachou is maybe the most convenient breakfast spot in town. Everything here is excellent and made from scratch, but where I really shines is the baked goods. Whether it’s fluffy French Toast or something out of the display case, you’re not going to leave disappointed.

Other Options: Yolk, Milktooth

Lunchtime

Shapiro’s Deli

808 S Meridian St

An institution for over 100 years, I’d put Shapiro’s up against any east coast deli. It’s got all the classics you’d expect, including the best Pastrami in the state (yes, the state). It’s one of the only places you’ll find things like rugelach, chopped liver, and Matzo ball soup. It’s also a great place to go if you keep kosher!

Other Options: Kuma’s Corner, BRU Burger Bar, Rooster’s Kitchen

Pizza Time

Bazbeaux

333 Massachusetts Ave

Mass Ave is going to be a great destination for food, drinks, and dancing all weekend. But if you’re craving ‘za, then Bazbeaux better be on your radar. From well made and locally sourced toppings to some more exotic options (snow pea pods anyone?), as well as some excellent sandwiches, Bazbeaux is great for lunch or dinner any day of the week. My favorite? The cajun-inspired TCHOUPITOULAS.

When You’re Feeling Fancy

Tony’s of Indianapolis

110 W Washington St

Yes, St. Elmo’s is the famous steak place. And it’s fine! But really the only thing truly unique there is the shrimp cocktail. If you want a truly great piece of meat, head down the street to Tony’s. They’ve got an extensive wine menu, towers of fresh seafood, and dry aged steaks that are to die for. Even the side dishes are killer (try the mac and cheese).

Bluebeard

653 Virginia Ave

Named after the novel by Indianapolis native Kurt Vonnegut, Bluebeard is a farm-to-table experience unlike any other. Everything here is designed to emphasize the agriculture of Indiana and the Midwest, and all ingredients cooked by James Beard semi-finalist Abbi Merriss are sourced locally. This place doesn’t have a seasonal menu, it has daily menus based wholly on what the kitchen can get fresh that day. If you have an adventurous palate, this is your new favorite restaurant.

Other Options: St. Elmo’s Steakhouse, The Oceanaire, Slapfish

When You’re Feeding A Crowd

Fogo de Chao

117 E Washington St.

Nobody feeds an army like a Brazlian steakhouse. If you’ve never been, essentially you pay a flat price and then men come up to you throughout the night with cuts of meat on swords. If you’re open to it, they’ll cut you a piece and then move on. You just keep piling meat up until you think you’ve had enough and, if you haven’t, you can always have more. The salad bar itself is also killer, filled with Brazilian sweets and ingredients on top of killer appetizers and salad ingredients.

The Rathskellar

401 Michigan St

Speaking of Kurt Vonnegut, head to the Atheneum (designed by his father, Kurt Vonnegut Senior) to try a little bit of Indy’s deep German roots at the Rathskellar. All kinds of sausages, schnitzels, and sauerkrauts await you alongside big mugs of German beer and a fun atmosphere straight from the Fatherland. If the weather is nice, check out the Biergarten for a truly special evening.

When You Need A Drink

Black Acre Loft

130 1/2, N Delaware St

Black Acre Brewing is one of Indy’s best breweries, and their downtown loft is a great place to try their rotating and permanent line of beers brewed at their Irvington location. It’s a much cozier, more intimate setting than other breweries, perfect for winding down after a busy day on the con floor.

Hotel Tango

702 Virginia Ave

If you’re willing to head south into Fountain Square you’ll find another happening little part of town without the pretentious airs other parts of the city have put on. Case in point: Hotel Tango, one of our most successful distilleries. Owned and operated by veterans, it’s a lowkey spot in a renovated industrial location putting out killer spirits from Vodka to Moonshine to Orangecello. There’s always a good time here, with bartenders serving up fantastic craft cocktails that show off the distilleries very best.

Other Options: Taxman Cityway, Tappers Arcade Bar, Inferno Room, Nicky Blaine’s

Happy eating, everyone. And if you need a Gen Concierge, find me on the con floor. I’d be happy to give you some advice!

Images via respective owners

Have strong thoughts about this piece you need to share? Or maybe there’s something else on your mind you’re wanting to talk about with fellow Fandomentals? Head on over to our Community server to join in the conversation!

Author

  • Fiction writer, board game fanatic, DM. Has an MFA and isn't quite sure what to do now. If you have a dog, I'd very much like to pet it. Operating out of Indianapolis.

What’s Playing on the Fandomentals Network

PREMIUM BANDAI USA

You May Also Like

Gaming

‘Tis the season for GenCon! All of the biggest publishers in gaming are returning to Indianapolis for the biggest GenCon in a long time...

Gaming

Cryptozoic Entertainment, creator of tabletop games, trading cards, and collectibles, today announced that it will feature numerous currently available games, previews of upcoming games,...

Gaming

Summer has hit and that means it’s officially con season! And that means merch! So much merch! Since time immemorial fans of tabletop have...

Lifestyle

May Day is here and that means Summer is right around the corner. We’ve all got things we want to do this summer: write...