7/19/09

Why do they hate us?

Why do the Travel Channel and Food Network hate Indianapolis?

I am a fan of both these channels and many of their shows. However, I've yet to see them come to our under appreciated city. Perhaps I've missed a few episodes, but it really does feel like they favor Pittsburgh or Chicago over Indy. I've even seen many episodes in Ohio...but none in our great sports town!

Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives came close once. They made it all the way to W. Lafayette's Triple XXX Restaurant, but never the Circle City!

There is a local blogger that has created a site dedicated to bringing the Travel Channel's Adam Richman of ManvFood to Indianapolis. Be sure to follow this blog and offer suggestions. Someday we'll be able explain that 'Naptown has nothing to do with being sleepy!

What places would they visit if they ever decide to stop hating on us?

Papa Roux
Tye Dye Grill
Yats
Scotty's Brewhouse
Rathskeller
Holly Hock Hill

Which restaurants have a distinctly Indianapolis feel or just an independent/creative feel in their own way?

The Travel Channel may talk about the World's Spiciest Food at St. Elmo's but even in that story, Indianapolis seemed to be a surprise win. Again, Why the hate?

What about food challenges? Where are the Indy Food Contests?

Here are some that I have read about:
Wings Etc. - A Small, Indiana area wing chain.
The Fat Stanley - From Stanley's New York Style Deli
The 2 Bubs - Big Stack of Pancakes or a HUGE Burger

Who should create an eating challenge? I think Scotty's would be a great place to start. Maybe a huge order of Nachos, or something with Mo Fo Sauce? The Tie Dye Grill would also be a pretty funky place to design a creative challenge.

What are your thoughts?

UPDATE: Indianapolis featured on Man v. Food

12 comments:

The Big Tee said...

I don't believe that the Travel Channel and Food Network "hate" Indianapolis. I think that Indy is above much of the gimmicky restaurants that are predominantly featured on Man Vs. Food and DDD. Also, the restaurants featured on DDD are recommended by viewers who e-mail the show with bios and photos of the restaurants.

Indianapolis is seen on a national level as a land of chain restaurants. Colin Cowherd of ESPN said it well - when you drive through Indianapolis, it's Applebees, Chili's, Texas Roadhouse, Bob Evans, Olive Garden, Applebees, Applebees, etc. Indy has an amazing restaurant scene, but if you're an average out of town visitor, for conventions and sporting events, you'll be visiting downtown staples such as Hooters, Old Spaghetti Factory, Jillians, Hard Rock Cafe, Weber Grill, RAM, and if they have some cash to burn, St. Elmos, Ruth's Chris, and Harry and Izzy's. They don't realize that a $5 cab ride away is amazing restaurants on Mass Ave, or that Indianapolis has a great pizza scene as you've described in past blogs.

Maybe our mission as Indy residents should be to give out of towners a tip - go check out Bazbeaux's, or you've got to have a liter of Spaten and the brat 'n kraut balls at the Rathskeller in the beer garten.

Word of mouth will do wonders - and if we start showing visitors what we're made of, The Travel Channel and Food Network will come calling. I just hope it's not for gimmicks, but because Indianapolis is a truly foodie city with much more to offer than 10 lbs of nachos or a burger cooked in grease from the 1920's.

**But if someone wanted to open a doughnut shop in the vein of Voodoo Doughnuts and serve maple bacon doughnuts, I'd be ok with that.

Phil Lavoie said...

Well Said!

I like to use Urbanspoon when I travel to find the local flavor. It really has yet to let me down.

I do disagree slightly, I think there is room for the Travel Channel to visit, even if it is a bit gimmicky.

What about Samantha Brown? She should do a weekend here! Her show is pretty classy. (For the most part)

Thanks for your comment! I'll keep trying to spread the word!

wouldibuyitagain said...

Hey Phil, go to my blog www.wouldibuyitagain.com (sorry for the plug)and click on Eat Feats (in the links section) and then click on Indiana, it will show all the local eating challenges. You might want to add The Big Ugly to your list!

I agree with a lot of thing that Big Tee said, but not that we are a “true foodie city.” There are a few great restaurants, a few with character and then chain city. We need more restaurants like Yats. It is casual, a good amount of character and something out of the norm. I am surprised that we have yet to see upscale version of old standards or even upscale pizza, burgers, and old school. I mean, the best seller at Oakley’s was the meatloaf. Go figure.

If Diners/Drive-Ins/Dives came into town, they would struggle as well.

Part of the problem has to do with the mentality that if someone wants to go to a nice dinner, that there has to be a steak involved somewhere in it. We have a ton of steakhouses, too many really. I am generalizing, however the market can support Eddie’s, Flemming, Ruth’s, and Sullivans within 2 miles of each other. However there is not one great independent modern/contemporary restaurant in the Keystone X’ing area, go figure?

