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It’s a process, this evolving NUVO Best Of Indy Issue — every year it’s just a wee bit different. OK, last year was a big sea change — our readers not only picked the winners, they built the ballot through a write-in nomination process. We kept that concept going in 2015. Again, the top finishers made it to the voting round, and here are the results.

TABLE OF CONTENTS FOOD&DRINK ................................... 4 ARTS&ENTERTAINMENT................. 14 MUSIC.............................................. 26 SHOPPING....................................... 34 BEST OF BLOOMINGTON.................43

Some old faves finished first, but there were some upsets, too — that’s one thing we find fascinating about this annual poll. It’s an indication of how the city changes from year to year. What’s really startling, though, is to go back through NUVO’s 25-year history to see just how much Indy’s grown. A great example? 1992’s Best Of Indy edition — apparently, dining options were so limited that the award for Indy’s Best Fried Chicken went to KFC. And now that NUVO’s available in Bloomington, we’ve added our special “Best of Bloomington” section at the back of this list of winners. (This made for a PRIME excuse for a dedicated trip or two down to B-town for a couple of editors — including a meal at Mother Bear’s. HELLO.) Compiling the blurbs is a blast — we really have fun scribbling these things, and it truly is a group effort: our Senior Editor/Music Editor Katherine


ENGAGEMENT EDITOR: Brian Weiss // COPY EDITOR: Christine Berman PHOTOGRAPHY: All photos are file or submitted unless otherwise indicated. PRODUCTION MANAGER/ART DIRECTOR: Elaine Benken // SENIOR DESIGNER: Asha Patel // GRAPHIC DESIGNERS: Will McCarty // wmccarty@, Erica Wright // BUSINESS MANAGER: Kathy Flahavin //

DISTRIBUTION MANAGER: Ryan McDufee // DIRECTOR OF SALES: James Pacovsky // // 808-4614 EVENTS & PROMOTIONS MANAGER: Meaghan Banks// // 808-4608 ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE: David Searle // // 808-4607 ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE: Casey Parmerlee // // 808-4613 ACCOUNT MANAGER: Katelyn Calhoun // // 808-4615

Coplen, Food and Listings Editor Sarah Murrell, Arts Editor Emily Taylor, News Editor Amber Stearns and Engagement Editor Brian Weiss all contribute whether it’s through writing or research. We’re having a party at Crane Bay to celebrate with our winners, and we hope you can join us on October 29 from 6-11 p.m. Our promo squad tells us “Tickets include samples from food, beer and wine vendors, hors d’oeuvres and some of the best musical performances in town. The first 150 people to arrive at the celebration will receive a cocktail ticket, compliments of Fuzzy’s Vodka!” Want more? Attendees will be treated to performances by DJ Action Jackson, Charlie Ballantine, Shiny Penny, Andra Faye and Scott Ballantine, Bashiri Asad, Bizarre Noir (with a special appearance by Angel Burlesque), Oreo Jones, Five Year Mission and Russ Baum & Huck Finn. Hope to see you there. Cheers,




EDITORIAL POLICY: NUVO Newsweekly covers news, public issues, arts and entertainment. We publish views from across the political and social spectra. They do not necessarily represent the views of the publisher. MANUSCRIPTS: NUVO welcomes manuscripts. We assume no responsibility for returning manuscripts not accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope. DISTRIBUTION: The current issue of NUVO is free. Past issues are at the NUVO office for $3 if you come in, $4.50 mailed. NUVO is available every Wednesday at over 1,000 locations in the metropolitan area. Limit one copy per customer.

SUBSCRIPTIONS: NUVO Newsweekly is published weekly for $99 per year by NUVO Inc., 3951 N. Meridian St., suite 200, Indianapolis, IN 46208. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to NUVO, inc., 3951 N. Meridian St., suite 200, Indianapolis, IN 46208. Copyright ©2015 by NUVO, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without written permission, by any method whatsoever, is prohibited. ISSN #1086-461X


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f you had told me ten years ago that someday, a mostly-vegan, all vegetarian food stall would win Best of Indy for both Best New Restaurant in the same year it won for Best Vegetarian, I would’ve told you that you’re crazy. Three Carrots’ crossover wins signal a sea change in a city best known for a famous steakhouse. Maybe you could chalk it up to our new love of cycling or farm-to-table ingredients, but we’re cleaning up our dietary act. Of course, if you’ve ever had Three Carrots’ seitan high-fives, a protein product derived from wheat gluten, you’d know that making the switch doesn’t have to be painful at all. Three Carrots has long been supplying restaurants with this unbelievably delicious vegan protein, most famously at The Sinking Ship. If you have a chance to get their seitan gyro or hot wings, I’d highly suggest one or both. Seitan absorbs flavor like no other protein, so every bite gets infused with seasoning and sauce, and they have perfected the texture of this seitan so you’ll never notice the difference. The most amazing part of it all is that owner and chef Ian Phillips churns it all out of his 150-square-foot food stall at City Market. “It’s surprising! We’re using pretty minimal stuff. Minimal space, minimal equipment,” said Phillips. He’s not surprised, however, that vegetarian and vegan food has caught on in a non-niche market. “It’s part of the culture enough that people aren’t necessarily turned away by it. And then once they have it, they realize that it actually tastes good, it’s satisfying, and it’s approachable. Then people embrace it and get excited about it.” While Three Carrots isn’t the only restaurant serving the meatless market, they are the only ones serving such

Three Carrots meal. (inset): Chef/owner Ian Phillips.

a massive vegan selection for both breakfast and lunch. That’s because Phillips’ own introduction forced him to look outside of his regular American burgers-and-fries existence to see how other cultures ate without meat, where he found a huge array of flavors to experiment with. “I went vegan about 20 years ago, and I was forced to eat Thai food and Indian food, and take on some more exotic flavors. That really influenced my palate and what I’m searching for in food.” He assures the people who claim they could “never give up meat” to come down to his City Market spot and let him have a swing at your veggie-avoidant palate. But don’t get it twisted: Phillips isn’t one of those vegans yelling at you about your chicken fingers while you’re just trying to get your nosh on. He’d rather convert you with the power of good ingredients and good flavors because it just tastes good, not from atop a vegan soap box.



