The Feed: Gold Risotto, Latte Throwdown, Boats ’n Brews

Plus: the return of Abbi Merriss, mall dining, and more of Indy’s freshest dining news.
A cup of coffee and two desserts
The Spark in Speedway. Credit: Tony Valainis/Indianapolis Monthly

With locally roasted beans from Bee and Illumine, Speedway coffee shop The Spark (1402 N. Main St., 317-771-1062) has built a loyal fan base of longtime area residents and the town’s hip newbies in the nearly three years since it opened. Now they’re marrying their neighborhood’s roots to contemporary coffee culture with their Latte Art Throwdown, a race month–adjacent event featuring “some of the area’s best baristas from regional and local coffee shops.” It all goes down from 6:30–8:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 25, with $10 tickets (competitor or spectator) to benefit Danville’s Sheltering Wings anti-domestic abuse nonprofit.

Local meat shop Old Major Market (4201 Millersville Rd.) is getting into the pop-up game. The provisions spot has enough wide-open spaces to host special dinners and other food and drink events, owner Mark LaFay tells me, “and it’s something we’ve always wanted to do.” They’re starting this new era in style, with two nights of dinners with chefs Abbi Merriss (Bluebeard, Kan Kan) and Bryan Kanne this weekend. Tickets are available online.

Sangiovese Ristorante owner Chris Evans will open what he says is his “third and final restaurant” in Carmel next week. Tre (10 E. Main St., 317-757-5913) will open on April 26 with a menu that will include—and I hate myself for falling for this clear headline bait—“edible 24k gold risotto carbonara.” There’s also less brow-raising stuff like a pappardelle with ragu, but the Goldschläger on a plate should give you an idea of what they’re going for here. It’ll be dinner only, Monday–Sunday, 4–10 p.m.

A photo from the Damien Center’s Dining Out For Life event. Courtesy photo credit: Damien Center

As someone who watched the AIDS crisis decimate the Indianapolis gay scene in the 1980s and ’90s, the one bright light I recall through it all was the Damien Center, which cared for the ill and raised awareness even as our leaders turned their backs on the devastating epidemic. Three decades later, they’re still supporting the most vulnerable members of our community. Now we can support them back with their 30th Annual Dining Out for Life fundraiser on April 25. Over 70 area bars and restaurants will be donating a notable chunk of that night’s proceeds to the center, boosting its work to end HIV in Central Indiana. A list of participating venues is online and includes many of our city’s greatest restaurants.

Downtown Indy tap room Guggman Haus Brewing Co. (1701 Gent Ave., 317-602-6131) is hitting the water next month with Boats ’n Brews, a collab with people-powered watercraft rental company Frank’s Livery. On May 4, enjoy a day “of paddling, camaraderie, and the signature taste of Guggman’s Riverside New England IPA.” Participants get a four-pack of brews and a Guggmann Haus koozie, as well as a canoe or kayak trip up the White River. Call 260-226-3075 to reserve a spot.

The events keep coming with Bluebeard’s (653 Virginia Ave., 317-686-1580) guest chef evening with Dayton rising star chef Dane Shipp, whose Culture is the first restaurant people bring up when I say my dad’s family lives in the gem city. Shipp and the current Bluebeard team will serve up a five-course paired menu on Monday, May 6 at 6 p.m. Only 18 seats are available, with tickets for sale online.

But life can’t be all tasting menus and boldfaced chef names. Here’s a roundup of some fast casual news we’ve spotted around town:

· Boba chain Harmony Tea Shoppe is promising a new location in the Yard at Fishers District (9719 E. 116th St.). Opening date is unclear, but photos suggest they’ve got a ways to go.

· Twenty Two Juice Bar, a popular Garage food hall stop for folks seeking lighter options, has expanded to a Fishers strip mall. The new 11670 Commercial Dr. location opened Monday with a menu of açaí bowls, smoothies, and shots.

· Since 1984, Cath Coffee and Tea was a City Market favorite, but development at the downtown site prompted a move up north. WISH reports that Cath is now serving up its Turkish and Egyptian beverages and pastries at Castleton Square Mall, near the Macy’s.

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