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1. The Workingman’s Friend 234 N. Belmont Ave., 317-636-2067 Be ready to elbow into a seat at the Formica-topped counter at this near-westside burger destination. The bar is deep enough for reading the paper or using your laptop—if you’re that kind of workingman—or just devouring a crispy-edged double with cheese.
2. Rock-Cola Cafe 5730 Brookville Rd., 317-357-2233 A row of classic chrome stools lets customers swivel while they watch the mammoth sandwiches take shape at this nostalgic ’50s diner. Just don’t lean too close when the cook stabs a steak knife into a Mile High Club piled onto “two tiers” of Texas toast. Be sure to order a Choc-Ola, a cafe exclusive.
3. Napolese 30 S. Meridian St., 317-635-0765 What the downtown outpost of this popular Meridian-Kessler pizzeria lacks in neighborhood chatter, it more than makes up for in vintage sophistication, down to the screw-top metal drafting stools you can perch on to watch your pizzaiola dress your pie. The pleasantly scorched crust of your dinner is mere seconds—and inches—away. (See photo at right.)
4. The Historic Steer-In 5130 E. 10th St., 317-356-0996 If you want to eavesdrop on the latest eastside gossip or be the closest to the coffee pot for a refill, tuck yourself into one of the comfy, table-height seats on the U-shaped counter at this legendary diner that dates back to 1960. Breakfast is definitely best for catching up on the “news.”
5. Northside Kitchenette 6515 N. College Ave., 317-253-1022 Each brushed-steel seat at this darling sandwich shop’s wee counter gets its own wicker lampshade. Counter customers can also watch the parade of lunch offerings—the Munchie Supremes or the Brie-and-pear salads—come through the kitchen’s constantly swinging metal door.
Check out more of our favorites.
This article appeared in the September 2013 issue.
1 Top Five: Soul Food2 24 Cheap-Eat Spots3 25 Best Bars4 25 Best Restaurants5 Food and Drink Recipes6 15 Destination Dinners7 Five Great Road Trips 8 10 Notorious Crimes9 Top 20 Sports Bars10 50 Great Gifts
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