President Barack Obama will have enough on his plate when he visits Indianapolis today to speak about middle-class economics at Ivy Tech. The last thing the leader of the free world needs to worry about is a decision about where to eat. We, on the other hand, consider it our civic duty to offer a handful of suggestions, based on which of the president’s well-documented culinary agendas he chooses to follow.
The Chicago Sampler
If this Midwestern bluster makes Obama pine for a big-shouldered taste of his Windy City days, there are deep-dish pizzas and Italian beef sandwiches to be scarfed down at South of Chicago (619 Virginia Ave., 317-203-7110; 13578 E. 131st St., Fishers, 317-219-6039), kept authentic by Chicago-native founder Bob Jaeger. Giordano’s Famous Stuffed Pizza (4110 E. 82nd St., 317-348-4085) displayed perfect presidential-visit timing when it opened its first location outside of Chicago in 20 years earlier this week. And the Chicago-themed SoBro favorite Fat Dan’s Deli (5410 N. College Ave., 317-600-3333) serves all of the beefy essentials, from a Chicago Dog in a steamed poppy-seed bun to a Wells Street FatBurger, topped with Gorgonzola, bacon, sauteed onions, and barbecue sauce.
The skeptics came out of the woodwork when Obama told a student journalist in 2013 that his favorite food was broccoli. But we will give him the benefit of the doubt (and a nod to Michelle Obama’s healthy-eating initiatives) here. Dairy-free, processed sugar–free, GMO-free, and gluten-free Ezra’s Enlightened Cafe (6516 Ferguson St., 317-255-3972) checks nearly every box on the list of guilt-free foods. The Buddha Bowls get our vote. Another good candidate, Three Carrots vegetarian stand in City Market, has a full docket of meat-free “sandos” that go beyond the sprout-heavy standard, and a bowl of bean-based chili—another one of the president’s favorite foods—that gets its flavor from chocolate, spices, and coffee.
The Land of the Freeze
Yet another waffle-cone photo op can be had at any of Indy’s favorite ice-cream counters. The colorful backdrop of Wyliepalooza Ice Cream Emporium (1022 E. Main St., Brownsburg, 317-350-2467; 11009 Allisonville Rd., Fishers, 317-537-2100; 5535 E. Washington St., 317-351-0275) has all of the essential charm. The hand-dipped cones at Broad Ripple’s Brics (901 E. 64th St., 317-257-5757) and Zionsville’s The Scoop (305 S. Main St., Zionsville, 317-344-0944) are also good paparazzi bait.
Hail to the Beef
Back home in D.C., Obama is a big fan of places like Ray’s Hell Burger in Arlington and Spike Mendelsohn’s Good Stuff Eatery, where he has a burger named after him (with bacon, onion marmalade, Roquefort, and horseradish mayo). Here in Indy, Punch Burger (137 E. Ohio St.. 317-426-5280) offers a similar combination of ingredients in its Blu Burger. And Bru Burger Bar’s (410 Massachusetts Ave., 317-635-4278) Stilton Blue Cheese Burger melds pear-bacon jam with fried onions and truffle aioli. Indy has no shortage of delicious adorned patties, in fact. But one of our favorites will forever be the blue collar–standard Workingman’s Friend (234 N. Belmont Ave., 317-636-2067), which has a double burger with an extra half-bun between the patties and a name that doubles as a fiscally responsible campaign slogan.