The Comprehensive Guide to Indy’s Best Takeout – Indianapolis Monthly

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The Comprehensive Guide to Indy's Best Takeout – Indianapolis Monthly

The business of feeding people became extremely complicated this year. Restaurants, to keep their lights on, had to explore new ways of getting food to customers, from tracking down gourmet-friendly takeout containers to hiring in-house delivery teams to launching whole new side hustles. Thanks to their quick thinking, it is possible to spend an entire week both socially distanced and well fed. So grab your sporks and your Wet-Naps and dig in.

Family Dinner

When you need to put dinner on the table for the entire pod, go for multi-serving packages like these.

Photograph by Tony Valainis

The Legend

Restaurant food doesn’t get more family-oriented than The Legend’s two big sellers: Dad’s Crunchy Chicken (1) and Mom’s Meatloaf. The Irvington standard will package up both in family-size foil carryout containers with four cookies and a choice of two sides. Make sure one of them is the macaroni and cheese, served as a baked casserole. Lunch and dinner Tuesday–Saturday. 5614 E. Washington St., 317-536-2028, thelegendcafe.com

Exotic on the Run

A tribute to Florida seafood boils, this westside spot loads tin-foil trays with boiled, buttered, and aggressively seasoned crustaceans (2) cooked into a delicious jumble with red potatoes, corn on the cob, boiled eggs, and chunks of spicy sausage. There is no tidy way to enjoy this meal. It’s a messy crowd-pleaser, so just dig in. Lunch and dinner Tuesday–Sunday. 3106 W. 16th St., 317-672-7467, exoticontherunindy.com

Vino Villa

 Those decked-out cakes on display at Greenwood’s homiest wine bar are also available in their full 8- or 10-inch glory. Flavors range from carrot (3) to red velvet to goat cheese praline cheesecake. Place your order a day or two in advance to bring home one of these buttercream trophies. Lunch and dinner Tuesday–Saturday. 200 N. Madison Ave., Greenwood, 317-882-9463, vinovilla.com

Half Liter BBQ

Trekking across the smoke-scented barbecue biergarten to retrieve your carryout order (4) might conjure some pre-COVID longing. Luckily, you can assuage the pain with meat-centric family meals like The Dolly (feeds five) and The Willie (feeds 10), along with a three-meat Taco Fest that includes one pound each of brisket, pulled pork, and pulled chicken. If you opt for the Frito Pie Family Pack that comes with an entire bag of corn chips and a quart of Texas chili, you are certainly in the running for Parent of the Year. Lunch and dinner Tuesday–Sunday. 5301 Winthrop Ave., 463-212-8180, halfliterbbq.com

The Grace Truck

Indy chef Jeremiah Clark operates this mobile gourmet kitchen. Every week, he offers an elaborate family meal (like chicken thighs with risotto, or short rib with potato puree and roasted carrots) priced around $15 per serving. Place an order by 11 a.m. on Monday and retrieve it at one of the truck’s upcoming stops. 317-516-9260, gracetruck.com

Old Gold Barbecue

Wear a coat and hover near the smoker-turned-firepit at this popular food truck in the Metazoa Brewing Company parking lot. You will likely have a wait before fetching your online or in-person order. But good things to come: smoked meats (like sweet and tender pulled pork and brisket with a delightfully charred crust), served whole or by the half pound, are melt-in-your-mouth buttery. Lunch and dinner Thursday–Sunday. 140 S. College Ave., 317-764-3443, oldgoldbarbecue.com

Iaria’s

One of Indy’s oldest Italian establishments offers a mamma mia–worthy assist with its bulk carryout servings of pastas and entrees. Order favorites like fettuccine alfredo, baked Bolognese, and eggplant Parmesan by the half pan, shallow pan, or full pan. Some of the more involved items, like the lasagna and tiramisu, might require a week’s notice, so plan your Big Night accordingly. Dinner Tuesday–Saturday. 317 S. College Ave., 317-638-7706, iariasrestaurant.com

Brozinni

The southside pizzeria builds its Feed a Family meal around a bucket of marinara-sauced pasta. Eight meatballs are packaged on the side, along with a family-size house salad and six breadsticks. Order it on Wednesday, when they knock the price down to a recession-friendly $25. Lunch and dinner Tuesday–Saturday, dinner Sunday. 8810 S. Emerson Ave., 317-865-0911, brozinni.net

Taco Tuesday

No need to cancel your weekly ritual when you can gather up all of the tortillas and tequilas you need to throw your own personal fiesta.

