No. 23 – 25 Best Restaurants

The new owner of a landmark Fountain Square building envisioned the space that would become Pioneer mainly as a music club. Thankfully, a compromise was made. Food was clearly the headline act when this Alpine-themed restaurant with frequent live music opened last fall—a sexy, streamlined hangout with a sidewalk-side beer garden, scruffy-chic bar, and what will surely become one of the most coveted tables-with-a-view in town: one framed in French windows that open onto the night-lit fountain at the buzzing intersection of Virginia Avenue, Prospect Avenue, and Shelby Street. Chefs Bryan Kanne and Justin Eiteljorge, both formerly of Bluebeard, are in charge of a kitchen that is just as comfortable turning out whole roasted chicken with kale and caramelized onions as it is plating housemade sausages over pomme puree and turning old-man standards—like chicken-liver mousse with schmaltz and pickles, or house-cured salmon atop little sauerkraut pancakes—into the next big thing.

TIP: Wine drinkers, skip the glass. Bottle prices are so competitive that you end up with two free glasses at the end of your pour. 

DON’T MISS: The SM57 cocktail, Pioneer’s crisp, sweet, sky-blue version of the classic Aviation.   

1110 E. Shelby St., 986-6761,

See all 25 Best Restaurants here.