“I’m not trying to win people over or change anyone,” he laughs. “That’s not why I do this.” But at the same time, he says, there is a thrill in surprising someone with a delicious, meatless duplicate of something they already love. “Once you break through that stigma, people really embrace it and enjoy it.” I count myself among the people who claimed they could “never” give up meat (current employment notwithstanding) before having a seitan gyro piled high with cucumbers and tomatoes. I can honestly say that you really, truly, will not miss the meat from a dish with this Indybeloved, humble plant protein. The easiest way to get your Three Carrots food is to go down to City Market or, if you’re in a rush, order through their website for pickup in 15 minutes (Available from 8 a.m.11 a.m. M-F and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday). Viva la Vegan Revolucion! l

BEST INDIANA BREWERY SUN KING BREWERY Yes, our favorite brewery wins it again, and why not? Sun King was the first craft brewery to bring their beer to us on a large scale, converting many mass-market drinkers to start spending their money on locally-made suds instead of that macro crap. They’ve also helped revolutionize craft canning in partnership with Oskar Blues, and have single-handedly convinced the Indiana Legislature to increase the barrel and distribution limits for Indiana brewers. They host tons of beer-centric events, sponsor a huge number of charitable events in town, and were the heralds of this new era in central Indiana craft brewing. Brewery: 135 N. College Ave., 602-3702; Tap Room and Small-Batch Brewery: 7848 E. 96th St. (Fishers), 436-1926, 2nd: Black Acre Brewing 3rd: Three Floyd’s Brewery BEST INDIANA BEER SUN KING’S SUNLIGHT CREAM ALE So it’s no surprise, then that they would make your favorite beer, too. Sun King’s Sunlight Cream Ale is the perfect jumpingoff point for folks who want to leave those watery macrobrews in the garbage where they belong and start drinking something with real flavor and character. Cream Ale is about as easy-drinking as easy-drinking gets, and you can get it in either a can or a growler. Even if you don’t want to take it home with you, you can find Sunlight at just about any local sporting event and most bars in town. 2nd: Three Floyd’s Zombie Dust 3rd: Sun King Wee Mac BEST LOCAL BEER FEST INDIANA MICROBREWER’S FESTIVAL If we’ve learned anything from our repeated exposure to the brewing community, it’s that they’re the most fun group of ladies and gents you could ever hope to meet. It’s no surprise that this is your favorite festival in town, with microbrewers coming together to show off all their small batch creations. This is where the true beer nerds hang out and taste barrel-aged brews, jalapeno-lavender-orange blossom suds, and

BEST LOCAL BEER SELECTION TWENTY TAP Yes, we realize that there are way more than 20 taps, but this category still won over two spots with more taps by the numbers. What wins at Twenty Tap is the curation of brews on those 37 glorious taps. When you’re on the hunt for a great, local and limited beer, you can always count on the folks at Twenty Tap to supply you with that beer. Not to mention that these guys have, by far, some of the best burgers and pub food in town. 5406 N. College Ave., 602-8840, 2nd: Hop Cat 3rd: Scotty’s Brewhouse BEST SPECIAL/LIMITED RELEASE BEER SUN KING GRAPEFRUIT JUNGLE GFJ is released every year right around Sun King’s anniversary, and they started putting it in cans a few years ago, much to our collective delight. There’s a reason this hoppy, floral, grapefruit-scented beer is the citywide favorite, as it perfectly straddles that line between being endlessly drinkable and dense with flavor. Did you miss it this year? Don’t worry, you have plenty of time to get prepared for next July’s release. 2nd: B  ooks & Brews A Barrel to Arms Bourbon Barrel Aged Scotch Ale 3rd: Three Floyd’s Dark Lord BEST INDIANA WINE OLIVER SOFT RED Drinking Oliver Soft Red is as quintessential a Central Indiana growing up experience as it is to go to the track during May. This table wine is sweet and goes down easy at the end of a long day, and it’s an easy intro point to get folks off of the sweet cheap stuff. If you want a truly delicious spritzer, mix it with some dry lemon soda over ice. Yum. 2nd: Easley Traminette 3rd: Oliver Chambourcin BEST INDIANA WINERY OLIVER WINERY Not only is Oliver one of the most prolific

wineries east of the Mississippi River, it’s also one of the most beautiful spots in the state. Just north of Bloomington off of 37, Oliver hosts everything from dining to live music events. It’s a nice spot to go for a low-key bachelor or bachelorette party, and you can get their wines shipped right to your door if you want to take a little party home with you. Next time you take a day trip south, include this place in your itinerary for a healthy dose of good booze and beautiful scenery. Tasting room: 8024 N. State Road 37 (Bloomington), 812-876-5800, toll free 800-258-2783; Downtown: 105 N. College Ave., 812-822-0466; 2nd: New Day Craft 3rd: Mallow Run Winery


everything in between. 2nd: Brew HaHa 3rd: Winterfest

BEST LOCAL WINE FEST VINTAGE INDIANA Another winner that takes place at Military Park, Vintage Indiana is once again the favorite for all you wine lovers. It’s a great way to get acquainted with all the wineries in the state and region, plus a nice lineup of food trucks to keep you fed while you taste. You’ll need to keep some food in your stomach, too, as this fest should be taken on as a marathon and definitely not a sprint. 2nd: Ice Miller Wine Fest 3rd: Dig IN BEST LOCAL WINE LIST MASS AVE WINE Now is the time when we tell you about corking fees, when restaurants charge you a nominal fee for serving your BYO wine to you. So now that you know that, you’ll understand why our readers voted Mass Ave Wine Shop as having the best wine list in the city. They host tasting dinners and can help you find the right bottle for whatever you’re eating or serving. Also make sure you buzz the $10 or less section. 878 Massachusetts Ave., 972-7966, 2nd: Corner Wine Bar 3rd: Tinker Street BEST LOCAL COFFEEHOUSE CALVIN FLETCHER’S COFFEE COMPANY Amazingly, this coffee shop was never intended to be a for-profit company. For a place that doesn’t care about making money, they sure have made one of the best 100% RECYCLED PAPER // NUVO // 2015 // BESTOFINDY 5