Photograph by Tony Valainis

Condado Tacos

Condado’s checklist method of ordering tacos (choose your shell, protein, and fixings on an online form) made a smooth transition to pandemic dining. Just be sure to add a giant box of nachos (1). Lunch and dinner daily. 530 Massachusetts Ave., 317-222-5999; 838 Broad Ripple Ave., 463-206-2768; condadotacos.com

Delicia

Delicia’s new-Latin cuisine can travel back home in jumbo containers of tacos (4) and enchiladas that feed four, plus burrito kits with YouTube instructions for expert tortilla-rolling. Even the restaurant’s famed Fire & Ice margarita (2) has a take-home version that includes five of the bar’s chili ice balls. Dinner Tuesday–Sunday. 5215 N. College Ave., 317-925-0677, deliciaindy.com

Festiva

Owner George Muñoz’s team will run a bag of meticulously packed tacos (3) out to your car, either as a la carte pinches of chicken tinga and cilantro-marinated steak or in generous “Taco Party” servings of protein, tortillas, and toppings that you assemble around the dinner table. Add on the makings of a single-serve margarita, which come with a cute mini bottle of tequila. Dinner Tuesday–Thursday, lunch and dinner Friday–Saturday, brunch Sunday. 1217 E. 16th St., 317-635-4444, festivaindy.com

Livery

Pre-made margarita kits by the half-liter re-create the pretty quaffs from this lively tequila bar. Dinner daily downtown. Lunch and dinner daily in Noblesville. 720 N. College Ave., 317-383-0330; 13225 Levinson Ln., Noblesville, 317-316-0410; livery-restaurant.com

The Tamale Place 

The parcels of masa wrapped around beef, chicken, pork, and veggies have always been a takeout favorite. Now, the shop’s efficient delivery of authentic Mexican comfort food is as relevant as ever. Visit the original westside location (the City Market outpost closed due to COVID-19) for tamales by the bagful. Add a sack of hot, salty tortilla chips. Lunch and dinner Monday–Saturday, lunch Sunday. 5226 Rockville Rd., 317-248-9771, thetamaleplace.com

La Parada 

Feed a brood of five or more with the fajita tray featuring individually packaged portions of sauteed chicken or steak (or a combo for no additional fee) with peppers and onions, tortillas, rice, beans, pico de gallo, guacamole, lettuce, sour cream, and salsa. Order over the phone or online and retrieve your feast inside the restaurant. Lunch and dinner daily. 1642 E. New York St., 317-917-0095, laparadaindy.com

Tlaolli

This Mexican food counter’s mix-and-match taco three-packs travel especially well. The emphasis is on healthy ingredients, in both traditional proteins and meatless fillings like tofu mole, hibiscus flowers slow-cooked to a smoky chewiness, and a soy chorizo–based NoNoNo black bean base (also sold frozen by the pound). Order online and pull into the library parking lot next door for pickup. Lunch and dinner Tuesday–Saturday. 2830 E. Washington St., 317-410-9507, tlaolli.net

Comfort Food

When life feels overwhelming, treat yourself to carbs, cakes, and other essentials that nourish the soul.

Photograph by Tony Valainis

Turchetti’s Delicatessen

Fountain Square’s boutique butcher has a full selection of fresh-cut meats ready for pickup, but no online order is complete without a batch of hot, salty, tallow-laced french fries (1) to eat right out of the container on the drive home. Lunch and dinner Tuesday–Saturday. 1106 Prospect St., 317-426-3048, turchettis.com

Root & Bone

Here’s some good news for diners who fell hard for the “honest Southern food” at this SoBro venture. The Miami import bundles carryout family meals centered around either the crunchy sweet-tea fried chicken (2) or the fall-off-the-bone barbecue-bruleed spare ribs. They serve up to four people and come with sides of macaroni and cheese, winter beans, and biscuits. Tack on an order of beet-tinged Drunken Deviled Eggs to complete the spread. Dinner Tuesday–Saturday, brunch Sunday. 4601
N. College Ave., 317-602-8672, rootnboneindy.com 

