24 W. Washington St., 317-493-1293
If the lunchtime queue at this celebrated St. Louis import stretches onto Washington Street, the friendly staff might reward your wait with a sample of succulent, slow-cooked brisket or pork. Stacked specialty sandwiches such as the Big Muddy with brisket and smoked sausage are tempting, but meat platters allow for a pure taste of the mains and creative daily sides like creamed spinach, corn casserole, and pimento-cheese potatoes. Sauces ranges from Texas hot to an Alabama-inspired white sauce with horseradish to a smoky and complex coffee barbecue sauce, all applied by way of squirt bottle. Juicy turkey, salmon, and a smoked-Portobello sandwich complete the less-than-expected menu at this welcome addition to Indy’s growing barbecue scene. Lunch and dinner daily.
Tavern at the Point
401 Massachusetts Ave., 317-756-9609
Historically, this Mass Ave location’s biggest draw has been its outdoor tables on the V-shaped patio that wraps around the tip of the building. When Cunningham Restaurant Group purchased the spot from Old Point Tavern, the Indy-based company retained that casual al fresco vibe. Dare we say it polished it up? Will there be rioting in the streets if we submit that it’s even better now? The new-school nachos have sliced radishes and pulled pork that still avalanche off the plate and onto the table. But now, the menu also offers spicy chicken sticky buns made funky with pickled daikon and sticky kabayaki sauce—and the macaroni and cheese contains pimento. Still conflicted? Order a barrel-aged Negroni with your Tavern wings and embrace the change. Lunch and dinner daily.
His Place Eatery
6916 E. 30th St., 317-545-4890
The chicken wings have a light shatter of a crust. The fried bologna sandwich can be upgraded to a coleslaw-topped beauty called The Experience. The smoked meats span the barbecue spectrum, from rib tips to brisket. So it’s no surprise that choosing something off the menu at this comfort-food haven can prove challenging. Fortunately, you can’t go wrong—just be sure to get a side of cooked cabbage, a glass of The Uptown (His Place’s lemonade-heavy take on the Arnold Palmer, also available by the gallon), and a cup of peach cobbler to go. Lunch Tues. and Sun., lunch and dinner Wed.–Sat.
4573 N. College Ave., 317-643-4380
Kimbal Musk’s modern take on the diner experience aims to be as local as a Colorado-based company can be. You’ll find Fischer Farms beef in the burgers, Silverthorn Farm kale in the salad, and Tinker Coffee in the mugs. If clean eating is on the agenda, options range from a roasted-vegetable-and-quinoa bowl to a beet burger with arugula and feta. In the mood to indulge? The garlic-and-Parmesan fingerling potato Smashers are savory and perfectly crispy around the edges, while the salt ’n’ pepper chicken bites are essentially scratch-made chicken nuggets for grown-ups, with Sriracha aioli and house ranch dressing. Lunch and dinner daily.