“We would like to thank all our customers and employees for your support and hard work.” Open 7 days a week for lunch & dinner

B E S T LO CAL A R T I SA N P I Z Z A B E S T LO CAL UTILITY PIZZA 401 Market Plaza — Old Town Greenwood 5646 East Washington Street — historic Irvington

NEW location: 9165 otis avenue — fort ben


coffee shops in town. You can always find some new ideas buzzing in this shop, not to mention a creative, flavorful caffeine buzz. Do not miss their special cold brews. 647 Virginia Ave.,423-9697, 2nd: Hubbard & Cravens 3rd: Bee Coffee Roasters BEST LOCAL COFFEE ROASTER HUBBARD & CRAVENS Hubbard & Cravens is now the established king of local coffee roasters. They do all their own buying and roasting, and you can always find a bag of Hubbard and Cravens somewhere close to home. They’re our local, prolific version of Starbucks, except, you know, with really good coffee instead of expensive, crappy stuff. Multiple locations, 2nd: Bee Coffee Roasters 3rd: Tinker Coffee BEST LOCAL FARM-TO-FORK RESTAURANT BLUEBEARD With Amelia’s Bakery almost ready to open the doors and a new private dining room already graced by the likes of Andrew Luck, Bluebeard is still the reigning champ of farm-to-fork restaurants. They remain defined by their talent for using fresh produce and seafood. If you haven’t been to dollar oyster night on Sunday, you’re not really living to your full potential. 653 Virginia Ave., 686-1580, 2nd: Cafe Patachou 3rd: Tinker Street BEST LOCAL CHINESE RESTAURANT EGG ROLL NO. 1 If you want amazing Chinese food in Indy, you really have to stay on 38th St. But the very best in town is on South Emerson, just on the other side of the 465 loop. You could more accurately call this place an “Asian fusion” restaurant, as they have food influenced by Vietnamese and Thai cuisine as well as Chinese. Whatever you call it, though, it’s friggin’ delicious and we love it as much as you do, Indy. 4540 S. Emerson Ave., 787-2225, 2nd: Szechuan Garden 3rd: Naisa Pan-Asian Café

BEST LOCAL JAPANESE/SUSHI RESTAURANT SAKURA Sakura truly excels at the art of raw fish served on rice. They haven’t changed locations or decor in probably 20 years, because they just don’t need to. Go on any weekday or weekend night and find the same packed house, mostly full of dedicated lifers who refuse to get their sashimi anywhere else. Don’t worry about the wait though, as they do carry out as well as dine-in service. 7201 N. Keystone Ave., 259-4171, 2nd: Naked Tchopsticks 3rd: Fujiyama Steakhouse BEST LOCAL THAI RESTAURANT SIAM SQUARE You can pretend that other Thai restaurants even come close to Siam Square, but you know that would be a lie. This is another place that consistently is packed elbows to b-holes on the weekdays as well as the weekend, so call ahead if you plan to stop by. And then go ahead and bury yourself in a small pile of curry and softshell crab and eat your way out. There is no use for takeaway containers here. 936 Virginia Ave., 636-8424, 2nd: Thai Spice 3rd: Sawasdee BEST LOCAL INDIAN RESTAURANT INDIA GARDEN This was a close one, but India Garden once again won the hearts of the Indy dining community. We don’t need to tell you why this place is amazing, because you already know that Indian food is the superior food, and India Garden does it better than anyone. Stop by for the lunch buffet should you doubt us on that. 830 Broad Ripple Ave., 253-6060; 207 N. Delaware St., 634-6060; 2nd: Shalimar 3rd: Spice Box BEST LOCAL ITALIAN RESTAURANT MAMA CAROLLA’S You can seriously get your Italian on here, with lots of rich pastas and alfredo sauces. Prepare to need a nap afterward though. 1031 E. 54th St., 259-9412,


od o f r u o r o rs f a e y 4 1 ll, n i o p s d ’s r r a e w d a a re 39 We’ve won nual “Best of Indy” estaurant!” n R in NUVO’s a ins for “Best Overall w including 6

5363 College Ave • 885 Mass Ave 8352 E 96th St • 1280 US-31 12545 Old Meridian St 910 W 10th St • 1420 W 86th 5650 W 86th St like us on facebook

13901 Town Center Blvd (Noblesville) 9259 E US Hwy 36 (Avon) • 325 4th St (Columbus, IN) 60 University Dr (Valparaiso, IN) 1386 Grandview Ave (Columbus, OH) 1251 Eddy St, Suite 103 (Notre Dame) 100% RECYCLED PAPER // NUVO // 2015 // BESTOFINDY 7


2nd: Puccini’s Smiling Teeth 3rd: Iaria’s Italian Restaurant BEST LOCAL MEXICAN RESTAURANT LA HACIENDA There are a lot of Mexican restaurants in our city, so you have to have something special to grow to the number of locations La Hacienda has by now. We think it has something to do with having the best salsa in town, but we’re open to debate on the topic. Multiple locations 2nd: La Margarita 3rd: La Parada BEST LOCAL GREEK RESTAURANT SANTORINI GREEK KITCHEN Do you know how you turn the perfect food, cheese, into the ultimate indulgence? Soak it in booze, set it on fire, and then yell about it. Thanks for that, Greece. 1417 Prospect St., 917-1117, 2nd: Greek Islands 3rd: Canal Mediterranean Bistro and Grill

