Along with building out RT as a production brewery, Sutherlin, Schenk and rest of their crew have been spending mealtimes at surrounding eateries. Yes, the RT Taproom will offer some essentials to munch on and will host food trucks, but the business plan is brewing for sharing ‘round town on tap, so foremost being a good neighbor they’ve been doing outreach to nearby and a bit away from nearby neighbors. After all, someone might have a tap to spare, and even stalwart macro-brew imbibers might catch the craft.
Here’s Max Schenk sharing her perambulations:
John's Famous Stew Restaurant & Lounge, 1146 Kentucky Ave.
This is the first place we really got to know after moving to the neighborhood. It's got an old diner feel, complete with a sassy but friendly serving staff. They offer much more than just stew, which I've heard is all worth trying, but I am pretty loyal to the Hot Minced Pit stew. It might be too spicy to handle without the sweet relief of soft buttered bread to take the edge off every few bites. Of all of our go-to lunch spots, I'd say John's gets the award for totally unique and impossible to duplicate. Our plumbing crew literally eats there every single day that they are working at Round Town.
Working Man's Friend, 234 N. Belmont Ave.
Like John's, this is a place we can go when we want to be a bit more anonymous and have more business-minded lunches. Their menu offers a touch of nostalgia with classics like grilled cheese and soup done right. I know we are in the craft beer business, but none of us are too good for a big ol' goblet full of a domestic macro-brew, which is the only category they offer on draft.
Stadium Tavern, 802 S. West St.
It appears this late favorite of ours has closed its doors, but I felt it was worth mentioning either way because we certainly spent some time there. Erin was our favorite bartender and we could always find something yummy on special there. Here's hoping they don't stay closed for too long.
Slippery Noodle Inn, 372 S. Meridian St.
We often decide where we are eating based on what lunch specials are on the menu at the Noodle that day. They offer two different rotating options each week day, which never disappoint. Schmitty, who is behind the bar most weekdays, is also a big part of the draw of us going there as often as we do, along with the rest of their staff. Schmitty and Jerry have been friends outside of the establishment for years, and it's always nice to get a side of support and encouragement in addition to our lunch specials.
O'Reilly's Irish Bar, 36 S. Pennsylvania St.
O'Reilly's was our office before we had an office. In addition to soaking up their wi-fi, this has always been a place we can go to receive hugs and high fives in addition to good food and a good draft selection. They have a very small staff, all of whom we call friends. We also know many of the patrons, and we literally can't walk in there without a fellow Indy resident asking us how things are going and wishing us luck.
Rock Bottom (Downtown), 10 W. Washington St.
This one doesn't need a whole lot of explaining. Without Rock Bottom, Round Town wouldn't exist They are our family, and we are very happy to see that Nate [Scruggs] is doing a wonderful job carrying the torch.
St. Joseph’s Brewery & Public House, 540 N. College Ave.
I know I am getting further away from our neighborhood now, but St. Joseph's deserves credit for acting as another portable office of ours back before we had one of our own. Alan has a style of brewing which is similar to Jerry's, and his selection has served as a good surrogate for us while we await the return of Jerry's beer. The food is also fantastic and very thoughtfully crafted, much like the beer.
Ralph's Great Divide, 743 E. New York St.
Further from our neighborhood still, this charming little gem celebrates the history of our city with old newspaper articles, racing memorabilia and even old family photos on display throughout. Some menu favorites are the un-matched potato soup, and the best homemade blue-cheese dressing you've ever graced your salad with. They even give you little candies after your meal.
Chilly Water Brewing Co., 719 Virginia Ave.
Getting closer to our neighborhood and back to our support system, Chilly Water means the world to us. Skip, Dan, and the whole crew have been nothing but supportive of us. Skip even offered to help us with our T.T.B. permitting, which anyone who has been through this process knows is the most dreadful part of the whole process of opening a brewery.
Their small, specialty food menu still leaves us agonizing over which item to get each time because they are all just so good. The staff, plus the menu, plus Dan's ability to brew with purpose, makes them every bit deserving of the title of 2015 Brewery of the Year. Great food, great beer, great jams. Also doesn't hurt that part of their line-up involves a shout-out to our brewer (Cherry Sutherlin...so tasty!), but we're there all the time either way. We also meant to post pics of our delicious lunches, but we scarfed 'em down before we remembered. Killer specials every day
Pure Eatery, 1043 Virginia Ave.
You feel good before you even walk into Pure because you know you will feel good walking out. Somehow they have managed to develop a wide array of menu options that leave you feeling satisfied without feeling guilty after consuming them. Each item contains fresh ingredients and a truly thoughtful and creative method of putting them together.
Red Lion Groghouse, 1043 Virginia Ave.
Jerry and I had one of our first secret meetings here, when it felt like we were having an affair without the affair in our early talks about Round Town. Jerry loves to bring his daughter here because it is family-friendly but still feels grown up. I found it on my own and was hooked after having the Stuffed Portabella. The Waltimate burger is also worth mentioning, and definitely worth trying.
La Margarita, 1043 Virginia Ave.
Completing our Fountain Square/Fletcher Place circuit, La Marg has the perfect patio for taking off an hour early on Friday and making a rare departure from beer in favor of a perfectly crafted margarita. Throw in a salsa trio and you've achieved a perfect start to the weekend.
Tavern on South, 423 W. South St.
Right down the street from us, Tavern on South offers a more sophisticated menu and an ever-changing and always quality draft list. It manages to offer quality and ambiance without feeling "hoity-toity."
also nearby, sort of:
Melody Inn, 3826 N. Illinois St.
( Butler Tarkington neighborhood), established 1935, has vinyl booths from Old Teepee restaurant, PBR lounge?? , Smoker’s Garden, Live music, cover $5, street parking.