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April’s First Bite

A barbershop with espresso and Greg Hardesy gets a little salty.

New In Town
From antiques to books to free-roaming cats, there isn’t much local coffee makers haven’t paired with steaming cups of java. So it’s a bit surprising it took as long as it did for Indy to gets its first bona fide top-shelf espresso bar and style shop where you can sip a foam-topped cortado while waiting to get clipped. Leave it to Brandon Burdine, proprietor of the popular throwback Brick & Mortar Barber Shop on Delaware, to bring the concepts together at his Commissary Barber & Barista, tucked just below street level east of downtown. Tinker Coffee pour-overs, artfully presented cappuccinos, and cold brews served beneath rustic brick arches are as fashionable as the cuts from the barbers next door, and kombucha on tap, as well as a rotating beer list and wine choices, turn your haircut appointment into happy hour. And pastries such as a perfectly flaky, sweet-glazed morning bun from Plainfield’s Milk & Honey Bakery make this a great start to the day, whether or not you’re stopping in for a fade. 304 E. New York St., 317-730-3121

Picture of a tall gentleman wearing a black or dark charcoal chef’s shirt.

Greg Hardesty

Pinch of Wisdom
“With coffee, I like a muffin or cookie with a decent amount of salt. The sweet triggers the endorphins, but the salt makes the coffee linger a little longer. It becomes more like a food-and-wine pairing event.”—Greg Hardesty, the former Recess chef behind Studio C, a private-dining space in Broad Ripple featuring events, dinners, classes, and morning coffee to go

Revisit
There is a bit of a clandestine air about Caplinger’s Seafood Kitchen Restaurant 2Go, the latest addition to the Caplinger family of seafood spots. You pull up to the low-slung fish hut installed in late fall just off Pendleton Pike, framed in corrugated aluminum. Walk over to a tiny window, where you speak your order to the crew furiously frying up the next batch of clams, and then drive off with dinner in a paper bag. It’s everything you love about the original location on Shadeland Avenue—including golden, batter-dipped catfish or po’boys piled high with crispy shrimp—downsized and streamlined for speed. Just don’t expect a counter full of fresh fish. Kitchen 2Go eliminates the overhead with no-nonsense takeout service of its popular sandwiches and dinners. But, really, when there are blue-crab melts and lobster rolls this good, not to mention addictive, chip-like Buffalo fries, and some of Indy’s best collards, shouldn’t you leave the cooking to the pros? 9535 Pendleton Pike, 317-389-5378

A graduate of IU’s Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing, Terry Kirts hails from a town in Illinois so small it didn’t have a restaurant until he was in the 8th grade. Since 2000, he’s more than made up for the dearth of eateries in his childhood, logging hundreds of meals as the dining critic for WHERE Indianapolis, Indianapolis Woman, and NUVO before joining Indianapolis Monthly as a contributing editor in 2007. A senior lecturer in creative writing at IUPUI, Terry has published his poetry and creative nonfiction in a number of literary journals and anthologies, including Gastronomica, Alimentum, and Home Again: Essays and Memoirs from Indiana, and he’s the author of the poetry collection To the Refrigerator Gods, published by Seven Kitchens Press in 2011.
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