Street Savvy: 54th And The Monon

What’s new trailside in Midtown.

A trailside section of Midtown has matured into a new mix of design shops and Italian food. Among the many destinations in this enclave, here are some notable changes and additions.


Tennessee-based nonprofit Random Acts of Flowers (1) has blossomed in Indianapolis, soliciting donations from event venues, grocers, and florists. Volunteers rearrange the bouquets and deliver them to hospital patients and senior citizens. Interested in doing something good? Put the petal to the metal. 1057 E. 54th St., 317-282-0144


Mass Ave Toys (2)

has hit a growth spurt: It will double in size when the store relocates early this year, adding a space for birthday parties. The focus on European items and a knack for always putting the right gift in a customer’s hands remain the same. 1057 E. 54th St., 317-955-8697


If Cake Bake Shop is your go-to with girlfriends and granddaughters, industrial-cool Gallery Pastry Shop (3) is the counterpart for an evening of wine and dessert with a couple of friends. We go weak in the knees for the crumbly, ganache-filled French macarons and fragrant lemon-custard eclairs. 1101 E. 54th St., 317-820-5526


Beth Smith thinks cleanses should include nutritious raw food, not just liquids At her new grab-and-go spot, Simplicity Holistic Health (4), you can pick up single bottles of juice or cleanse packages alongside nutrient-dense, freshly made eats, like the scrumptious Betty Bar, with organic oats, nuts, seeds, fruit, and raw chocolate. 1101 E. 54th St., 317-829-0100


Shelly Miller Leer’s ModHomeEc classroom is now Homeroom (5), adding sewing, block printing, leathercrafting, weaving, and chair caning to the popular upholstery sessions. There’s more: a retail shop. Expect tags that say Handmade, Made in America, Responsibly Sourced, and Created in Studio. 1101 E. 54th St., 317-319-7164

Get Hitched

There’s no shortage of options for a bride-to-be. But what about affording the dream dress? Newly opened LUXE-redux LUXE-redux Bridal Boutique (6) has a plan for that. The shop sells floor-model gowns alongside generously discounted designer pieces (in virginal condition) from Carolina Herrera, Vera Wang, Augusta Jones, and Mikaella; many have never been worn down the aisle. Ask about consignment (latest fashions only—no older than five years). Appointments recommended. 1101 E. 54th St., 317-384-1034

Stock Up

Nicole-Taylor’s Pasta Market and Backroom Eatery (7)

provides superior (mostly Italian) specialty and prepared foods, including heat-and-eat dishes. Private dinners in the kitchen have a wait list of many months, but the addition of lunch service has introduced a rotating menu of sandwiches, soups, and pasta. 1134 E. 54th St., 317-257-7374


Erin Young Designs (8)

offers dressmaking, fashion fabric, and alterations for women. Young, a Fashion Institute of Technology–trained designer, doesn’t specialize in just black-tie, although Zoolala outfits are popular commissions; she creates attire for every occasion, from christening gowns to dance-recital frocks to staple blouses. Another draw is the class schedule, which includes Draft and Make an A-line Skirt and Vest-ology. 1134 E. 54th St., 317-384-1070


It’s difficult to pass by Walter Knabe Studio (9) without being seduced into going inside and marveling at every fabric, canvas, and trinket in sight. Known to many for his bright, handscreened textiles and wallcoverings commissioned by celebrity clients like Neil Simon, Andre Agassi, and Spike Lee, Knabe has been quietly stocking his storefront (relocated from the Indiana Design Center) with beautifully designed scarves, private-label soy candles, handbags, iPhone cases, tea towels, and frames, most under $100. 1134 E. 54th St., 317-986-6900

Dig In

Workers at Diavola (10) peel soft-centered, blistered, artisanal pizzas from the bedazzled 800-degree Marra Forni oven—the only one in the state—landing tableside in minutes. The intimate eatery pays tribute to the hallmarks of true Neapolitan pies with Naples-grown tomatoes for the sauce and classic mozzarella-meets-pepperoni–style adornments. 1134 E. 54th St., 317-820-5100

Mais Burratta w/ Prosciutto.

A photo posted by Diavola Pizzeria and Vinoteca (@diavola54) on


54th and MononGanache-filled macarons

, $12 per dozen every  Wednesday at The Gallery Pastry Shop
54th and Monon“Guns and Love” handprinted pashmina scarf, $85 at Walter Knabe Studio
54th and MononItalian imported Saproso Balsamic Vinegar, $28.99 at Nicole-Taylor’s Pasta Market