Sahm’s Coffee Cakes

This year, Indy’s Sahm family of restaurants expanded on its famous sour-cream ring cake with the powdered sugar topping and buttery cinnamon core. An entire cast of cakes created by pastry chef Hattie McDaniel, from Key lime to a scratch Funfetti (3) packaged with sprinkles and two packets of icing for DIY piping, are now available for pre-order and pickup at select Sahm’s locations. sahms.com

Pots and Pans

The sweet fruit pies are a no-brainer at this specialty bakery, but consider the handful of savories, like the decadent biscuits-and-gravy pie (4). Get these heavy-lidded beauties either ready-to-eat or frozen. Lunch and dinner Tuesday–Sunday, lunch Sunday. 4915 N. College Ave., 317-600-3475, potsandpansindy.com

Soupremacy

Nothing slows you down like a warm bowl of soup, and this downtown fixture not only ladles up classics like chicken velvet, tomato bisque (5), and slow-cooked chili by the single serving, but also offers frozen soup by the gallon. Breakfast and lunch Monday–Friday. 7 E. Market St., 317-423-0780, soupremacy.com

Old Major

This farmers market butcher with a Midtown base has tried to make its ready-to-heat Dinner For Two healthy, but that doesn’t sell. Instead, the week’s dish rotates between rib-sticking options like red wine–braised beef stew, shepherd’s pie, gumbo, and meatballs in pesto cream sauce. The price is always a flat $20 for two dinners accompanied by a salad or side and bread. Order online and pick up on Thursdays from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. 4011 N. Pennsylvania St., 317-983-1085, oldmajormarket.com 

Open Kitchen 

Personal chef Dexter Smith’s brick-and-mortar restaurant greets the day with rib-sticking breakfast platters brimming with the fluffiest pancakes (he fortifies them with powdered sugar), fried chicken biscuits, and sausage burritos soaked in a salsa of just-roasted peppers. The menu gets fancier later in the day, featuring ribeye steakburgers, lamb chops, and a late-night menu. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner Monday–Thursday, breakfast and lunch Friday–Sunday. 3007 N. Sherman Dr., 317-965-1901, opennkitchen.org

Nicole-Taylor’s Pasta Market & Backroom Eatery 

Heaving pans of lasagna are made to order at this Italian market where fresh sheets of noodles get layered upon classic mozzarella, Nona-style sauce, and your pick of a vegetable, cheese, or meat strata. Lunch and dinner Tuesday–Friday, lunch Saturday. 1134 E. 54th St., 317-257-7374, nicoletaylorspasta.com

Turf Catering + Kitchen 

The hardest part about getting carryout from Turf might actually be finding the place, tucked amid car-care businesses and an Arby’s in Castleton. Soups, sold frozen or cold, are a mainstay on the rotating menu—most recently a creamy brown butter mushroom with shiitakes and blue cheese. Add a salad or bread to make it a more complete meal. Order online and pick up inside or call to have the food brought to your car. Dinner Thursday–Friday. 8155 Castleway Ct., 317-288-0173, turfcateringkitchen.com

Smoove’s Indy 

Owner Christian Robinson applies her vegan expertise to this ghost kitchen that specializes in addictively thick and sticky cauliflower wingz encased in a gluten-free batter and tossed in sweet barbecue, mild Buffalo, or garlic-parmesan. Contact-free curbside pickup noon–4 p.m. Monday–Friday or Friday delivery. Washington Square Mall, 317-967-2555, smoovesindy.com

Asian Carryout

This checklist of cravings, from sushi to pho to pork belly bao buns, adds plenty of flavor to quarantine dining. 

