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Food & Drinks

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COMING SOON: Ali Baba's Cafe

Downtown’s ethnic dining scene gets a new addition this fall in the form of Ali Baba’s Cafe, which has  set up shop at The Block building in the spot previously occupied by Tea Cozy. Slated to open late September, the family-owned and -operated restaurant will seat up to 50 diners and serve Greek and Middle Eastern dishes for lunch ($7-$10) and dinner ($15+). In the evening hours, the restaurant devotes itself entirely to hookah.

Owner Mamduh Almaaitah says he

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COMING SOON: Late Harvest Kitchen

In October, former Oceanaire Seafood Room executive chef Ryan Nelson will open his new restaurant in The Shoppes of River Crossing (Next to Old Navy). Late Harvest Kitchen, will feature New American cuisine at prices ranging from the high-teens to mid-twenties. “If I had to boil down the concept, there’s a great tradition of fine dining chefs that do food in a more casual setting,” Nelson says. “I want to make my food available to everyone, not j

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Virginia Kay's Doughnuts: The Hole Story

Hungry downtown dwellers and Northside commuters who have passed the darkened home of short-lived Bonjour Cafe and Bakery at 24th & Meridian, your wait for some new victuals is (nearly) over!   After last summer’s rumors that a Dunkin Donuts and a Baskin-Robbins were taking over the spot never panned out, it looked as though it might be another blight on the Meridian corridor. But a banner has gone up announcing that

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Swoon List: 5 Things We Adore Right Now

The Guinness chocolate cupcake at Creation Cafe (337 W. 11th St., 317-955-2389), rich (but not too), with a perfectly piped cap of semi-sweet chocolate icing. The trifle-style tiramisu at Iozzo’s Garden of Italy (946 S. Meridian St., 317-974-1100

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Independents Day

The Star does a very nice job today, on its front page, of reporting on the latest spate of restaurant closures … though they were singing

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Poultry In Motion

The backyard chicken coop craze is catching on from Carmel to Irvington. Here is everything you need to know to join the flock.   Feed Store:

The only chicken feed store inside the I-465 loop, Backyard Birds (2374 E. 54th St., 317-255-7333) also hosts classes on raising them.

Required Reading: Established in 1914,

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Swoon List: 5 Things We Adore Right Now

1.    Shrimp nachos at El Puerto de San Blas (3564 Lafayette Rd., 317-291-2800): Huge pieces of shrimp, chunky cilantro-laced guacamole, and plenty of melted cheese on housemade chips.

2.    The Chinese basil, eggplant, and garlic chicken at Naisa Pan-Asian Cafe (1025 Virginia Ave., 317-602-3708), a seasonal special.

3.    Deep-fried breaded jalapeno ri

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WATCH LIST: Late Harvest Kitchen

The official name of former Oceanaire chef Ryan Nelson’s new restaurant at The Shoppes of River Crossing

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Indy Cigar Bar Gets Some Air

In late July, Indianapolis couple and Indy Cigar Bar (3357 E. 86th St., 317-202-0720) owners Laura and Corey Johnston were featured on NBC’s The Marriage Ref, a cross between reality TV and a game show in which A-listers act as judge and jury for couples who a

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A Fat Sammies/Papa Roux Mashup

The mostly deserted curb next to a torn-up lot at 14th and Meridian didn’t seem a very promising spot for a lunchtime food truck. But soon enough, fans and Facebook followers of Fat Sammies Ciao Wagon started trickling in, hungry for a Sicilian lunch. This relative newcomer onto Indy’s growing food-truck scene prides itself on being a quality “taste” truck with Italian-style subs and sandwiches that won’t weigh you down when you head back to work.

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Devouring Downtown

Yesterday marked the first day of Devour Downtown, and we have a lot of work to do. Among the restaurants participating in this summer’s $30/three-course eating frenzy (which runs through Aug. 21), we have our eyes on . . .

The Rathskeller Restaurant (401 E. Michigan St., 317-636-0

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SPOTTED: Jim Sorgi at Harry & Izzy's

You never know who you’ll end up rubbing elbows and swapping plates with downtown.   A friend who works in radio invited me to have a drink with his cohorts at Harry & Izzy’s (153 S. Illinois St., 317-635-9594) last Monday night. He himself didn’t know it would turn into dinner, and lo and behold, former Colts backup quarterback

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Crazy Like a Snooty Fox?

Tomorrow night on the Food Network’s Restaurant: Impossible reality show, Nora’s very own Snooty Fox (1435 E. 86th St., 317-257-6033) gets its 15 minutes of fame as the subject of host Robert Irvine’s revision. Restaurant owner Tim Queisser applied for the spot, having kept a worried eye on the restaurant’s bottom line for the last couple of years—though a family-run restaurant that has survived 30 years could probably teach its own seminar on how to run a

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Let’s Take This Outside

Some al fresco tables announce themselves from the curb—little wrought iron two-tops arranged along the edges of parking lots and busy sidewalks. But some of the best outdoor tables in town are more hidden from view (and, in many cases, comfortably out of the baking sun’s direct line of fire). Want to sip wine in an urban garden that looks like something straight out of West Side Story (with strings of lights and Friday night movies, no less)? Reserve a courtyard table at Iozzo’s Garden of Italy just south of downtown. Have a hankering for skewered appetizers and umbrella drinks with a tiki essence? The fenced-in patio attached to Revolucion is your hallowed ground. Here, a few more of our favorite secluded places to get a little air with dinner.

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MINI REVIEW: Napoli Villa Italian Restaurant

A friendly hostess at Napoli Villa (758 Main St., Beech Grove,

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