BEST LOCAL MEDITERRANEAN RESTAURANT SANTORINI GREEK KITCHEN You know how you make all food better? Serve it fresh with lots of lemon and olive oil, and buy it at Santorini Greek Kitchen. 1417 Prospect St., 917-1117, 2nd: Bosphorus 3rd: Canal Bistro BEST LOCAL AFRICAN RESTAURANT SAFFRON CAFÉ The cuisine of Morocco is a lot more complex than to be defined by just one rare spice. No one does Moroccan food quite like Saffron Cafe, where you can get everything from garlic mussels to lamb tajine. If you really, really like Moroccan food, you can take cooking classes and learn how to blow all your friends’ dinner parties way out of the water with the help of a few artfully prepared cornish game hens. Get all the details on their very slick website. 621 Fort Wayne Ave., 917-0131, 2nd: Abyssinia 3rd: Major Restaurant

BEST LOCAL BRITISH/ENGLISH /CELTIC RESTAURANT CHATHAM TAP There are few places more exciting to be than at Chatham Tap during a televised international soccer match. You can get some excellent imported beer to accompany your fish and chips. I would recommend a plate of wings or the Montauks, but that’s just me. The best part is you can still score some of their excellent food on a late night after a show at Old National Centre or a night out partying on Mass Ave. 719 Massachusetts Ave., 917-8425, 2nd: Red Lion Grog House 3rd: Union Jack Pub BEST LOCAL CAJUN/CREOLE RESTAURANT YATS Yats won again. In other news, Sky wins Best of Indy for Local Blueness, Water for Best Local Wetness. Multiple locations, 2nd: Papa Roux 3rd: Chef Dan’s Southern Comfort

BEST LOCAL SOUL FOOD RESTAURANT MAXINE’S CHICKEN & WAFFLES I’m not a faithful person, but I could be coaxed to damn near any house of worship on a Sunday if the deal included a stop at Maxine’s. If you’re one of the uninitiated, Maxine’s serves a combination of two of the greatest foods known to man, and glues them together in flavor matrimony with peach butter. Yes, peach butter. You can eat them separately if you want to, but that would be like eating a slice of pizza with a fork and knife in New York City. Make a stack and take a bite. 32 N. East St., 423-3300, 2nd: Georgia Reese’s 3rd: Kountry Kitchen BEST LOCAL DELI/SANDWICH SHOP SHAPIRO’S DELI Shapiro’s represents all that is good about locally owned, zero-frills dining. For those of us still mourning the loss of MCL, Shapiro’s remains a beacon of old school cafeteria comfort in a scary modern world. You can still get food like homemade split pea soup,







6825 GRAHAM ROAD (317) 577-2689

6429 EAST WASHINGTON STREET (317) 357-8084 12237 N MERIDIAN ST (CARMEL) (317) 566-9563

5625 LAWTON LOOP (EAST DRIVE) (317) 405-9395 3874 LAFAYETTE ROAD (317) 290-0755

on i t a i c e r p p A r e m Custo THURSDAY OCT. 22 1/2 PRICE MARGARITAS




U O Y K N A TH ERS D NUVO REA S GU FOR VOTIN #1 BEST LOCAL British/English/ Celtic Restaurant 8211 E 116th St 845-1090 719 Massachusetts Ave 917-8425

or a plate of orange roughy with all the sides. If you’re an athlete or just an ambitious eater in search of a challenge, grab a hungry friend and order the Deluxe Deli Platter. Sweet tooths and carb lovers will also enjoy a tour of their bakery case. You won’t get out of this place with your belt on the same hole as when you came in. 808 S. Meridian St., 631-4041, 2nd: Goose The Market 3rd: Broad Ripple Bagel Deli BEST LOCAL CRAFT BURGERS SCOTTY’S BREWHOUSE We asked and you voted Scotty’s as Indy’s best local burger. It’s hardly the only thing they’re famous for when it comes to gamefriendly dining. Make sure you stay tuned to Scotty’s social media presence to get the scoop on all of their dining deals available during the week. There’s quite a few. Multiple locations, 2nd: Burgerhaus 3rd: Twenty Tap BEST LOCAL CHEAP BURGERS WORKINGMAN’S FRIEND There are two types of burgers in this world: thick, juicy backyard-style patties and thin, crispy smashed patties off of a hot griddle. Workingman’s Friend serves the latter kind, and they’re the most delicious thing you will ever get for less than a fiver. We’d highly recommend the upcharge for jalapenos and cheese, but we’re fancy like that. Still, even the most expensive ticket there isn’t going

St. Elmo’s Steakhouse 10 BESTOFINDY // 2015 // NUVO // 100% RECYCLED PAPER

to dent your bank account, though it will eliminate your hunger. It’s also worth mentioning that they have a full bar. So now you also know that. 234 N. Belmont Ave., 636-2067 2nd: Boogie Burger 3rd: Mug-n-Bun BEST LOCAL ARTISAN PIZZA JOCKAMO UPPER CRUST PIZZA Surely we don’t have to tell you why this is good, because you’ve probably eaten it. If you haven’t, fold this paper and place it neatly under your arm only to be enjoyed once you have a Jockamo pie in front of your face. Multiple locations, 2nd: Bazbeaux 3rd: Puccini’s Smiling Teeth BEST LOCAL UTILITY PIZZA JOCKAMO UPPER CRUST PIZZA Cheese or fancy, we’re still very pro-Jockamo. And so are you. Multiple locations, 2nd: Bazbeaux 3rd: Puccini’s Smiling Teeth BEST LOCAL WINGS ALE EMPORIUM You really should try them “Herman style.” Just do it. You’ll like it. 8617 Allisonville Road, 842-1333,


BEST LOCAL PORK TENDERLOIN STEER-IN There isn’t much you can’t order at Steer-In, so statistically, they were bound to have the best of something on this list. Did you want a taco salad with your pancakes? That is something they can do for you at the Steer-In. But it’s the famous Hoosier treat the tenderloin that steals the show here, that famous paddle of pork that makes a sandwich bun look like a Hawaiian roll. Make sure you go hungry and try as much as you can. 5130 E. 10th St., 356-0996, 2nd: Edward’s Drive In 3rd: Mug-N-Bun BEST LOCAL STEAK ST. ELMO’S STEAKHOUSE It’s basically Indianapolis’ Rainbow Room. 127 S. Illinois St., 635-0636, 2nd: Harry & Izzy’s 3rd: Dawson’s on Main

