Lunch: Grab Bag
Break out of your Chipotle rut with the city’s best places for a midday meal on-the-go.
Head to Regina Mehallick’s bright, quiet market when you can’t stomach another haphazardly thrown-together sack lunch. Made-to-order sandwiches include roast beef with daikon salad, radishes, and black-pepper mayo and Regina’s bacon panini, a bacon, avocado, watercress, and apple-tomato chutney creation between slices of ciabatta bread. Give your meal a little crunch with a bag of deliciously salty Broad Ripple Chip Co. chips. Those truly pressed for time—and with access to a microwave—should make for the refrigerators, stocked with a selection of premade dishes like turkey meatloaf, vegetable lasagna, and black-bean chili.
1101 N. College Ave., 737-2543
Okay, so not everything at this Fountain Square specialty grocer is strictly grab-and-go. Soups (from local Circle City Soups) such as the tomato-basil with orange zest or brown-butter mushroom Gorgonzola, have to be ladled out by the staff. And if you want the sandwich of the day—posted on social media each morning—minus this or that, you’ll have to ask for a specially made version. But if combinations like turkey, chorizo, pepper Jack, romaine, and chipotle-mango chutney, or cotto salami, black-truffle cheddar, pepperoncini, spinach, arugula, and asparagus-ranch sauce, sound tempting, pluck one from the basket on top of the cheese case and be on your way.
1015 Virginia Ave., 737-2653
All-natural foods rule here, both on the shelves and in the fresh selections dished out from the in-store eatery. Try a baked sweet potato, chicken drumettes, a buffalo burger, or one of several rotating specialty items. If you’re really in a rush, steer away from the fast-food drive-thru and instead snag a prepackaged spicy mango-kale salad.
4375 Georgetown Rd., 293-9525
With its name barely visible on the faded purple awning and City Market’s bevy of vendors right across the street, you’d be forgiven for overlooking Stars Sandwich Market. But for a quick bite, it’s tough to beat the many prepackaged sandwiches handmade each morning, such as roast beef with horseradish sauce, turkey with cream cheese and cranberry relish, and hummus and black bean. Make it a meal with a side of dill potato salad or sesame noodles tossed in a honey-soy dressing, plus a mega-sized cookie.
116 N. Delaware St., 822-9999
Chris’s Ice Cream
Homemade ice cream (plied from freezers lined up behind the cash register) might get top billing at this small, Hispanic-owned Nora shop. But the focus shifts dramatically at lunch, when the back kitchen churns out authentic Mexican takeout fare. Soft, warm, double-wrapped tortillas cradle carne asada, chorizo, and other spicy meat fillings. Chewy little sopes are crowned with the richest sour cream and salty cotija crumbles. Tortas and burritos span their plates. And when the staff warns you “the red sauce is very hot” as you fix up your meal before heading out the door—take their word for it.
1405 E. 86th St., 255-2156
This article appeared in the September 2015 Issue.