The hiss of a griddle and the gurgle of a deep fryer. The smell of eggs mingling with fried tenderloins and fresh-cut fries. Yep: You’ve arrived at Peppy Grill, the beloved 24-hour hole in the wall in Fountain Square. Even at midnight on a Thursday, patrons are ordering breakfast food. Creative professionals, college students, servers from already-closed nearby restaurants, EMTs, police officers—folks cluster around well-worn linoleum tables or sit alone drinking coffee. Some are winding down the night; others are just getting it started. The smell of biscuits and gravy ($3.95) practically triggers a Pavlovian response. A dozen Peppy Grills once littered the city landscape, but all except this Virginia Avenue location—the one with the highest profits—were sold in the 1970s. There’s another Peppy’s in Indy, on East 10th Street, but managers say it isn’t part of the chain.
Charles Hedrick, Charles Walters, and Michael Knipp are out for a gaming session. “We came to get coffee, and then we’re going to go do Pokémon Go,” says Knipp. Jake Strakis, who lives in Fountain Square, and his friend Nicole McWilken of Greenwood, found themselves at Peppy’s after a show at the Melody Inn. They’re waiting for a plate of that bargain B&G, along with eggs and hash browns. “It’s a comfort binge place,” says McWilken. “It’s always here for you, just like the comfort food.”