BEST LOCAL SEAFOOD OCEANAIRE I once watched my sister eat an entire boat of pickled herring at this restaurant. She said it was really good. You have to hand it to anyone who can pickle a fish that well. 30 S. Meridian St., #100, 955-2277, 2nd: Rick’s Cafe Boatyard 3rd: Caplinger’s Fresh Catch BEST LOCAL BREAKFAST /BRUNCH PLACE STEER-IN If variety is the key to a great relationship, prepare to fall in love with the Steer-In. You might have noticed they also won for best tenderloin. Do you really think it’s possible that a place that makes great tenderloins could make a bad breakfast? No. That’s just math. 5130 E. 10th St., 356-0996, 2nd: Cafe Patachou 3rd: 3 Sisters Café BEST LOCAL VEGETARIAN/ VEGAN JOINT THREE CARROTS

Only Three Carrots has ever made me feel like I could comfortably give up meat forever. Their seitan high fives are the most singularly delicious way to get a serving of protein without eating an animal in the process. If you’ve eaten the seitan offerings on the delicious menu at The Sinking Ship, you’ve already eaten at this City Market veggie joint. 222 E. Market St., 403-5867 2nd: 3 Sisters Café 3rd: Ezra’s Raw Enlightened Café BEST SMALL PLATE/TAPAS JOINT BARCELONA TAPAS Yes, the small plates dinner game here is on point, but you haven’t really lived until you’ve gone here for brunch. It’s absolute, out-and-out decadence. There’s a buffet and unlimited plates from the kitchen and a glass of sangria for less than $20. Yeah, you’re welcome. 201 N. Delaware St., 638-8272, 2nd: Bluebeard 3rd: Goose the Market

BEST LOCAL PLACE TO EAT CHEAP STEER-IN What the hell are you doing not eating at the Steer-In yet?! 5130 10th St., 356-0996, 2nd: Yats 3rd: Mug-N-Bun BEST LOCAL PLACE FOR UPSCALE DINING ST. ELMO’S STEAKHOUSE Dry cleaning companies pray for St. Elmo’s waiters with shaky hands. 127 S. Illinois St., 635-0636, 2nd: Bluebeard 3rd: Harry & Izzy’s BEST LOCAL PLACE TO HAVE A ROMANTIC DINNER MAMA CAROLLA’S Fountains, twinkle lights, a romantic garden and cream sauce. That’s amoré. 1031 E. 54th St., 259-9412, 2nd: The Eagle’s Nest 3rd: St. Elmo’s Steakhouse



2nd: Scotty’s Brewhouse 3rd: Nite Owls Saloon


Mama Carolla’s Old Italian Restaurant

Thank You! We would like to thank everyone who voted for us. You are the reason that we are able to continue doing what we love. We would also like to thank our hard working staff. Our staff is the most important part of our restaurant and we couldn’t do it without them. We at Mama’s strive to create an atmosphere where you can enjoy delicious Italian food and wine at reasonable prices. We are very proud and appreciative to have been voted #1.” Grazie, Mama

#1 Italian Restaurant #1 Romantic Restaurant


1031 East 54th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46220 FIND EVEN MORE INDY (AND BLOOMINGTON) TREASURES AT



BEST LOCAL RESTAURANT FOR LATE NIGHT MUNCHIES THE SINKING SHIP Better known to regulars as simply The Ship, this place is where everyone from industry folks, rockers, sports fans and everyone in between ends up. Even more famous than their motley mix of patrons is their outstanding food that you can get way later than anywhere else in town. Sometimes you need some french fries covered in bacon and sour cream, or a plate of seitan hot wings, or a stuffed burger. They can do that for you until 3 am. 4923 N. College Ave., 920-7999, 2nd: (TIE) Scotty’s Brewhouse, Peppy Grill 3rd: Kilroy’s

BEST SERVICE PUCCINI’S SMILING TEETH Though I’m very happy Puccini’s wins in this category, it seems like a restaurant named after a person’s pleasant expression should be the only one allowed to win in this category. Also, the pizza is absolutely amazing. 1508 W. 86th St., 875-9223; 3944 E. 82nd St., 842-4028, 2nd: Yats 3rd: Scotty’s Brewhouse BEST OUTDOOR DINING RICK’S BOATYARD CAFÉ Rick’s Boatyard Cafe is a little slice of coastal living in the middle of a landlocked state. On a day with nice weather, that patio is indistinguishable from a Florida beachfront restaurant, except the prices are better and the servers have much less deadness in their eyes. If you don’t have the time to actually take a vacation, please take the drive up to this spot and treat yourself to a few hours of great food and outstanding views. 4050 Dandy Trail, 290-9300,

2nd: Rooftop Garden Fountain Square 3rd: Scotty’s Brewhouse

2nd: Symphony on the Prairie 3rd: Eagle Creek Park

BEST FOOD TRUCK THE FLYING CUPCAKE How do you take a Flying Cupcake and make it better? You put wheels on it, dingus. 423 Massachusetts Ave., 396-2696, 2nd: Scratch Truck 3rd: Beast

BEST OVERALL LOCAL RESTAURANT SCOTTY’S BREWHOUSE Do you want wings? They’ve got them. Pizza? Yes. Sandwiches? As many as you could want. Not only that, but Scotty’s is in the middle of a massive expansion. You probably have one close to you by now. Not to mention that you can get Scotty’s to cater your party, and you can order food online and carry it out if you want to feed a whole crew but you’d rather keep your pajamas on. Multiple locations, 2nd: Bluebeard 3rd: Yats

BEST PLACE FOR A PICNIC INDIANAPOLIS MUSEUM OF ART Pack a lunch and head to the still-free 100 Acres. Park in the lot off 38th street and pack in. That part is still free, and still as beautiful as always. 4000 Michigan Road, 923-1331,

Flying Cupcake Food Truck SUBMITTED PHOTO


Fashion Mall, KEYSTONE CROSSING 317-762-9900

NOW Shapiro’s Twisted Traditions OPEN: in the Fashion Mall at Keystone 100% RECYCLED PAPER // NUVO // 2015 // BESTOFINDY 13


