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Hola, Festiva

Venturing further into the shrinking food desert of East 16th Street, pioneering restaurateurs Peter George and Tom Main of Tinker Street unveiled vibrant Latin spot Festiva (1217 E. 16th St., 317-635-4444) in late 2016, featuring their signature heated patio and cozy dining room, as well as a pass-through bar offering Jason Foust’s fresh-pressed margaritas and mezcal cocktails. Spot-on chicken pozole with a rich guajillo broth, tender spit-roasted pork al pastor, and delectable pork ribs with a piquant arbol chile sauce and cooling chipotle crema demonstrate the kitchen’s range, from authenticity to innovation. Hearty side dishes such as creamy potatoes with roasted peppers and zucchini flecked with corn kernels are ample and easy to share, as are tamales and salads, making Festiva a great value not just for a celebration dinner but a weeknight neighborhood supper. Psst: It’s pronounced fesTEEva.

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.