Photograph by Tony Valainis

Moar Tea & Poke 

Mango mango jelly tea (1), pale purple taro milk tea, and icy strawberry green tea are among the trendy sippers at this busy tea house. Start with a base flavor (from oolong to kumquat) and add some chew (popping bubbles, tapioca boba, or jelly bits). The result is always a sweet and colorful concoction in a  hermetically sealed cup. Lunch and dinner daily. 448 Massachusetts Ave., 317-737-1897

Yujo

The best way to reproduce Yujo’s elaborate bowls of steamy ramen (3) at home is to take the soup down to its studs. Order the noodles uncooked and packaged with separate containers of broth and toppings. They come with simple at-home instructions: Drop the noods in boiling water for 90 seconds to bring them to life. Slurp between bites of steam-fried pork gyoza. Lunch and dinner Monday–Saturday. 9431 N. Meridian St., 317-669-0315, yujoindy.com

Sushi Boss

Order a kit (4) from this local sushi joint and you’ll score a baker’s box packed tidily—and securely—with enough seasoned rice, nori sheets, and fillings (like spicy crab, avocado, and cucumber) to DIY five restaurant-quality maki rolls at home. Adding an extra bamboo rolling mat incurs an upcharge—as does tacking on toppings (like spicy mayo and tempura crisps)—but it’s worth it if you have a household of impatient chefs. Before attempting, watch a few how-to videos online. The process isn’t hard, but instructions aren’t included. Lunch and dinner Monday–Sunday. 803 W. 10th St., 317-955-2677; 3349 E. 86th St., 317-744-9116; sushiboss.com

Scarlet Lane SoBro

Executive chef Erin Kem designed a brief but thoughtful menu of Asian street-style goodies for this outpost of the Indianapolis brewery with four locations. Her bánh mì enfolds all the fixings of the traditional Vietnamese sandwich, and the oversized steamed buns are made from scratch and stuffed with pork and tofu. Lunch and dinner Friday–Sunday, dinner Tuesday–Thursday. 4601 N. College Ave., 317-986-6125, scarletlanebrew.com

Asaka 

The pandemic pivot at this northside Japanese restaurant secured sushi chef Nina Takamure’s rock-star status as maki maker. Her specialty rolls and traditional nigiri rival any raw fish in town, and the tidy to-go packaging turns her spicy tuna hand rolls, torched fatty salmon, and delicate slivers of sashimi into portable works of art. Place your order through Asaka’s Instagram account, @asakaindy. Dinner Wednesday–Sunday. 6414 E. 82nd St., 317-576-0556

Chao Vietnamese Street Food

A huge selection of sturdy bánh mì sandwiches (even a breakfast version with runny fried eggs and ham) headlines the carryout options, but the entire menu translates nicely to grab-and-go dining. Lunch and dinner Monday–Saturday, lunch Sunday. 7854 E. 96th St., Fishers, 317-622-8820, chaovietstreetfood.com

Mikado 

In addition to packaging up delicate dumplings in chili oil, hearty rice bowls, and the beloved Hawaiian snack of grilled-Spam musubi, owner Connie Lee has perfected the mechanics of take-home
ramen kits, from porky to vegan. Dinner Monday–Saturday. 148 S. Illinois St., 317-972-4180, indymikado.com 

Date Night

Bring out the candles and the romantic table setting and spend (yet another) night in with that someone special.  

Photograph by Tony Valainis

Gallery Pastry Bar

We recommend anything chocolatey, tarty, or meringue-y (1) in the display case just inside the door of this new downtown patisserie where desserts are sent along like precious jewels in windowed boxes. Breakfast and lunch Tuesday–Sunday. 110 S. Pennsylvania St., 317-820-5526, gallerypastryshop.com

Oakleys Bistro 

Chef Steven Oakley’s fine-tuned courses—like poached salmon over sweet potato–
bacon hash with dollops of honey-beet purée (2)—are beautifully evocative, even when arranged so artfully inside a foil carryout container. Lunch and dinner Tuesday–Saturday. 1464 W. 86th St., 317-824-1231, oakleysbistro.com

Goose the Market

The neighborhood market known as much for its curated deli case as its treasures among the basement wine shelves has managed to continue its popular Friday Night Flights (3) program in a take-home iteration. The resident cheesemonger and wine steward collaborate on three new cheeses and three single-serve wine or beer pairings. Every week brings new surprises packaged for pickup or delivery at 4 p.m. on Fridays. 2503 N. Delaware St., 317-924-4944, goosethemarket.com

Sullivan’s Steakhouse

Turns out, you don’t actually need a fresh martini in hand to enjoy those gorgeous pedigreed steaks and chops on the menu here. The kitchen will cook up any of its meats for carryout, but the wee lamb chops (4) are especially fun to nibble together by the fireplace. Dinner daily. 3316 E. 86th St., 317-580-1280, sullivanssteakhouse.com 