Big Tee, if you like Voodoo Doughnuts maple bacon, check out Holy Cow cupcakes http://wouldibuyitagain.wordpress.com/2009/04/06/review-holy-cow-cupcakes/

I went to VD in Portland, it was good, but I wasn’t able to capture the hype. However Le Pigeon is my 2nd favorite restaurant in the country. Now Portland, that is a foodie city.

The Big Tee said...

Wouldbuyitagain - In my original comment, I came *thisclose* to talking about how Indianapolis has the greatest number of steakhouses per capita! But it didn't really connect with what I was trying to say, so I took it out.

When you say that Indianapolis has a few great restaurants, but no upscale pizza places, I can think of 3 that immediately come to mind. Bazbeaux's has 3 locations in Indianapolis, Puccini's Smiling Teeth Pizza has multiple locations, and even though it's not an upscale atmosphere, Hotbox Pizza has fantastic pizzas with great quality ingredients.

I also feel that Indianapolis has many great restaurants that are widely overlooked since we're such a suburban city. Creation Cafe and Euphoria inside of Bugg's Temple, Iaria's off of College Ave downtown, and of course Yats. But even in the suburbs, there are great finds and many independent restaurants in Broad Ripple.

The biggest issue is that these great local finds are lost in the masses of chain restaurants and steak houses. And like I said before, they're just waiting for us to talk them up and make the rest of the country take notice of how great Indianapolis is for food.

**On the note of bacon maple doughnuts and Voodoo Doughnuts - I make my own bacon maple cupcakes already! I'm kind of a cupcake nut. Recently added Boston Creme Pie Cupcakes and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes to my repertoire. Doughnuts are a different beast though - haven't mastered that yet.

wouldibuyitagain said...

Big Tee, yeah… you and I think a lot alike. I used to really like Baz, but my nearest location is the Carmel one (I live within walking distance) and the service is so bad that I rarely go. Jackamo is pretty solid on Washington. I have yet to try Hot Box, it is on my list. The point that I was trying to make is that I think there is an opportunity to upscale familiar items. The gap from Applebee’s -> Oakley’s/Euphoria/Etc… is pretty big at times. I was with a friend the other day and he didn’t know what Chorizo is. Geez.

I would agree that local gems do not get the press they should. It’s been on my mind lately. I can’t say that I have been helping that as well (considering my blog).

Btw, those cupcakes sound awesome! Since I am anonymous, can you leave an unmarked box outside the Baz in Carmel at 7:00 tonight?!? Ha.

The Big Tee said...

I'm actually making a batch of maple bacon cupcakes today! But I don't think I'll be driving 3.5 hours to bring you any! I'm a transplant in Naperville, IL until the end of August .. then back to Indianapolis for good.

I like Jackamo's - I want to recreate that parm-garlic sauce they serve with breadsticks! SO GOOD.

Oh, and my husband wants to open a baconcentric restaurant called Bacon on Bacon. Anything you order, the server would ask "would you like bacon on that?" But he doesn't know the first thing about opening a restaurant and I know too much - so we'd crash and burn pretty bad.

Phil Lavoie said...

Yum. Sorry I'm so quiet. I have no internet access till tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Phil: Some others that I feel need to make the list.

Sawasdee Restaurant (86th street, Thai restaurant, always great)
Eh! Formaggio (Lafayette and 56th, Pizza is fantastic and canolis are great too)
10th Street Steer Inn (mostly just for breakfast skillets / Biscuits & Gravy)
Taste Cafe (College and 52nd - just about anything on the menu is great)
The Brugge (Westfield and Winthrop, Beer + Frites, Steak and Eggs are awesome too)
Boogie Burger (Westfield and Winthrop as well.)

Personal fave:
Thursday night at the Alley cat, Steak special night. Better than you'd think. :-)

Anonymous said...

Should qualify, not all of above places would be worthy of a tv show visit, but are all great Indy places nonetheless. Also, just wing'n it on college and 49th would be worth a visit as well, for great greasy eats.

Bo Stephens said...

You know I'm going to have to say Shallos. First off it is locally owned and only one exists. As far as Indiana[polis] is concerned they have tons of antiques and memorabilia dating back many years and covering all sorts of this area's rich history.

Homemade chips and hugemongous wings are among my faves and you can't beat the largest selection of beers in the Midwest.

Phil Lavoie said...

Just an FYI - Indianapolis will be featured on Man v. Food

Anonymous said...

For those that don't remember, Alton Brown also hit up Evansville on his "Feasting on Asphalt" run for some "brain sandwiches"...