BEST NEW LOCAL RESTAURANT THREE CARROTS Yes! For the first time ever, the best new restaurant is also a vegetarian joint, and we love it! Turn to page 4 for the profile on owner Ian Phillips. 222 E. Market St., 403-5867 2nd: Tinker Street 3rd: Milktooth





isit Indy had been brewing up the idea of having some kind of interactive sculpture to welcome guests as they walked the Cultural Trail for some time — since November of last year, to be exact. What was intended to be a fun piece of public art to boost social media posts and tourism dollars turned into a statement of Indianapolis’ acceptance for all. When the NCAA Final Four began to draw near, Visit Indy wanted to capitalize on the 100,000 people that the college basketball holy week would bring. “We wanted them to be placed along the Cultural Trail, with picture perfect postcard backdrops — and then invite Indy residents to stand and be the “I” in Indy and post why they #LoveIndy,” says Chris Gahl, Vice President of Marketing & Communications for Visit Indy. They took the idea to local artist, fabricator and Herron professor Brian McCutcheon and his company iFab in December of 2014. You might recognize their work from the side of Eskanazi Health or the yellow bus benches that use seats refurbished by People for Urban Progress from the old Bush Stadium. “Visit Indy came to us with the idea in reference to another project that happened in, I think it was in Dallas,” says McCutcheon. “I tweaked the design a bit so that it reflected their logo.” The project in Dallas was called “Big” where visitors were the “I” amongst the big block letters. “I proposed that instead of using block letters — which I thought was problematic in a number of ways because of how it read visually,”

says McCutcheon, “Why not utilize the logo and really brand it?” It took eight to 12 weeks to complete the hollow aluminum on steel plate forms on the three sculptures. It is estimated that every week since then there have been around 200 posts to social media with visitors and proud Indy residents standing with the letters. “It’s nice to see a project be so incredibly successful,” says McCutcheon. Their goal has been reached flawlessly. “A recent piece of research shows that 62 percent of the 26 million people who visit Indy each year come to see family and friends,” says Gahl. “To that end, we wanted to engage residents to ask them to be humbly boastful about the city and invite family and friends to visit. We wanted Indy residents to be stronger Indy ambassadors.” The stats definitely back up the positivity of travel dollars in Indy. With roughly 26 million annual visitors (meaning $4.4 billion in dinners, hotels and entertainment) it isn’t hard to see how tourism can fill 75,000 full-time employment positions around town. The local government tax total alone reaches $238 million. It is no small industry and is something that Visit Indy tries desperately to protect.


The need for a point of pride in Indy only became stronger as Indiana legislators broke open the lack of protection for LGBT Hoosiers with the controversial Religious Freedom bill. On the heels of RFRA, the Visit Indy campaign boomed and became a way for residents to show why they loved their city and that they were not willing to be tied to the discrimination label that was being slapped on us by the rest of the country. “The sculptures gave Indy residents a physical and social platform to gravitate towards, showcasing why they love the city and why Indy welcomes all,” says Gahl. Since April, there have been more than 40,000 posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with the NDY sculptures and #LoveIndy. The sculptures will be moved inside Banker’s Life Fieldhouse and the airport as the weather turns. l


BEST LOCAL MUSEUM THE CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF INDIANAPOLIS The local favorite is not only loved by kids and teachers who desperately need a day out of the classroom even National Geographic is on board. The publication brought an exhibit that shows how different religions make their journeys and express beliefs. Monks from Tashi Kylil monastery even created a peace sand mandala. Adults can check it out even without a young one. The wintertime Adult Swim events (that are soon to be named) are one of the best places to have a night out and let the inner child in you run — with a chardonnay and killer heels of course. Maybe don’t run. Just enjoy the slide and dance. 3000 N. Meridian St., 334-4000, 2nd: IMA 3rd: Indiana State Museum BEST LOCAL ART GALLERY 5547 PROJECT GALLERY The gallery is one of the reasons that Irvington is one of Indy’s most cozy neighborhoods. Created by owner David Jackson, the shop is mostly upcycled industrial materials with local stories behind it. The gallery side focuses on Indy artists and photographers. The events can be anything from spoken word to the monthly openings complete with wine and cheese and a “meet the artist” time. There isn’t much in the way of traditional art here. The modern interior pairs well with the contemporary art pieces that grace the walls. If you are looking to add some alternative original pieces to your home office, this would be the place to start. 5547 Bonna Ave., 777-1161, Monday-Thursday 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Friday 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.7 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m.-6 p.m. 2nd: Art Bank Gallery 3rd: Finer Things BEST LOCAL VISUAL 2D ARTIST AMANDA KELLER A Herron grad, Amanda Keller has a unique style of children’s illustration. She published a book Jack and Mary Ann’s Grand Imagination with her fantastic animals and creatures. Her website bio recalls her being fascinated with reinventing the world around her from a very young age, “Ever since I can remember, I have always been drawing animals and caricatures, turning the

One of Amanda Keller’s sketches.


about the new associate conductor, the bassoon player who is also a photographer, the clarinet player who is a blogger, the new violin player and now the youngest member of the orchestra. Speaking of new things, we are particularly excited for the upcoming galaxy series. 32 E. Washington St., Ste. 600, 639-4300, 2nd: Q Artistry 3rd: Dance Kaleidoscope SUBMITTED PHOTO

family cat into a secret agent, or morphing my little sister into a gerbil.” 2nd: Justin Jay McIntosh 3rd: C  indy Johnson Boudoir Photography BEST LOCAL VISUAL 3D ARTIST DAVID LEE PANCAKE When we wrote about David Lee Pancake around GenCon (yes, GenCon is a marker in time not an event) he was in the middle of making a 11 1/2-foot dragon to hang over his convention booth. His miniature-to-largescale fantasy pieces cover everything from scaly creatures to furry animals ready for warfare or costume pieces for the cosplayers. Fantasy artwork is even the way that he learned to read (from comic books to sci-fi novels). In 2010 Pancake was able to leave his full-time job to dedicate himself to his artwork. Today his work can be seen at most gaming conventions around the country and on his website. He also created a 3D sculpture of one of the characters in Hans Cummings’ (the third place winner in Best Local Author) book series. 2nd: Ann Tudor, LLC 3rd: Seong Yong BEST LOCAL PERFORMING ARTS GROUP INDIANAPOLIS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Led by Krzysztof Urbanski, who is still one of the youngest music directors in the country and has earned his rung on the international ladder, the ISO keeps growing by leaps and bounds. This year is no exception. Urbanski is being joined by a lineup of five new players. With five new faces, the ISO season definitely has some changes afoot. We got the chance to catch up with them a few weeks ago to hear