Late Harvest Kitchen

Go ahead and set out the nice plates for chef Ryan Nelson’s nightly curbside-for-two repast (like an impressive combo of fried deviled eggs, shrimp and grits, and chocolate mousse). Throw in a bottle of wine and a slice of caviar pie to up the elegance. Dinner Monday–Saturday. 8605 River Crossing Blvd., 317-663-8063, lateharvestkitchen.com

The Vanguard

When the evening calls for a celebratory meal, The Vanguard will package up dazzling chef-prepared feasts, like salmon patties made with grilled sweet corn and jalapeño, or glazed Amish chicken breast with oven-roasted sweet potatoes and crispy Brussels sprouts. You can even add a bouquet of fresh flowers to your order. Dinner Tuesday and Thursday. 6319 Guilford Ave., 317-254-1147, vanguardindy.com

Cies Treats

Few things are as indulgent as a chocolate-dipped strawberry. Cie Johnson takes the decadence to the next level with her selection of sprinkled, drizzled, and glitter-dusted sweet things. The aptly named Loaded Strawberry can be dipped in your choice of strawberry shortcake crumbles, toffee, pecans, and crushed Butterfingers or even piped full of cheesecake. Pre-order them by the dozen or half-dozen from Johnson’s Speedway shop. Tuesday–Saturday. 5610 Crawfordsville Rd., Speedway, 317-664-2609, ciestreatsllc.godaddysites.com

Weekend Brunch

When the dress code calls for your nicest pajamas, lay out an eye-opening spread of morning food. 

Photograph by Tony Valainis

Bubbatown Burrito Company 

These tidy heat-and-serve tortilla bundles (1) arrive at your door on weekend mornings—right around the hour when you realize it’s actually the weekend. There are a few hoops to jump through, like pre-ordering during the week (at least two per delivery). And if your ZIP code falls outside the delivery zone, you will need to pick up at Bubbatown’s home base inside Love Handle (877 Massachusetts Ave.). But these hotties are well worth the trouble. Tip: Add some smashed guacamole to your order—it’s fresh and tasty enough to eat with a fork. Breakfast Saturday–Sunday. bubbatownburritos.com

Sidedoor Bagels  

To make his line of to-your-door bagels (2), Josh Greeson uses a decade-old sourdough starter from Amelia’s Bakery, the birthplace of his pandemic side hustle. You can purchase the bagels there, too, in no-nonsense varieties like sea salt and sesame—best not to upstage the perfect chewy tug of these brunch staples. But go ahead and get crazy with your schmear, in flavors like cream cheese with jam and an extra-chunky salmon. Place your order at [email protected]

Calvin Fletcher’s Coffee Co.

Pandemic necessity has been the mother of some great inventions, like cold brew concentrate from local coffee roasters looking for ways to help people make better joe at home. Calvin Fletcher’s took Bee Coffee Roasters’s lead in making a mixable version of its strong, smooth concoction (3). Though discontinued for the winter, watch for its return in the spring. Breakfast and lunch Monday–Saturday. 647 Virginia Ave., 317-423-9697, cfcoffeecompany.com

Tinker Coffee Co.

As an alternative to your second cup of the day, crack open a can of Snapchilled Coffee (4) from Indy’s most ambitious roaster. A cousin of chocolatey cold brew, snapchilling is a new process that achieves the same intense flavor while retaining the coffee’s brighter fruity and acidic notes in a conveniently packaged beverage. Order it online or buy it at the roastery. 1125 W. 16th St., 317-438-5728, tinkercoffee.com

West Fork Whiskey Co. 

The Indianapolis distillery responded to COVID’s impact on its traffic by launching a line of small-batch, booze-free mixers designed for at-home ’tending. Sold online under the Lockdown Cocktail Company label, the concoctions, like the fruity, citrusy Dancing Queen Elixir (5), are designed to combine with bourbon or rye whiskey or simply be poured over ice. Dinner Tuesday–Sunday. 1660 Bellefontaine St., 317-672-7468, westforkbottleshop.com

Landlocked Baking Company

If you can resist the variety of freshly baked croissants, grab one of the breakfast sandwiches at this Irvington bakery, the daytime extension of Strange Bird tiki bar next door. It uses the savory house focaccia as bread, stuffing it with smashed pork sausage, cheddar egg souffle, and a swipe of pepper jelly. Breakfast and lunch daily. 120 S. Audubon Rd., landlocked-baking-co.square.site

