The Monon winds its way through some of the most popular food and drink areas of our city; you literally could spend the entire day stopping for small bites and drinks. While I would love to share each and every stop along the route, that could take months for any rider (and riding a bike wouldn't be an easy task after ingesting that much). Here are a few highlights along the trail.
• Coffee – SoHo Cafe and Perk Up Cafe: If you’re north go to SoHo, further south in B-Rip, go to Perk Up. They both are quality coffee shops and will help you get that caffeine fix to energize your whole bike ride.
• Breakfast – Good Morning Mama’s: Whether you’re looking for classic breakfast fare or an out-of-the-box option, like Hawaiian Loco Moco or an Italian favorite, Eggs in Purgatory, Good Morning Mama’s has you covered. Be prepared for a wait on weekends.
• Picnic – Locally Grown Gardens: Get an Indiana tomato plate, fresh mozzarella, some open-flame smoked pulled pork (that's what you're smelling), a slice or two of the best sugar cream pie you’ll ever have and a bottle of Icelandic glacier water (high quality H2O) and fill your picnic basket to the brim. Then head up the Monon to one of the many green spaces available to picnic. If you can stand the wait, I suggest making it all the way to the Japanese gardens. Enjoy!
• Lunch – Broad Ripple Brewpub: An Indianapolis institution (especially for beer drinkers), this English pub serves up top notch pub food, including tons of vegan and vegetarian options. Grab a seat inside or outside and enjoy an easy, delicious lunch and don’t forget to order an award-winning ESB.
• Snacks – Rene’s Bakery: It’s all about the macarons. They have other baked goods, but why, oh, why would you pass up on macarons?
• Beer – Union Brewing Co.: Another place to get a fine pint is just a little further north in Carmel. The best part about this place is they have a ton of beers and they’re not afraid to try rare brews (even though they always have classics). Try a raspberry chocolate porter, or a rauchbier, or a cinnamon stout … or all three.
• New – Big Lug Canteen: This craft brewery and gastropub exceeds their self-proclaimed goal of creating decent food and pretty good beer. In all honesty though, their Nashville hot wings are incredible (even though they may lead to a bad situation while riding a bicycle) and their beer tends to be pretty damn good.
• Dinner – Public Greens: Located directly on the Monon, this urban kitchen is part of the Patachou family and it sticks with the farm-to-table mindset of all of their locations. How farm-to-table, you might ask? Well, let’s just say the only divider between this place and its urban farm is the Monon Trail.
• Cocktails – Mama Carolla’s: While this is one of the best Italian restaurants in the city, the bartenders here make some top-notch cocktails from a time gone by. On a hot day, order a stinger served up; it’s a refreshing, minty treat. Plus, people like Evelyn Waugh, W. Somerset Maugham and even James Bond (fictitious as he may be) sipped on stingers.
This is Part 1 of a series highlighting many trails around the city, keep watching for Part 2 on the Indianapolis Cultural Trail.