Street Savvy: Main Street, Carmel


1. Taste

Among the bronze J. Seward Johnson statues of people along Main Street—each brushed to a realistic complexion with automotive paint—the artist figure that greets guests of Shiraz Wine Experience and Art Cafe foreshadows what awaits inside the destination. Enomatic machines, displayed among various art pieces, pour more than 40 wines as pristinely as the hands of a pro and give tasters an opportunity to leisurely browse the atmosphere. 404 W. Main St., 317-564-8423,

2. Indulge

The trademarked “Big Ugly” burger at Bub’s Burgers and Ice Cream has some competition in size and splendor: The cafe tops its innocent-sounding “brownie dessert” with three pumps of hot fudge, four scoops of marshmallows, two scoops of French vanilla ice cream, and two layers of brownie crumbles. Oh, and a cherry. It all nestles in a chocolate-drizzled waffle bowl. 210 W. Main St., 317-706-2827,

Pandora bangle bracelet, $65 at Mary and Martha's Exceedingly Chic Boutique3. Style

If mixing-and-matching isn’t your bag, step inside Mary and Martha’s Exceedingly Chic Boutique with your own accessories, clothes, and even makeup for a free consultation. The boutique’s stylists are on hand to sort out your look and add some wow to the wardrobe you already have. 111 W. Main St., 317-848-2624,

4. Relax

Detour American Grill’s “Under Construction” nachos fill up two carryout boxes, but who wants to leave when there’s alfresco jazz on Sundays, trivia on Wednesdays, karaoke on Thursdays, and live music all weekend? 110 W. Main St., 317-571-0091,

5. Honor

The statue of a policeman offering a friendly smile to Monon-goers is named “Officer Carey” and memorializes the only Carmel police officer killed in the line of duty. Deputy Constable William Frank Carey was shot by a traveling evangelist in 1900 and died at age 32. Outside of Detour American Grill, 110 W. Main St.

Word on the Street

“The first year I painted the sculptures, I was surprised by the volume of tourists who came to see them. [If they could talk] they’d say: ‘Welcome to Carmel. We hope that you mistake us for real people, if only for a moment.’”  —Evie Anderson, Carmel’s statue caretaker

6. Sparkle

Harrison Diamond Company designed engagement sparklers for new Major League Baseball players David and Ryan Ledbetter (the brothers hail from Fishers). Grooms-to-be might walk out of this shop with something for themselves, too, like leather bracelets with precious metal or custom cufflinks. 110 W. Main St., 317-846-4653,

7. Shop

When you browse 14 Districts for cosmopolitan dresses by Milly, check out the socially conscious line Global Girls, too. Buying these colorful tunics and sparkly sandals helps women in impoverished countries earn a fair wage. 110 W. Main St., 317-818-4585,

8. Listen

A statue of a violinist marks the spot of Carmel Music Center, but the shop’s history has made a truer impression on Main Street. The store has been instructing future musicians from the same location since 1964, and one of those former pupils is the current owner. Erstwhile students are known to bring their kids back for cello, bass, or even ukulele lessons. Rock too hard? The store also offers repairs. 22 W. Main St., 317-846-7768.

9. Nosh

You can twirl your fork through spaghetti or sip a snickerdoodle frappe any day at Donatello’s Italian Restaurant, but the best bet for doting dog-owners is “Dine with Your Dog,” the second Tuesday of every month, when canine courses include chicken and rice or beef and carrots. Meanwhile, humans can enjoy their favorite pasta dishes at special prices. 9 W. Main St., 317-564-4790,

10. Taste

Try before you buy at The Olive Mill. This new gourmet shop, based in Michigan, offers 25 delicious-for-dipping oils and 15 balsamic vinegars at individual tasting stations, complete with complimentary recipe cards. The boutique also sells a collection of handcrafted soaps, body scrubs, and lotions made with the store’s own savory selections—such as lemon verbena lip balm. 10 S. Range Line Rd., 317-574-9200,

11. Browse

The new owner of girly-glam PillowTalk, one of the city’s only lingerie specialty stores, now hosts private bachelorette parties and bridal showers. Bridesmaids can shop the store with their altar-bound bestie for 15 percent off, while the boutique’s closed blinds leave a message for Main Street: “No peeking; we’re having a private party.” 23 E. Main St., 317-574-8990,

Photos by Tony Valainis

This article appeared in the September 2013 issue.