Sunday Pastry Box 

Ordering from pastry chef Zoë Taylor is an act of faith—customers claim their box before knowing what will be in it that week. They can count on four heartbreakingly beautiful pastries, two sweet and two savory. Among the kouign-amanns, canelés, flammkuchen, and bienenstich highlighting local produce, chances are you’ll have to Google at least one pastry term. Claim a box by messaging Taylor on Instagram (@zoeetaylor), pay $30 through Venmo, and pick up from her eastside porch on Sunday. 

Eat Your Feelings

Photograph by Tony Valainis

Lick Ice Cream

Never doubt the curative powers of a pint (1) of Chocolate Cherry Amaretto, Brown Butter Cookie Dough, Coffee Chip, or Gorgonzola Candied Pecan. Now that the micro-creamery known for churning organic dairy and scratch ingredients into its ice creams has opened a counter inside downtown’s new Garage Food Hall, fans have easy access to those gourmet scoops. Ben & who? Lunch and dinner daily. 906 Carrollton Ave., 317-979-0237

Fat Stack Cookies

Order ahead to snatch up a box of these palm-sized monster cookies (2), in chocolate chip, double chocolate chip, or limited-run flavors like hot cocoa (topped with actual toasted marshmallows) and Fat-fetti (cake batter swirled with M&Ms, white chocolate chips, and sprinkles). Sold at the Korave counter inside Fishers Test Kitchen, Fat Stack’s original size dwarfs your standard Chips Ahoy, and the double-stacked upgrade is plumped up to muffin proportions. Lunch and dinner daily. Fishers Test Kitchen, 317-953-6412, korave.us

Greiner’s 

The main focus is on the jaw-unhinging sub sandwiches, but Greiner’s macaroni and cheese (3) (a relic from the Mac Genie food truck) is the breakout hit. The base, thick with milk and shredded cheese, has a creamy denseness that borders on fondue. The noodles turn into chubby tunnels of cheese sauce, and a dusting of warm breadcrumbs comes standard with every order—but who could pass up the addition of sour cream and bacon? Lunch and dinner daily. 2126 Shelby St., 317-783-4136, greiners1969.com

Rooster’s Kitchen

There is something deeply satisfying about tucking into a pile of barbecue-dusted pork skins (4) from Rooster’s, served still hot and crackling. Think Pop Rocks, but with meat fat. If you want to go all in, order them with a side of jalapeño nacho dip. Lunch daily, dinner Thursday–Sunday. 888 Massachusetts Ave., 317-426-2020, roostersindy.com

Baby’s

Among the diner-style noshes at this Talbott Street favorite, the Strut Burger (5) spares no calorie. Smoked gouda melds the double stack of meat in place, with layers of pickles, bacon, sweet mango chutney, and the coup de grace: a swipe of Dazzle Sauce, a citrus-chili aioli that brings the flavors to a crescendo. The gloppier it arrives at your table, the better. Lunch and dinner daily. 2147 N. Talbott St., 317-600-3559, babysindy.com

Elevate Bakery & Barkery

This Indy business uses fair trade chocolate in its Relaxing Dark Chocolate Bars (6). One square contains 50 milligrams of single-origin CBD terpenes—just enough to get you relaxed. Elevate makes a full line of equally chill goodies (see sidebar). 6127 E. Washington St. (Monday–Friday); 1006 Virginia Ave. (Saturday–Sunday); 317-446-9925, shopelevatebakery.com

Jailbird 

Some nights, you don’t need much more than the $10 Jailbird Burger & Busch Light combo. And yet, the southside bar offers optional upgrades like bacon and a variety of sauces on the side. You can make it a double for an extra $3 or add curly fries for $4. Dinner Tuesday–Saturday. 4022 S. Shelby St., 317-602-2001, jailbirdindy.com

Panoony’s Pizza & Wings

Consider the calzones and subs mere warm-up acts for the true star at this pizzeria: the 30-inch Big Noony pizza that spans most dinner tables and requires a 24-hour notice. Lunch and dinner Thursday–Sunday. 1447 E. Main St., Brownsburg, 317-286-3500, panoony.com