The Feed: Indy 500 “Official” Beer Isn’t Indy’s, Gift Card Issues, Downtown Dunkin’ Void

Bru Burger keeps expanding, a downtown hog roast, and more of Indy’s freshest dining news.
Racegoers at the Indy 500
In this photo from 2018, a racegoer at the Indianapolis 500 enjoys beer from a belt. Credit: Indianapolis Monthly

A decade ago, vendors sold over 4,000 gallons of beer at the Indianapolis 500, and I can only assume that figure has grown in the years since. That’s why I was so stoked to get a press release heralding the new “official craft beer of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.” Which of our state’s amazing craft breweries will be represented? I wondered as I opened the email. The answer? None of them.

Instead, it’s an IPA from Michigan-based Atwater Brewery that gets the honor, and here’s where things get trickier: Though Atwater was founded as an indie brewer in 1997, for the last four years, it’s been a division of decidedly non-crafty conglomerate Molson Coors. And that’s how it, not a local, is our hometown race’s decidedly non-hometown beer—a spokesperson for the race tells us that as part of a doubtlessly lucrative sponsorship agreement, “all beers associated with the Indy 500 are part of the Molson Coors family.” Now that we know how the suds sausage is made, I’m even more grateful that we can still bring our own.

Speaking of sausage, Indy’s oldest restaurant, The Rathskeller (401 E. Michigan St., 317-636-0396), is gearing up for Das GartenGrillFest, a hog roast in the backyard of the Athenaeum that fills the neighborhood with the smell of simmering swine. This year, the pitmaster is Mike Gomez from Gomez BBQ, with other offerings and sides from The Rathkeller’s regular menu. The all-you-can-eat brunch is “all ages and dog-friendly” and will be held on Sunday, June 16, at 10 a.m. Adult tickets begin at $40, and kids under 3 eat for free. 

Is downtown Indianapolis suffering without its own Dunkin’? Indianapolis Star columnist James Briggs argues that it is, in a column about chain restaurants our city’s center might “need.” 

The company is “perfectly aligned with Indianapolis’ convention and tourism vibe,” Briggs writes, saying, “Mark my words: We will get another Dunkin’.” If this is Briggs’ play to become bffs with Ben Affleck, I can’t say it’s the worst plan. But if you want a chain that’ll boom with business on the Circle, open up an In-N-Out Burger, baby. I can taste those animal fries now.

Sticking with the patty scoop, expansion plans for Bru Burger now include Fort Wayne. The oft-reliable restaurant from the Cunningham Restaurant Group will open its 16th location at 118 W. Columbia St., part of The Landing, a mixed-use development at the city’s center. It’s expected to open this summer in a ground-floor retail space.

What options do Hoosiers have if they’re left with unused gift cards after a restaurant shutters? While a law that went into effect last year says gift cards sold after June 30, 2021, cannot expire, consumers aren’t as protected when a spot shuts down. A Feed reader wrote in to say they bought a $150 gift card on April 22, and learned from us that the place closed down a few days later. The restaurant in question is owned by someone with several other spots in Indy, including an upcoming Italian spot on Mass Ave, but when our reader asked if their now-useless gift card could be used at another of the owner’s businesses, they were turned down. 

My efforts to reach the shuttered business and its owner have been fruitless, as have the buyer’s. So I called Indiana’s attorney general’s office (which is charged with enforcing the gift card laws, among other responsibilities) to see what options our reader might have. A representative says their only option might be to file a consumer protection complaint, which one can do online. Often, that’s enough to jolt a business into offering a solution. Things get trickier if the company goes completely out of business and declares bankruptcy, the rep says, as “gift card holders are at the bottom of the list of people who will get paid.” My advice? Seize the day when it comes to gift cards of all varieties because they can be a use-it-or-lose-it transaction.

(Have you ever run into an Indy dining gift card boondoggle? If so, please tell me more.)


Finally, did you know that you can catch Indianapolis Monthly’s food folks on TV? Thrice monthly, we trade the bullpen for Fox 59’s midmorning chat show Indy Now, where we gab and nosh with the same folks you read about in our magazine and on our website. Earlier this month, our features editor Julia Spalding highlighted our churros-themed Taste Test, I rolled up to talk about Canal Creamery, and Julia returned to the airwaves to talk about new burger spot Mass & Belle. We have a lot of fun with hosts Jillian Deam and Ryan Ahlwardt. You should check it out!