Peek Inside Bluebeard’s Invitation-Only Dinners

Long after most customers have settled their bills and headed home to bed, an exuberant crew of Bluebeard groupies gathers once a month for a multicourse meal that lasts well into the wee hours. These are the restaurant’s midnight dinners, where some of Indy’s most dedicated foodies crowd into a sweeping banquette under shelves fit with vintage typewriters to let the bar backs and line cooks—ordinarily the backup performers—show off their culinary luster. Here is a sample of one night’s (or, rather, morning’s) spread.

For a refresher, Bluebeard’s bartenders bottled their own spin on root beer concocted from sassafras, ginger, and Demerara sugar. Some diners mixed it with shots of herbal amaro liqueur.




0215_potatopancakesAmuse: Crisp potato pancakes topped with herbs, bacon vinaigrette, and soft egg-yolk croquettes come together in breakfast reimagined as a sophisticated first taste.



0215_chefSecond Course: Cooks Bryan Kanne and Andrew Whitmoyer grill medallions of beef-tongue bacon to layer between pickled hard-boiled eggs on planks of brioche.




0215_cocktailSipper: Bartenders pipe the smoke of Imperial Balkan tobacco from Hardwicke’s into a mixture of rye whiskey, botanicals, and Indiana maple syrup, which they then trap in recycled Traders Point yogurt jars.




0215_dessertDessert: A torch flame finishes the clever Inverted S’more, a stack of dark ganache and “anti-graham crackers” made from coconut and hazelnut, crowned with a caramel-vanilla marshmallow.




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.