BestofIndy 17

The results are in and here are your 2017 Best of Indy winners in the Food and Drink categories. Scroll through and find out who garnered the most votes by NUVO readers and earned the title "Best of Indy" in everything from beer to baklava.


Best Indiana Brewery 2017: Black Acre Brewing Co.

This Irvington brewery has taken the top spot for its first time and it honestly shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who frequents their tap room. Their beers are always on point, their beer fest, Barrels on Bonna is a blast, the food is top-notch and the staff and owners are the fucking best — especially when they’re shutting down sexist assholes.

Best Indiana Beer 2017: Zombie Dust (Three Floyds)

This Irvington brewery has taken the top spot for its first time and it honestly shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who frequents their tap room. Their beers are always on point, their beer fest, Barrels on Bonna is a blast, the food is top-notch and the staff and owners are the fucking best — especially when they’re shutting down sexist assholes. 

Best Local Special Release Beer 2017: Cherry Ol’ Fritz - Black Acre

This year’s best brewery also happens to make some kickass seasonal brews and this sour wheat beer is laden with tart cherries that tickle our senses into such a state of elation that it couldn’t be anywhere else but at the top of this list.

Best Local Beer Festival 2017: Microbrewer’s Fest

No beer fest celebrates the heart and soul of the beer community quite like the Microbrewers’ Festival. This is the festival where brewers pull out their small batch, off-the-wall beers and the local beer aficionados drink them up like they’re little 3-ounce samples of water after 40 days stranded in the desert and that’s why it wins year after year.

Best Place for Cheap Pitchers 2017: Upland Brewing

$11 60-ounce pitchers of local brews four days a week is pretty damn good. The only thing better is on Tuesdays when they drop them down to $10. Stay thirsty, my friends.

Best Indiana Wine 2017: Moscato - Oliver

If you’re a sweet wine lover looking for a summertime staple, there is no better place to get it than from a Bloomington-based winery that specializes in creating delicious sweet wines. The fact that Oliver’s Moscato may be their best wine is just one more reason for you to treat yo’ self to a bottle, or two or three.

Best Indiana Winery 2017: Oliver

Oliver winning Best Winery isn’t purely due to its prolific wine selection; it’s also one of the most beautiful wineries you’ll visit in the state. It’s the perfect place to stop for a weekend trip in Bloomington or Nashville to grab a bottle or two before heading to your cabin, boat or campsite.

Best Indiana Wine Festival 2017: Vintage Indiana

Taking over Historic Military Park every summer, this festival offers an incredible selection of wineries from around the state and always has an enjoyable lineup of bands for the day. It has taken this top spot for years and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.

Best Food Festival 2017: First Friday Food Truck Fest

If you want to get a taste of Indy’s awesome food truck scene there is no better way to do it than when they’re all gathered at The Old National Centre on First Fridays. Just make sure and fast prior to going so you have room to down the burger, tacos, pretzel, meat on a stick, BBQ, fries, jerk chicken and still have room for dessert.

Best Local Distiller/Distillery 2017: Hotel Tango

Since coming into Fletcher Place as the city’s first distillery Hotel Tango has created multiple award-winning spirits. The mountain-lodge-like taproom is one of the most comfortable rooms in the city with its handcrafted stone fireplace and comfy couches; add to that the deftly crafted cocktails and you have a recipe for a nearly perfect Indianapolis evening.

Best Local Coffee House 2017: Hubbard and Craven’s

This local staple has taken top honors for years and it stems from their conscientiously sourced coffee and their always friendly staff. They also happen to serve one of the finest cups of tea in the city, and with nearly 20 styles to choose from there’s something for everyone. If you’re looking for a new favorite coffee drink, look no further than the Healthy Elephant.

Best Local Coffee Roaster 2017: Tinker Street

We once had a co-worker here that came in every day and said, “Ahhh, Tinker Coffee is the best.” Seriously, every morning. He obviously knew a thing or two about coffee since so many of you agree. It’s not the cheapest coffee on the market, but the quality shows and if you care about your taste buds you’ll dish out the extra cheddar in order to keep them happy.

Best Local Ice Cream 2017: BRICS

There ain’t no better place to stop for an ice cold treat when you’re on the Monon. This little ice cream shop serves up yummy classic flavors like vanilla and chocolate alongside intriguing tastes like Grasshopper and Whistle Stop Wake Up. But, who are we kidding, you’re there for the 64th Street Special — pretty much the biggest banana split you’ve ever seen.

