5402 E. Washington St., 317-359-2333
A former Chinese take-out in Irvington was given new life as this casual neighborhood source for earnest grill-top cooking. In the great Chicago dog tradition, Vienna all-beefs are cradled in Turano Bakery buns with all the fixings you’d expect, prepared either via the traditional sear or charred. The street-cart standard gets some competition from the chili cheese–topped Belushi and an Italian beef–topped Italian sausage. A full menu of fat burgers, hand-battered chicken tenders, and an “Old Man’s Grilled Cheese” ensure that there is something for everyone at this eastside spot. Lunch and dinner daily.
11529 Spring Mill Rd., Carmel, 317-564-8092
This bright, daytime spin-off of next-door Italian eatery Convivio specializes in coffee that is meant to be savored, not guzzled. Breakfast is its shining moment, when beautifully layered and foamed cappuccinos and macchiatos ease diners into a menu of egg-centric dishes and gilded toasts. At lunch, the focus shifts to salads, panini, pastas, and bubble-crusted pizzas cooked by fire. Breakfast and lunch daily.
Traders Point Creamery
9101 Moore Rd., Zionsville, 317-733-1700
Though its dishes change with the micro seasons, the on-site restaurant for Zionsville’s picturesque dairy farm always delivers a rustic opulence that plays into the bucolic theme. Chef Jon Warner now oversees a kitchen that has turned out dishes like a wintry duck breast with wild mushrooms, turnips, and apples under the twinkling rafters of a restored barn. Other highlights have included halibut al pastor, grilled ribeye, and salmon salad with foraged mulberries and local strawberries served on the breezy screened porch and patio overlooking the farm spread. You can’t go wrong with the made-to-order skillet of buttery yeast rolls. The burger is a perennial favorite as well, and rightfully so, massive and piled with the likes of pickled ramp remoulade and TPC’s Brick Street Tomme. For dessert, go minimal with just a scoop of the creamery’s fresh-churned ice cream. Lunch Mon.–Sat., dinner Tues.–Sun., brunch Sun.
Chile Y Limón
6250 W. 38th St., 317-430-7474
Culinary thrill seekers will want to check out Beatriz Cardenas’ eye-popping Latin ice cream parlor on West 38th Street, an online sensation for its shots of tropical parfaits topped with hot sauce and plastic candy bottles. You know you want one of those burritos stuffed with hot Cheetos, gooey cheese sauce, and well-charred carne asada. Generously stuffed tacos and poutine-like loaded fries are as tasty as they are photo-ready. Bacon-wrapped dogos, or hot dogs, dressed up with guacamole and mayo, are addictive, as is the traditional grilled-corn street snack elotes, here rolled in crushed Taki chips. Sweet treats range from the over-the-top Vaso Loco (crazy cup), with every fruit and sauce you can imagine, to more restrained coolers mounded with pineapple, strawberries, peanuts, and other traditional sweet-shop toppings. Substantial 10-inch churros are some of the best around, served with Nutella and condensed milk. A new sign marks its location, but you can always just listen for the party going on inside. Lunch and dinner daily.