Love Handle

The only thing more surprising than Indy’s newfound craving for chopped pork-tongue sandwiches and trout-skin chips is where we discovered this implausible love: in a tiny East 10th Street storefront with a minimalist decor that most closely resembles its past life as a Subway sandwich shop. The location choice was but the first act of fearlessness by owners Chris and Ally Benedyk, who started serving up their one-of-a-kind take on sandwiches and charcuterie last August. Chris, one of the first employees to man the counter at Goose the Market in the early days of craft butchering, smokes his own meats in-house and whips up batches of glistening headcheese and beef-tendon terrine. The counter doubles as a display case for smoked pork belly, beef shoulder, and other glorious hunks of meat that find their way into sandwiches with names like Riptide (slices of spicy beef heart under a layer of fontina, with a sweet-sour accompaniment of mixed-berry jam and pickled veggies) and the Giton (roasted pork belly and beef shoulder with miso mostarda, spicy sour cabbage, and coffee mayo).

TIP: Desserts, Ally’s contribution to the daily menu, deserve equal billing. Don’t skip the banana cake layered with goat-cheese frosting, or anything with the word “cheesecake” in its name.

DON’T MISS: Love Handle’s interpretation of the breakfast sandwich, which might come in the form of a meaty French toast slider.

2829 E. 10th St., 430-5004

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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.