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Amanda Hart

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Q&A with Christopher Bator of Dunaway’s Palazzo Ossigeno

Hired in September to take over the kitchen at Dunaway’s Palazzo Ossigeno, returning Hoosier chef Christopher Bator has already made some impressive menu tweaks. The former Florida private chef (who counted Tiger Woods and Tim Durham among his clients) plans to supplement Dunaway’s traditional steaks and chops with local produce and in-house charcuterie. We have fallen hard for his scallops in lemon beurre blanc and a refashioned banana cream pie. What else can we expect from this new toque in town?

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This Is the Way the Cookies Crumbled

When my editors first told me we were doing a piece about the best places to get cookies, I had this picture in my head of the three of us huddled around a cookie-covered table, spending half an hour tasting, discussing, and describing the sweets I spent all day picking up.

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Local Dress Codes

There’s nothing worse than getting excited for a night out only to be turned away at the door for not meeting the dress code requirements. Surprised? Formal dress codes may seem outdated, but they are still alive and well. Those who enforce them just refer to them as “preferred dress,” these days, which translates to “follow these rules or you won’t be allowed in.” Check out what you can and cannot wear at a few downtown hotspots.

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COMING SOON: Shoefly Public House

Shoefly Public House (122 E. 22nd St.) is scheduled to open in February in the Fall Creek Place neighborhood that is home to Goose the Market and Tea’s Me Cafe. Two years ago, owner Craig Mariutto and his wife, Kaitlin, decided Shoefly was exactly what the near-downtown neighborhood needed as it experiences a period of renaissance: a family-friendly place with good food that residents could call their local restaurant.

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Amelia's Breads

City Loaf: An all-around loaf. Subtle wheat flavors highlight anything you put on it. TRY IT: On the sandwiches or at dinner service at The Legend

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COMING SOON: Simeri’s Italian

A new family restaurant will open its doors in the Geist neighborhood this month. Simeri’s Italian (10410 Olio Rd., Fortville, 317-589-8557), owned by first-time restaurateur Arec Simeri, along with his father, Daniel, and brother, Christopher, will serve up authentic Italian food made from recipes Simeri’s great-grandmother brought over from Italy.

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NEW IN TOWN: Gelo

The latest addition to Cafe Patachou owner Martha Hoover’s family of eateries is Gelo, an Italian-style gelato shop adjacent to her pizzaria, Napolese (114 E. 49th St., 317-925-0765). Gelo opened on Oct. 5, inspired by “the tiny dessert shops in Europe,” says Hoover.

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Taste of Italy: The Return of the Italian Street Festival

Italians and Italian food-lovers had heavy hearts (and empty stomachs) this June when the city’s annual Italian Street Festival was canceled in the absence of anyone to coordinate the event. Unwilling to accept a year without an Italian heritage celebration, Virginia Iozzo, of the Iozzo’s Garden of Italy family (946 S. Meridian St., 317-974-1100), began planning a different festival to tide the community over until the 29-year-old institution returns next June. Hosted by Iozzo’s, Taste of Italy will be held at 3 p.m. on Oct. 13 at Holy Rosary Parish (520 Stevens St.). The free event will feature the bands Indy Nile and South Six 5. Here, Iozzo tells us how the  festival got a second chance.

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Dress Codes

Dress Codes

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REOPENING: Aristocrat Pub & Restaurant

This time next month, you’ll once again be able to grab a beer and a bite from the Aristocrat Pub & Restaurant (5212 N. College Ave., 317-283-7388). According to manager Melissa Uhte, the 79-year-old neighborhood favorite will reopen its doors in the first or second week of October after a 13-month closure for reconstruction, the result of an electrical fire that destroyed the back of the building and left everything else saturated with smoke. 

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COMING SOON: Punch Burger

The latest lunchtime addition to downtown is Punch Burger (137 E. Ohio St.), a casual burger-and-beer joint where diners can grab a quick bite for $5 to $6. Scheduled to open Oct. 1, the concept comes from Travis Sealls and Devon Everhart, owners of downtown’s fast-sandwich spot, Pita Pit (1 N. Pennsylvania St., 317-829-7482).

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A New Twist

Inspired by the success of upscale watering holes like Ball & Biscuit, Libertine, and Bluebeard, Valerie Vanderpool, chef and co-founder of Zest! Exciting Food Creations (1134 E. 54th St., 317-466-1853) is getting in on the cocktail craze. In April, Vanderpool plans to open Twist Lounge in the former N. Rue spot next door to her SoBro restaurant. The lounge will have a “sparkly, Paris boudoir look,” according to Vanderpool, who plans to apply Zest’s philosophy about food (“make it fresh, use quality ingredients, add a little whimsy”) to drinks such as the Cuzmopolitan and the SoBro Long Island Tea. “It’s going to be a total extension of what we’ve been doing for the last six and a half years,” Vanderpool says.

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Take It Slow

Happy hour isn’t just about cheap drinks, half-price appetizers and stimulating conversation anymore. Once a month, happy hour is also about purpose.  At least it is for the people at Slow Food Indy, the local chapter of Slow Food USA. Sip, Slow Food Indy’s own version of happy hour, aims to bring together like-minded people to discuss good, clean, and fair food at some of the breweries and wineries in Indianapolis that practice those values.

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