BEST LOCAL COMEDY VENUE OR GROUP COMEDYSPORTZ Now 22 years old, ComedySportz has come a long way from rehearsing in people’s living rooms. Owners Mia Roberts, Lynn Burger and Ed Trout met in the late ‘80s at Way Off Broadway. The three heard of a project that was being developed in Milwaukee that featured two teams playing various improv games for points awarded by the audience. Since then, the concept has been sold to independently owned ComedySportz operations around the globe, one of which made its home right here in Indy. At first they were rushing sets on and off stage after Theatre on the Square shows finished up for the night. Today, ComedySportz is settled into its own intimate space off Mass Ave. 721 Massachusetts Ave., 951-8499 2nd: Crackers Comedy 3rd: Indy Prov BEST LOCAL LIVE THEATRE THEATRE ON THE SQUARE Having been a theater staple in Indy nearly since its creation in 1988, this win is no surprise. Originally located in Fountain Square, the theater has since moved to Mass Ave where the two stages have allowed for a diverse set of programming. After Lori Raffel took over at TOTS, she brought a few updates and changes to make sure that the downtown location can weather anything to come (things like a new roof and a renovated entryway that now houses First Friday IDADA shows). The theater has made a name for itself hosting big name playwrights like Steve Yockey (who just made the list of the 10 most-produced playwrights in America), Tracy Letts and David Hare. They have also been a home for local names like Ben Asaykwee, Lynn Lupold and Lou Harry. 627 Massachusetts Ave., 685-8687, 2nd: Phoenix Theatre 3rd: Beef and Boards 100% RECYCLED PAPER // NUVO // 2015 // BESTOFINDY 15


BEST LOCAL BURLESQUE TROUPE ANGEL BURLESQUE Run by local power couple Katie and Jeff Angel, the burlesque troupe keeps winning the hearts (and eyes) of Indy’s performance lovers, hence they keep taking home NUVO’s Best Of. Katie Angel has been one of the most adamant advocates for body positivity, telling performers that the entire point of burlesque is feeling sexy as you are, not 20 pounds from now. Angel Burlesque has started bringing in audience members who want to make the jump — or twirl — to the stage. The troupe isn’t just women, there are a few men in the group. With annual shows like the Nerdy and Flirty GenCon themed show, it’s clear they have the art of the strip tease down. 2nd: White Rabbit 3rd: Rocket Doll Revue BEST LOCAL DRAG KING OR QUEEN GINGER ALE The stage name of Bradley Burnell, Ginger Ale got her start performing at Roscoe’s in Chicago. The local queen has helped raise funds for HIV/AIDS prevention organizations. She also took home Miss Gay Indiana University 2010 and was named Miss Gay Indiana in 2008. /missgingerale 2nd: Lola Palooza 3rd: Pat Yo Weave BEST LOCAL FILM FESTIVAL HEARTLAND FILM FESTIVAL By now we hope that you have embraced more than just the weeklong festival in October. Heartland’s Summer Rewind, a mini-fest revisiting films that went over big during its annual fall festival, and the monthly films during First Friday are some of the highlights. This year for the Heartland Film Festival there will be an extra focus on films made by Indiana filmmakers (and a $5,000 prize). There will also be a new heated party area outside AMC Traders Point to host red carpet premiere screenings, trivia and live music. 1043 Virginia Ave., Ste. 2, 464-9405, 2nd: GenCon Film Festival 3rd: Indy Film Festival BEST LOCAL POET/SPOKEN WORD ARTIST TONY STYXX If you ask Styxx about his passions he will 16 BESTOFINDY // 2015 // NUVO // 100% RECYCLED PAPER

tell you poetry and music without a doubt, but he will also mention history if you get him talking long enough. Styxx wanted to be a history teacher from a young age, but now he has found that teaching poetry at Arts For Learning and his work with young students is a way to satisfy both desires. He teaches K-12 how to write poetry and hip-hop lyrics but uses the opportunity to expand off of other facets of their education. He often has students examine their own pasts through poetry as writing prompts. Styxx has performed with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and was a key voice in the #IndyWelcomesAll campaign. Currently he is gearing up to record his first poetry album. 2nd: Corey Ewing 3rd: Luke Austin Daugherty BEST LOCAL AUTHOR JOHN GREEN The local nerdfighter (a claim of the term nerd, not one who fights them) never seems to stop moving. Between writing a new novel and seeing Paper Towns through to the big screen, it’s impressive that he still has time to keep up his video blog. Paper Towns didn’t fare quite as well as The Fault in Our Stars did on opening weekend, but the film still beat out other movies. It also won the Teen Choice Award for being the “Choice Movie” of the summer. Coming up there is a movie deal in the works for Looking for Alaska, a novel of Green’s that was placed on the banned books list like so many other great works. Though Green is known for his writing, he is also an adamant activist along with his brother Hank. The two started a non-profit called Project for Awesome that gets YouTubers to raise funds for their favorite charities. The Green brothers also created a series of videos known as

