The Washington Times-Herald

January 24, 2012

Plenty of great places to eat in Circle City

By Todd Daniel Lancaster
Washington Times-Herald

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — With the eyes of the world looking at Indianapolis over the next two weeks, I thought it might be a great time to take the Pub Crawl to the Circle City. There are plenty of great places to eat and drink in downtown Indy, so if you are going up for a look around over the next two weeks, here are some great choices.  Having been to the state finals with area teams seven times in the last decade, it has always been fun to go up a little early and make a celebration out of it. I wouldn’t quite call this a personal anthology of Indy eateries, more of a greatest hits. First and foremost is St. Elmo’s Steakhouse. Opened in 1902 it is the most famous steakhouse in the state. It is located right downtown about two blocks from Lucas Oil Stadium on South Illinois. The steaks are $40 and the shrimp cocktail is $16, however, I have never felt ripped off after leaving (Broke, yes, but never ripped off.)  The shrimp cocktail is perfect. It is the spiciest I have ever had, but it is also the best. The cocktail sauce recipe is catsup and fresh horseradish, cider vinegar, fresh lemon juice and a little chili sauce. Simple, but the best you will ever try. Harry and Izzy’s is also downtown and although I have never been there, people whose opinion I value say it is fantastic. It is owned and managed by the owners of St. Elmo’s and the same world famous shrimp cocktail is available there as well.  Another great choice for a beautiful piece of meat is Shula’s, located in the  Westin, just north of the Convention Center. It is also pricey, but sublime. For a much more casual taste of Indy, go two blocks south of Lucas to Shapiro’s Deli. It has also been in Indianapolis for more than 100 years. Shapiro’s rivals any kosher deli in New York or New Jersey. It has the best Reuben, corned beef or pastrami I have had since moving from New Jersey 35 years ago. Sandwiches are about $10 or $11 each, but they’re  piled high and I believe you can still get a New York favorite Dr. Brown’s cream soda there as well. I’m also a big fan of the Claddagh Irish Pub right downtown. Although it is a chain with two other locations in Indy and 13 others across the Midwest. I love the traditional private booths and the Guinness that flows like the Boyne River. There are 16 beers on tap and probably another 40 in bottles. The food is excellent traditional Irish pub fare and it is pretty reasonably priced too. It is located basically between Conseco Fieldhouse and Lucas Oil. You can’t talk about downtown Indianapolis without adding in the Slippery Noodle for after hours live blues or the two downtown micro-breweries, the Ram and Rock Bottom. Both do a nice job of producing quality craft beers, but if I had to choose, I lean a little more toward Rock Bottom. I would be remiss to not shout out to The Pub, right across from Conseco. They (and WAMW) have always been good to the people of Daviess County as we have made our state title pilgrimages that always start with pregame festivities there. There are lots of TVs, good pub food, and they seem very  open to letting people celebrate a little. So as always, enjoy yourself and let me know how things went at tlancaster@wash timesherald.com.