Best Farm-to-Fork Restaurant 2017: Bluebeard

Abbi Merriss and her team continually craft one of the most unique, farm fresh menus in the city. They have remained at the top of the farm-to-fork movement since opening and each year it just gets better and better. And just a reminder: Their cauliflower is so good it will bring tears to your eyes. That’s right — cauliflower.

Best Local Grocery Store 2017: Goose the Market

Let’s be honest, you’re here for the meat, as you should be. Anything else you’re getting, whether it be from their selection of artisanal cheese, their seasonal veggies (come and get your morels and ramps!) to the vast local beer selection and quality list of wines, it’s to pair with whatever meat you’re getting and we promise, it’s all fantastic.

Best Local Farm 2017: Trader’s Point

As far as farms go, the experience here is as immersive as you’ll find. Head into the barn to meet a cow or two and see dairy cows being milked. Then, head into the dairy area to taste some ice cream made fresh from the cows you just met. Finally, head upstairs for a delicious meal filled with different ingredients sourced from the farm below.

Best Local Chinese Cuisine 2017: Egg Roll #1

It’s always been a surprise that a place with this name could be so incredibly good, but it’s the main reason so many people make their way to the Emerson Avenue exit on Indy’s Southside. While there is plenty of awesome Chinese food here, they also serve some of the best pho (everyone’s favorite Vietnamese noodle soup) and their Thai options aren’t to be trifled with.

Best Local Japanese Cuisine 2017: Sakura

Not much has changed in the over 20 years this spot has been slinging out raw fish with rice, and that’s what makes it magical. There’s almost always a wait, which is a sure sign that once you’re in you’re about to chow down on the tastiest edamame, sashimi and udon noodles around.

Best Local Thai Cuisine 2017: Siam Square

This fresh Thai spot takes the Best of Indy spot year after year which is proof of its popularity with the people of the city. If you haven’t ever slammed some pad seuw at lunch or yum softshell during dinner, then you’re doing yourself and your city an injustice.

Best Local Indian Cuisine 2017: India Garden

India Garden has taken top honors every year and it’s all about that Indian buffet. While the chicken tikka is near Tandoori perfection here, you have to branch out and try something exciting like the garden special biryani or the crazy spicy lamb madras.

Best Local Italian Cuisine 2017: Mama Carolla’s

What can we say? They serve better Italian than your mama and the setting is just a little more romantic (hence them continually winning most romantic spot). It doesn’t get much better than a glass of chianti and an Uncle Dino’s, well, maybe a Pasta Too Good and a Peroni. Finish your night at the bar and have Rizzo make you a nightcap.

Best Local Mexican Cuisine 2017: La Hacienda

First step to becoming the best Mexican restaurant is making the best salsa, add to that giant margs, huge burritos and the best Mexican soup in town and you’ve got La Hacienda.

Best Local Mediterranean Cuisine 2017: Santorini Greek Kitchen

Start off with some ouzo, then cover your cheese in alcohol, light it on fire and scream OPA! Dig into pastitsio (pretty much Greek lasagna), a leg of lamb or a gyro, you can’t go wrong with your decision. The only hard decision you’ll make is deciding how much baklava is too much baklava. It doesn’t get much easier than that, does it?

Best Local African Cuisine 2017: Abyssinia

This is about as unique as a meal gets in Indy. Sit at the hand-sewn communal table with a mass of food in front of you. Grab the soft pancake-like injera in your right hand and dig in (literally) to to the bountiful, spicy, savory food items around the table. Finish it off with a cup of Ethiopian tea, the ritual behind it is fascinating and the taste is bold and fantastic.

Best Local British/Celtic Cuisine 2017: Chatham Tap

The atmosphere during international soccer matches is electric, and once you have a pint or two of your favorite ale in you, you’ll be cheering and jeering right along. If it’s a morning match go for an Anglican staple with the traditional English breakfast. Or down some fish and chips, and even though it’s not from across the pond, the Prince Dean’s Angel Wings are good enough to make you believe that they’re truly angelic. 

Best Local Cajun/Creole Cuisine 2017: Yats

No surprise here. Yats is the place to fill yourself to the brim with some chili cheese étoufée or vegan white chili, garlic bread and a healthy dose of your favorite hot sauce. If you’re lucky enough to be near one of the locations with beer on the menu, don’t pass up on the chance to imbibe some local brews. Just don’t get drunk enough to believe you’re on Bourbon Street.

