Indianapolis Monthly

DOWNTOWN

Amberson Coffee & Grocer

COFFEEHOUSE The cinderblock shell of a former service station houses this neighborhood coffee spot with grocery cases, outdoor seating under the awning, and a drive-up window. In addition to expertly poured vanilla-date lattes and a signature Summer Dandy with Onyx Coffee Ecuadorian espresso, plum reduction, and oat cream sweetened with maple syrup, the shop offers a small daily selection of baked goods, like a tasty “bisquet” grilled up with fig jam and butter, and a scone enriched with Asian pears and maple. Heartier fare comes in the form of an avocado toast topped with goat cheese crumbles or an equally fine toast with ricotta and poached nectarines. And while the $16 “damned fine sandwich” may try your daily lunch budget, the stack of Brie, Colby, fromage blanc, ham, avocado, and a unique spread of fig and pickled carrots on toasted Leviathan Bakehouse milk bread is worth every penny. 401 S. College Ave., 562-293-8962, amberson coffee.square.site

Bazbeaux

PIZZA As some of Indy’s most celebrated restaurateurs open pie places all over town, we haven’t forgotten where we first found artichoke hearts and goat cheese on our’za. Bazbeaux has changed little since 1986, when it opened in Broad Ripple, and it hasn’t really needed to. Flat crust baked crunchy. Toppings you won’t find at Domino’s, like pine nuts and prosciutto. And the cheese—mounds of mozzarella blended with provolone and pecorino. 333 Massachusetts Ave., 317-636-7662, bazbeaux.com

Beholder

CONTEMPORARY A former car-repair shop just outside Woodruff Place sets the stage for daring performance art that has featured pig-skin noodles, and granita-topped uni designed to melt on the tongue, as well as buttermilk fried chicken with wildflower honey. The laborintensive cocktails are smart and spot-on. 1844 E. 10th St., 317-419-3471, beholderindy.com

Bluebeard

Bluebeard opened in 2012, and crowds still roll in for chef Abbi Merriss’s take on seasonal comfort food, a category she dominates in town as evidenced by her vast collection of national media mentions and James Beard Award nominations. Start with the bread baked next door at sisterbusiness bakery Amelia’s—it’s especially delicious slathered with anchovy butter—and build your meal from the ever-changing menu of small and large dishes. Fried morels may show up on a spring picnic plate, while winter nights call for a comforting butcher-shop Bolognese. For a special-occasion meal, rent out the private upper-level dining room.

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