Grocery stores are nightmarish places around this time of year. There are long lines, and your food has often been trucked hundreds or thousands of miles to get from the field to your store. Instead of messing with all that big box noise, why not head to a smaller purveyor close to your neighborhood where the lines will be shorter and the commutes for the food will be shorter, too. Here's a good list of places to get everything from turkeys and hams, to produce, wine and sides.
Indy Meat Shop
This is a "wholesale to the public" kind of place where you can get the classics like pork, chicken, and beef. Indy Meat Shop also stocks a selection of wild game, so you can celebrate the holiday by chowing down on one of the chicken's more exotic, backwoods relatives. They'll also do custom cuts and butchering (ProTip: get a lamb leg, ask to have it unrolled, shove some dried herbs in there, truss it and put that bitch just off the flame on a grill for an hour. You're welcome.)
1221 S. High School Road, 405-9504, the-meat-shop.com
L E Kincaid & Sons
We've written this one up before, because it's right down the street from NUVO HQ and damn it all, if they don't stock some incredible cuts of lamb, bison, and beef. They've got great everything there, including frozen and fresh seafood and lots of protein-based sundries of all kinds in the frozen cases. You need only look at the hand-painted signs in the window to see the weekly specials.
5605 N. Illinois St., 255-5497, lekincaidmeats.com
Goose the Market
If you want to show off what Indiana really has to offer in the way of artisan foods, start here for your meat and produce. Then head downstairs and get a bunch of really good, inexpensive wine and beer. Buy some bacon to hide away as a treat for enduring hours of cooking.
2503 N. Delaware St., 924-4944, goosethemarket.com
Smoking Goose Meatery
The only USDA-certified facility with a dry-cure fermented program in the region, the Smoking Goose offers fantastic salumi, bacon and other meat. All of it comes from small regional farms raising hormone-and-antibiotic-free animals in healthy, free-range environments. Along with hogs, they also butcher ducks and chickens. Time-consuming offerings like elk, blueberry and mead salumi are what make the Smoking Goose truly unique. Although originally envisioned as a small-scale production house for Goose the Market, the Smoking Goose just keeps growing. They hope to expand the dry-cure meat side of the business, as there is a high demand for it. For the holiday season, buy someone you love a sausage-making class, one of the Smoking Goose's latest offerings.
407 Dorman St., 638-6328, smokinggoose.com
Joe's Butcher Shop & Fish Market
Along Carmel's main drag is this powerhouse of protein for our neighbors to the north. Joe's not only sells all kinds of tasty dry land animals to eat, but they've got a crazy-good selection of seafood if you want something a little lighter. Or get a big party tray of their fabulous cold cuts and beat the hell out of whatever anyone else is bringing as an appetizer.
111 W. Main St. (Carmel), 846-8877, joesbutchershop.com
Now that Bluebeard's sister bakery has a permanent location and a storefront, you can bring these amazing baked goods home to your family any time of the year. However, you can really take your dinner to the next level with the simple addition of Amelia's outstanding foccacia.
653 Virginia Ave., 686-1580, ameliasbread.com
The Cake Bake Shop
You know it from its gorgeous and glossy, marbled interior. It's a great spot to grab a baked good from if you want something extra sweet to show off. It's a special delight if you have little people around who like their desserts (and clothes, and hair, and toys, and...) with a little sparkle, as they're known for their cakes covered in edible glitter.
6515 Carrollton Ave., 257-2253, thecakebakeshop.com
Circle City Sweets
If you want something aimed at slightly more grown-up palates, grab a classic French dessert or cake from Circle City Sweets in City Market. If you really want to win Thanksgiving, grab a box of Cindy's croissants to bring with you, and warm them in the oven before serving. Grandma will forgive any tattoo or piercing for perfect laminated breads.
222 E. Market St., #50, 632-3644, circlecitysweets.com
This Lawrence fixture first opened in 1968 and features a decor that was updated in, um, 1968. The place is part bakery, part gift shop and part cafe and a lot of the clientele speak and read Deutches — it's so legit mustard is the only condiment on the counter. Beyond the plethora of chotchkies, the animal heads on the wall and the cheesy '60s and '70s-era pop from the Old Country piped everywhere (even into the parking lot), you'll find two big stars: the pastries and the potato salad. The sweets are traditional (no donuts here) and amazing, and the potato salad is warm and perfect with a little bacon-y smoke and a little sauerbraten-flavored bite. Order a brat with the salad for lunch. It's the best of the wurst. See what we did there?
7625 Pendleton Pike, 547-1230, heidelberghaus.com
Turning out a thousand croissants a week by hand, as well as countless cookies, loaves and cakes, pastry chef Albert Trevino has been proprietor of this boutique bakery just off the Monon in Broad Ripple for over a decade. As fewer restaurants these days prepare their own desserts, you'll find Chef Trevino's artisan creations on sale not only on René's countertop and at the Broad Ripple Farmers' Market, but also at finer establishments including Capital Grille, Black Market and the SoHo Café. Although he's been known to make the occasional cupcake, it's the croissants — some of the best this side of the Atlantic — that will keep you coming back for more.
6524-B N. Cornell, 251-2253, renesbakery.com
Since last December, Wildwood Market has been selling fresh produce, cured meats, cheeses, shelf-stable goods and sandwiches to the neighborhood. It's basically the Locally Grown Gardens of southeast Indy, complete with refinished car garage space. Wildwood turns out great sandwiches in the vein of Goose the Market, with a new sandwich of the day posted on social media. You can grab any kind of fancy ketchup or relish you may need, and Wildwood will definitely have a lunch or dinner made for a king in some capacity, whether it's one of those sandwiches on Amelia's bread or some good meat in the case.
1015 Virginia Ave., 737-2653, wildwoodmarket.com
Locally Grown Gardens
Locally Grown Gardens is open seven days a week, usually at least until 8 p.m., though owner and former MCL Bakery Corporate Chef Ron Harris says they never really close. If there are customers at his indoor farmers' market, well, he'll be there too, offering items like fruits, vegetables, flowers, honey, cider and even firewood, which are sourced locally in many cases. A great place to fill a basket with seasonal, local goods as a gift or meal starter.
1050 E. 54th St., 255-8555, locallygrowngardens.com
Perk Up also specializes in traditional German breads, which you can sample in the shop, or buy a loaf to take home either at the cafe or at the Winter Farmer's Market. As far as the coffee goes, it's hard to go wrong, with steady-handed baristas who really know how to pull the perfect shot of espresso for a tasty latte, Americano, or any one of Perk Up's specialty espresso drinks.
6536 Cornell Ave., 251-0033, perkupindy.com
So you fouled up and made a cake when you were supposed to bring a side. Don't worry, because Regina has you covered. Not only are you going to show up with the most delicious side in tow, but you can also grab some gourmet munchies to keep kids and adults happy while the cooking is completed.
1101 N. College Ave., 737-2543, r2goindy.com