Best Local Soul Food 2017: Maxine’s Chicken and Waffles

Maxine’s has made its way into the mouths, and subsequently, the hearts of a great many Hoosiers. While soul food abounds here, it’s all about the fried chicken, and taking it a step further with peach butter and waffles. No matter what you order though, there will be “a taste of love in every bite.” 

Best Local Deli/Sandwich Shop 2017: Goose the Market

It’s all about the Batali: layers of Italian goodness including Smoking Goose’s coppa, capocollo and soppressata with plenty of provolone, pickled onion, tomato preserves, aioli, arugula and the magical ingredient to tie it together hot giardiniera. Just one of these and you’ll look in disdain at the shitty turkey sandwich in your lunchbox from now on.

Best Local Craft Burger 2017: Bru Burger

You’ll most likely be stuck waiting for a table at the Mass Ave location due to this spot’s popularity, but that’s a sure sign of what waits for you inside. The juicy burgers, awesome craft beer selection, and even the sides are special like the crispy onion rings. And, oh man, the mac and cheese. It brings a smile to my face just thinking about it.

Best Local Cheap Burger 2017: Workingman’s Friend

You don’t stick around for nearly 100 years by making mediocre food and these burgers are anything but. These thin, crispy burgers are what dreams are made of and if you happen to double it up and add jalapeños and cheese to the top you still won’t break the bank and you’ll be in a better place. Down them along with a goblet of beer to get the authentic experience, and don’t forget it’s cash only.

Best Local Artisan Pizza 2017: Bazbeaux

They were making artisan pizzas before “artisan” was a thing. Now they have three locations around the city and there are dozens of reasons why their name is still synonymous with high-quality pizza. But it all comes down to a singular reason: They bake a mighty fine pizza pie. (PS: Get the pesto cheese garlic bread.)

Best Local Cheap Pizza 2017: HotBox

If you’re anything like me, the cups in your dorm room or college apartment consisted entirely of HotBox plastic cups from all of the times you ordered pizza and a Coke to save you when you were too blitzed to drive and suffering from the drunchies. HotBox is there for you in your time of need, and that makes them your true pizza-making friends.

Best Local Wings 2017: Ale Emporium

If it starts with Herman, it is a wing you should eat. The wings here are huge, the dry rubs are better than anything else you’re eating this month and they come by the pound. So order a few pounds, get a beer — none of that Macro crap — and go to town on these babies.

Best Local Pork Tenderloin Sandwich 2017: Edward’s Drive-In

There are Hoosiers who worship crispy, tasty tenderloins, people who travel around the state searching for the best of the best. And then there are people who gave up the search long ago because they knew they had found the best at Edward’s and there was no reason to keep tasting when they’d found perfection. Get one with some onion rings and you’re in heaven.

Best Local Steak 2017: St. Elmo

Not much has changed since 1902 in this quintessential Indianapolis restaurant The top-quality steaks, service and world-famous shrimp cocktails are still as good as ever.  Enjoy a meal at one of the classic white-clothed tables and watch for many of Indy’s most recognizable faces as you enjoy your meal bite-by-bite and sip-after-sip.


Best Local Seafood 2017: Oceanaire

This race was a nail biter, with Oceanaire winning out the category by one single vote! We’re guessing that vote is tied to the unbelievable oyster selection and Chef Waldrip’s ever-evolving specialties.

Best Local Breakfast 2017: Cafe Patachou

The place where Martha Hoover’s food empire started, Patachou has continually served up the best breakfasts in this city for years and it’s no surprise to see them at the top of this list. From the waffles and granola to the lox bagels and vegan cuban breakfast, everything here is fantastic. If all avocado toast was as good as theirs we would happily stay broke millennials forever.

Best Local Vegetarian/Vegan 2017: Three Carrots

Three Carrots makes vegan dishes that are unbelievably delicious for vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike.  In fact, their Seitanderloin is so damn good it was up for best tenderloin in a state that prides itself on tenderloins; if that’s not proof of how great this place is, we just don’t know what is.

Best Local Small Plate/Tapas 2017: Bluebeard

They took the best farm-to-table category and you can’t get much better than farm-to-table small plates. Get as many as you can and pass them around and smile because you and all your friends are on a journey to Flavortown (don’t worry, Guy Fieri isn’t in this one) and you’re all going to live there together for...well, until the meal is over.

Best Local Romantic Dining 2017: Mama Carolla’s

Give into the Italianate architecture, statues and fountains, the soft glow of the lights and the quiet hum of the crowd and enjoy a beautiful and intimate evening. Share a bottle of wine, spend the evening conversing and fill up on delicious Italian food. That’s amore.

