New Kid On The Butcher Block: Turchetti’s Salumeria

If you’ve been to  restaurants and specialty shops like Black Market, Ukiyo, or Wildwood Market, you’ve likely had a taste of George Turkette’s well-spiced, spreadable n’duja or tender city ham. And if you’ve been to the Garfield Park Farmers Market lately, you may have had the chance to sample the pepperoni that he’s perfected to cook into just the right curl on homemade pizza. In fact, this whole-animal butchering wunderkind has already made a name for himself around the city in the last few years as a true prodigy for producing Old World salami, sausages, deli meats, and deeply flavorful cold-smoked bacon.

Turkette’s dream of opening a full-service deli to showcase his full culinary skills didn’t come to fruition until this past weekend when, after months of construction challenges and Health Department inspections, he opened Turchetti’s Salumeria (1106 Prospect St., 317-426-3048) in the former Marrow space in the heart of Fountain Square. An homage to Casa Turchetti, the inn that his family still operates in Taormina, Sicily, the new deli features windows into the curing room, where hams and salame hang in anticipation of being sliced up in the months ahead. The old bar at Marrow serves as the counter, with just enough table seating for lunch crowds. In addition to an Indiana ham sandwich with spicy Calabrian pepper chow chow and St. Louis’ famous provel cheese, Turkette serves a crispy-edged smash burger, deviled eggs filled with n’duja and topped with mustard seeds and capers, and a State Fair–worthy fried turkey leg that is definitely a cut to be reckoned with. A grab-and-go case holds meat treats such as Cajun andouille and Texas hot links, while a selection of wines and craft beers means that the deli, which is currently open 10:30 a.m to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, is a fun spot to stop for happy-hour libations as well as a tasty lunch.

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.