Lunch: Off the Eaten Path
The diner-style cuisine at the Stutz Building’s resident eating spot seems right at home in the industrial-arts setting of this repurposed auto factory. After polishing off a crispy-edged cheeseburger or classic breaded tenderloin amid the loading docks and artist studios, you can roam the polished-concrete hallways to take in owner Turner Woodard’s collection of classic cars—including the sleek and futuristic replica of the 1928 Stutz Blackhawk Special, parked just beyond the row of booths.
1055 N. Senate Ave., 602-3509
Although the Hyatt Regency’s gleaming, atrium-side restaurant offers a full menu at lunch, you really only need to know about the Pasta Bar—a tiny prep station tucked into the corner of the crisp hotel dining room. Pick your noodle, meat, and sauce, and tell the chef how to properly dress up your creation with such add-ins as minced garlic, sundried tomatoes, and artichoke hearts. The $12.50 tab includes planks of focaccia, a salad bar, soup, and a chef’s-choice dessert. Hope for the warm and buttery apple-raisin bread pudding. 1 S. Capitol Ave., 632-1234
The imposing Scottish Rite Cathedral houses a little cafeteria (operated by Thomas Caterers) on its second level. Selections lean heavily on old-school sandwiches, like tuna or chicken salad, and hot-plate items like Salisbury steak and tidy rows of pecan-crusted tilapia plucked from the warming trays by the dearest servers who deliver pearls such as: “It’s carrot souffle, and it tastes sweet like dessert. But you can say you are eating your vegetables.” Most impressively, after sliding your tray down the line, you can take a seat in the mezzanine overlooking an immaculate ballroom designed in full Freemason glory. 650 N. Meridian St., 917-1463
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At this refurbished red barn in Westfield, the daily pick-two is no ordinary soup-and-sandwich combo. Owners Toby and Melanie Miles assemble ham-and-Brie sandwiches, rock-crab rolls, and gourmet PB&J with the likes of wild-mushroom soup, spring-pea soup, and a Farmers Salad spiked with a chunk of French bread smeared with Tulip Tree Creamery’s Fromage Frais. If you can’t stay here all day, soaking up the agrarian-chic vibe at the community farm table, you can at least take a little piece of Rail Epicurean back to the office with you in the form of an oatmeal-shagbark cookie sourced from 4 Birds Bakery.
211 Park St., Westfield, 804-8555
As if the sophisticated espresso menu weren’t alluring enough at this glossy showpiece of shiny counters and glass cases in downtown Speedway’s Dallara IndyCar Factory, Lino’s makes delicious use of the handsome meats and cheeses in its display deli. Toasted panini are meticulously layered with imported Italian ingredients ranging from paper-thin sheets of Prosciutto di Parma, soft scamorza cheese, and fig spread (on the Figgy Piggy) to rosemary ham, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and artichokes (on the Milano). Thin-crusted 12-inch pizzas with a la carte toppings are cooked to order, and—in true Italian style—wine is available by the bottle.
1201 Main St., Speedway, 222-5238
If you need to knock out a few items on your grocery list and lunch all in one, pop over to the Marsh Supermarket on the ground level of the Axis apartments. (Parking in the garage is free for up to two hours.) The stacked—and always-popular—salad bar offers a bevy of add-ins, like various meats and cheeses, dried cranberries, sesame sticks, and hard-boiled eggs. Or mix-and-match your meal with hot and cold items culled from the cases, like fried chicken and mac ’n’ cheese or curried chicken salad with a side of fresh pineapple.
227 W. Michigan St., 262-5215
This article appeared in the September 2015 Issue.