Winter weary foodies and those worried about the future of the local culinary scene took a short break last weekend – as well as a peek into the stunning new food court that will continue to put Indianapolis on the larger culinary menu. The Garage Food Hall (850 Massachusetts Ave., Bottleworksdistrict.com/garage) opened its doors for a festive first look and dry run for select ticket holders to sample a free offer at one of the hall’s various food stalls.
For some, that might have been a taco from the legendary Fusion Taco stand La Chinita Poblana (317-635-4444, lachinitapoblana.com), which the current Festiva owner George Munoz ran in the heart of Broad Ripple until 2017. Or it could be a chicken-filled arepa, the national dish of Venezuela Brown sugar, who opened Andreina Paredes Angulo from Venezuela to showcase the street foods and favorites from home that she has conjured up in her kitchen for years.
The event was a test run for the big city food hall concept, which will be made available to the public today as part of the long-awaited Bottleworks complex. The complex has already opened the doors of its distinctive Art Deco Bottleworks hotel as well as the living room theater with eight screens, which has a lounge and a chic café. The dining room is reminiscent of similar concepts in Minneapolis and Columbus. With over 500 seats in the 36,000-square-foot, high-ceilinged entertainment space, this is a great way to re-immerse yourself in the personal food that customers can order and then find a secluded place to enjoy the food. (There’s also a huge projected screen and play area, which means it’s a good place to enjoy the upcoming Colts against the Bills playoff game.)
For fans of the local dining scene, The Garage’s culinary offerings offer a nice mix of recurring favorites, food truck conversions, better accessibility for local brands and new concepts. Aside from Munoz’s La Chinita Poblana, the hall has retro Noblesville favorites Clancy’s Burger (clancyshamburgers.com), popular City Market seafood provider Poke Guru (https://poke.guru/) and Nashvilles Hard Truth Distilling Co. (hardtruthdistilling.com). The hall will also contain stalls from popular Pakistani restaurants Chapati (eatchapati.com) and Blupoint Oyster House & Bar (blupointindy.com).
Converted food truck Gaucho’s fire (gauchosfire.com) cooks meaty sandwiches and laden fries and frozen favorites Lick Ice cream (lickicecream.tumblr.com) is expanding its presence in the local farmers markets and in the Circle City industrial complex, with a particularly sleek new venue serving innovative flavors such as earl gray peppermint, gingerbread lemon curd and candied gorgonzola pecans. In addition to Azucar Moreno belong to the first time food concepts Abbiocco (abbioccopizzeria.com) with pizza and pasta from the wood oven and The harbor (macnivens.com), a new seafood concept from the owners of the recently closed MacNiven. With plenty of parking right on Massachusetts Ave. offers The Garage Hoosiers a good reason to return to the city center, especially in the warmer months and after the pandemic.