Restaurant Guide Update: July 2019

An outdoor patio with picnic tables and swarms of people and dogs.
Half Liter is summer’s new crowd pleaser.

Tony Valainis

King Dough
452 N. Highland Ave., 317-602-7960
It took a pair of legendary local entrepreneurs (Tom and Ed Battista) to convince some of the state’s most innovative pizzaioli (Adam and Alicia Sweet) to bring a long-awaited second location of their Bloomington pizzeria to the Holy Cross neighborhood in early 2019. Yet the swarms of smiling pizza fans who covet this joint’s crust and toppings are proof it was worth the wait. Chewy, yeasty, and with just the right flop in the middle, the Sweets’ pizzas are bona fide craft from the dough to the obviously high-quality, painstakingly sourced toppings. Standouts include the Destroyer with aged mozzarella, goat cheese, sausage, and a drizzle of spicy honey, as well as the earthy Stinky Pete with wild mushrooms, gorgonzola, and plenty of garlic and herbs. Burgers, including one made from chorizo topped with manchego cheese, play surprisingly close second fiddles to the pies, and starters such as delectable patatas bravas with chimichurri and a cashew aioli give this place the broad appeal of a trattoria. Creative cocktails concocted from boutique liqueurs and aromatics are reason enough to drop in, and they make for perfect sippers while you wait for your pie and watch the neighborhood goings-on from the spacious back patio. Lunch and dinner daily.

The Point on Penn/The Flatiron
605 N. Pennsylvania St., 317-746-6961
Nearly two years after downtown pub The Elbow Room shuttered, the historic building that housed it gained new life with two dining concepts overseen by longtime country-club chef Glenn Brown. Weekday counter-service breakfast includes meat-and-eggs options, grain bowls, and entrée “cups” from “Mom’s Cupboard,” such as quinoa grits and overnight oats. Sandwiches and soups, including Brown’s version of a local classic, chicken velvet soup, are available at lunch. Dinner gets a more upscale approach on the old bar side, with roasted chicken, a bone-in ribeye, and pan-roasted salmon with asiago risotto. Especially good are the desserts, including peanut-butter brownies, cupcakes, and turnovers served all day. The artfully plated chocolate torte and carrot cake make for an elegant finish at dinner. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner Mon.–Sat.; brunch Sun.

Half Liter
5301 Winthrop Ave., 463-221-2800
Tucked into the soaring back half of the complex that houses its sister restaurant, Liter House, chef Blake Ellis and owner Eddie Sahm’s Bavarian-themed barbecue-and-beer hall has all the rollicking, cheeky energy of Oktoberfest with the laidback charm of a Texas brisket pit. And brisket is what you want to order here, superbly juicy and with a perfectly bronzed bark to show off Ellis’s considerable skills at the smoker. Get it on a platter with equally excellent smoked wings and sides of collards, ranchero beans, and waffle fries. Snacks range from a Frito pie with the day’s smoked meat to a “sorta torta” with pulled pork, a kicky hot link, and guacamole. A pet-friendly, two-story covered patio makes this place especially welcoming in warm months, but quaffing a textbook German dunkel or Kölsch within smelling distance from the pit is a barbecue lover’s heaven in any season. Lunch and dinner daily.