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Best Of Cluck

The Breadwinners: Chicken Salad Edition

Whether dressed up with nuts and grapes, cranberries and curry powder, or just plenty of crunchy celery and creamy mayo, chicken salad has never gone out of style at Indy’s cafés and delis. From blue-plate classics to more modern twists, here are some of the tastiest such fillings that local restaurants are stuffing into croissants and spreading between slices of well-toasted bread.

Patachou Chicken Salad
Cafe Patachou

Multiple locations
The addition of bacon gives the straightforward salad of free-range chicken at Indy’s most iconic lunch draw a smoky, salty edge that is particularly addictive, especially when it comes spread on slices of Cafe Patachou’s signature thick-cut sourdough. Subtle bits of celery and a luxurious amount of mayo give this version a creamy decadence, which is balanced by the cut of fresh fruit served on the side.

Spring Chicken Salad
The Lemon Bar
95 E. Pine St., Zionsville, 317-344-0472
At Kate Bova’s bright and cheery bakery cafe, the chicken salad punched up with a host of savories such as Capriole goat cheese, pickled onions, pistachios, and herbs lends a modern flair to a lunchtime classic that will win over even the staunchest traditionalist.

Chicken Salad Sandwich
SoBro Café
653 E. 52nd St., 317-920-8121
Those who like their chicken salad heavier on the meat and lighter on the mayo will appreciate the refreshing version from this eclectic spot. Pecans, dried cranberries, and a subtle touch of Gorgonzola let the poultry shine. Crisp greens and earthy multigrain bread help deliver plenty of flavor without so much guilt.

Sage Aioli Chicken Salad
Circle City
City Market, 317-632-3644
A savory hit of sage alongside shreds of deeply roasted chicken gives the salad at this City Market brunch favorite all the character of Sunday dinner at Grandma’s. Nutty Asiago and crunchy pistachios round out one of downtown’s richest sandwiches, served on fresh Circle City Sweets bread.

Chicken Salad
Ruth’s Café
3443 E. 86th St., 317-757-8006
Chicken salad doesn’t get more classic than the lunch favorite at this cozy Keystone at the Crossing cafe. Big chunks of moist roasted chicken, chopped grapes, celery, and cashews are held together perfectly with just enough mayo and topped with a slice of Havarti so it doesn’t spill out of the toasted challah.

 

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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