It boasts one of downtown’s most coveted locations, at the busy crossroads of Pennsylvania and Washington streets, with Bankers Life Fieldhouse framed squarely in its front windows. But the brand-new, Atlanta-based Tin Roof (36 S. Pennsylvania St., 317-951-2220) seems determined not to be mistaken for some kind of nice, uptown restaurant.
The servers are sweet and accommodating, but so casual in their presentation that you could mistake them for bar patrons. Drinks—even the overpriced mixed ones—arrive in flimsy plastic cups. And the brightly colored walls and funky design scheme that we reported on here a few weeks ago have been nearly Sharpied over in (supposedly condoned) graffiti. Not even a month into existence, this place has attained a college-town patina that is going to give Cadillac Ranch and Taps & Dolls some competition on business-choked weekend nights.
The menu has some fun, but should not be taken too seriously. Under sandwiches, you will find both a shrimp po’boy and a grilled chicken breast adhered to its toasted bun with peanut butter and honey—a combination that works, flavor-wise, but needs something to moisten the sticky components. It shares the plate with krinkle-cut fries, which makes up for any shortcomings. There are wraps and very good, crisp salads with big chunks of cucumber and carrot topping even the humble side salad. You can build your own nachos using one of the checklists supplied, sushi order-style, at the tables. The toppings include everything from basic queso and salsa to sauteed mushrooms and peppers, with your choice of protein. If you dare to go the “Kitchen Sink” route, which includes everything, accept that you are going to need a fork to eat it.