Best New Local Restaurant 2017: Livery

Even before you get to the food, the space here is a work of art that pulls you in and makes you feel like the food is going to be phenomenal. And then you get a bite of the Latin-inspired dishes and you find that your hunch was correct and that you love chicharrones and that mezcal is better than tequila and this patio and the view are fantastic and, oh no, I’ve just been staring off into the middle distance and not talking for, like, five minutes now.

Best Local Late-Night Dining 2017: Sinking Ship

Late-night munchies don’t discriminate and neither does Sinking Ship. They have options for anyone and everyone, whether you need a spicy Chuck Norris burger, a cup of chili, some vegan seitan wings, a sack of balls (donut holes), or just one more beer, they’ve got you covered.

Best Local Upscale Dining 2017: Bluebeard

The nice part about this spot is it’s only as upscale as you make it. If we may make a suggestion, splurge at least once for the upscale meal, with wine, cocktails, and all the other goodies; it is an experience you won’t soon forget and will remind you why Bluebeard is consistently ranked in Indy’s top restaurants.

Best Local Pub Dining 2017: Twenty Tap

A fire tried to take this place away from us, and that fire can go fuck itself. How dare it try and take away their majestic cheese curds, the turkey burger that lives in our dreams, the fries, oh, dear god, the fries and all the beers — those poor, poor beers having to live through the heat. We’re so glad Twenty Tap made it through the fire and still is there for our pub food needs.

Best Local Sports Bar 2017: Ale Emporium

Come for the pizza and wings, stay to watch your favorite teams on the endless amount of TVs adorning the walls, literally, there are more TVs in here than just about any restaurant or bar we’ve ever been in. And the good news is they have a killer beer selection; so whether your team is up or down there is plenty of good beer to go ‘round.

Best Local Dive Bar 2017: Alley Cat

Walk in from the alley, order a beer and a shot, shoot some pool, play some music on the jukebox, throw some darts, eat, drink, repeat. If you’re uncomfortable with a more dive-y feel, there’s always the Alley Cat Lounge, but you really are missing out on a great experience. 

Best Local Bartender(s) 2017: Ally Hall, Hotel Tango

They won best distiller and best cocktail bar and we have a feeling Ally had a hand in that by her ability to sling some killer cocktails in the taproom. It takes something special to get a city full of people to say you’re the best bartender in town. We suggest pulling up a chair at Ally’s bar, ordering a signature cocktail and chatting with her to see just what makes her such a badass.

Best Local Wait Staff 2017: St. Elmo

Head server, Lorenzo, has been taking care of tables and bringing back a slew of regulars for over 40 years and every bit of service here strives to be on his level. A meal at St. Elmo is truly an experience unlike anywhere else in the city, and for this reason we spend our special occasions, here because we know it is special and the service is one of the major aspects of that special-ness.

Best Outdoor Dining 2017: Rick’s Cafe Boatyard

It’s pretty much impossible to be waterside dining when it comes to outdoor dining and that is why Rick’s wins year after year. Rick’s is always a wonderful experience, watching the calming water on Eagle Creek reservoir and enjoying delicious seafood in the summer sun; you’re basically eating in a Jimmy Buffet song.

Best Local Food Truck 2017: Duo’s

There’s a reason the team here at NUVO eats at Duos’ brick-and-mortar locational at least once every week, their food is on point in both flavor and health. The truck hits both of these points and is all over the city every week dishing out balance bowls, chicken pot pies, vegan reubens and even cookies and carrot cake, and the best part, the people in the truck are always smiling, friendly and awesome.

Best Local Chef 2017: Jonathan Brooks, Milktooth and Beholder

If one chef in Indy has garnered more praise than any other and brought more attention to our city’s food culture, it is hands-down Jon Brooks. People all over the place flock to Fletcher Place for a taste of his trendy breakfast spot, Milktooth. And when he opens Beholder in the near future it is bound to build the same sizeable following because let’s face it, Jon Brooks is a damn good chef.

Best Local Restaurant 2017: Bluebeard

If you’ve paid close attention then this should come as no surprise, Bluebeard shows up in the top three spots on eight lists, including top spot here and it’s because Abbi Merriss has crafted a nearly perfect menu using fresh, mostly local ingredients, the bar program is phenomenal, whether the cocktails are straightforward or creative, the wine list is superb, and whether you are outside on the gorgeous patio or inside in the trendy dining room which pays homage to the great Kurt Vonnegut, you feel comfortable and recognize you’re experiencing something special.








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