Best Local Author, John Green




CrashCourse — shortened classroom lessons told in an energetic way to help kids in various subjects. Green has been working on a curriculum to accompany it; and IPS will likely be a test location. Green also won a NUVO Cultural Vision Award a few years back. 2nd: Kari McElroy 3rd: Hans Cummings BEST NEW PUBLIC ART NDY SCULPTURES No selfie sticks here. The interactive art installations — making the viewer the “I” in Indy — require a friend to snap your picture. The initiative was taken on by Visit Indy in the hopes of getting three sculptures along the Cultural Trail by the time the NCAA Final Four rolled around (and its 100,000 visitors). Local fabricator, artist and Herron professor Brian McCutcheon was asked to undertake the project with his company iFab. In eight to 12 weeks the shop produced three hollow aluminum sculptures that are now iconic around town. It is estimated that roughly 200 pictures are posted of people posing in the installations every week. Just before the pieces went up RFRA hit Indy, labeling us as a city that was not welcoming or protective of diversity. The signs became a stance and reason for people to post why they loved Indy. 2nd: Irvington Electrical Boxes 3rd: Ka-Bike-O-Scope BEST LOCAL PUBLIC PARK OR GREENSPACE THE VIRGINIA B. FAIRBANKS ART & NATURE PARK: 100 ACRES It really is one of the best hidden pockets of Indy. And the sculpture garden is no joke either. Although some installations can be somber (“Park of the Laments”, Alfredo Jaar), the majority seem playful, most notably the hoops-inspired “Free Basket” by Los Carpinteros. The park is defined by its interactive installations: a viewing pier, benches, swingsets, the visitor’s pavillion and concession stand are all intriguing. And Atelier Van Lieshout’s “Funky Bones,” besides popping up on every summer Instagram feed, has made appearances in everything from local indie flicks to John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. 4000 Michigan Road, 923-1331, 18 BESTOFINDY // 2015 // NUVO // 100% RECYCLED PAPER

“Funky Bones” at 100 Acres


2nd: White River State Park 3rd: Eagle Creek Park BEST LOCAL RADIO STATION 90.1 WFYI This past year, WFYI moved NUVO’s Kyle Long and his show “A Cultural Manifesto” from HD2 channel to the “mothership,” the FM signal. We’re not kidding ourselves, though: that’s NOT the main reason NUVO readers picked WFYI as top dog on the dial again — let’s face it, the options for actual, in-depth radio reporting are getting mighty thin, and WFYI provides some great coverage locally in addition to carrying national programs like Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Add the weekend lineup with Radiolab, Wait, Wait — Don’t Tell Me and the farewell season of A Prairie Home Companion, and you’ve got a winner. (Also of note: Newly minted old-school hip-hop station, The Beat, has taken third this year.) 2nd: 92.3 WTTS 3rd: 93.9 The Beat BEST LOCAL RADIO PERSONALITIES BOB AND TOM It’s finally happened — a podcaster has cracked the top three, which means we’re behind the times. Next year, you better believe we’ll have a podcast division. Johnny Lyles from the Brother, Brother Beer Cast was topped in a very close race by the WZPL’s morning ringleader Dave Smiley and two gents who are now totally synonymous with the phrase “Indy Morning Show,” Bob and Tom. 2nd: Dave Smiley 3rd: Johnny Lyles



BEST LOCAL RADIO NEWSCASTER MIKE WILSON This race was insanely close. Interestingly, although NUVO’s readers gave the nod to WFYI overall, the newsman to beat this year is one of the few remaining voices on WIBC that doesn’t traffic in wall-to-wall opinion. And Mike’s co-host on the weekday news magazine The 10 at 10, Ray Steele (and his amazing fedora) came in third. Runner-up honors went to the man who handles local news duties on NPR’s Morning Edition, WFYI’s Christopher Ayers. 2nd: Christopher Ayers 3rd: Ray Steele BEST LOCAL TV STATION WISH-TV “CBS affiliation? We don’t need no stinking CBS affiliation!” After the stunning news that WISH was losing its partnership with CBS after nearly 60 years, WISH doubleddown on promoting its local news product. NUVO’s readers reacted positively to the station’s programming and got on board when WISH lobbied its viewers to show the love. WTHR grabbed second place after spending Most Of Recent History in the top slot. 2nd: WTHR 3rd: FOX 59 BEST LOCAL TV ANCHOR OR REPORTER DAVID BARRAS Integrity, a calm delivery, a bit of humor and a killer mustache. What’s not to love? Congrats, David Barras, and while we have it on good authority that one of your old bosses gave you grief about your ties, we think you exhibit fine taste in neckwear. Last year’s Best Of Issue cover woman Andrea Morehead was NUVO’s runner-up in this category in an upset that rivals Hickory winning the final game in Hoosiers. What’s more, Ray Cortopassi of FOX 59 was a very close bronze medalist. 2nd: Andrea Morehead 3rd: Ray Cortopassi


BEST LOCAL WEATHERPERSON RANDY OLLIS Want to know a secret? When it comes to TV news, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE WEATHER. Who has the biggest Doppler Nine Million Radar Ball? Who can tell you to run to the basement quickest when the funnel clouds appear? And who do you want to deliver that news calmly and coolly — or in this case, with the most down-home panache?

Seriously, Ollis comes off as the neighbor everybody likes. Which leaves us two questions: Can WISH-TV bat for the cycle — and what happened to Angela Buchman? (Although, how ‘bout a hand for Nicole Misencik? Anyone who proudly posts their love of Phish on social media is cool with us.) 2nd: Nicole Misencik 3rd: Robb Ellis BEST LOCAL SPORTSCASTER (RADIO OR TV) DAVE CALABRO Want to know a secret? When it comes to TV sports, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE HAIR. Seriously. Ron Burgundy, have a seat. Calabro’s Operation Everything wins yet again. Anthony Calhoun (sorry, no sweep this year for WISH-TV) and radio drive-timer JMV round out this podium. 2nd: Anthony Calhoun 3rd: John Michael Vincent (JMV) BEST TWITTER FEED @PATMCAFEESHOW This category’s just one of SEVERAL times our cover model has impacted this year.Not only is the Colts punter funny, self-deprecating and probably a little unhinged, you also get the sense that the man’s Twitter feed is letting you peek into the locker room. Consider this Tweet from mid-August on the massive contract TY Hilton signed with the ‘Shoe: So happy 4 @TYHilton13 Great human who has done nothing but ball out since he arrived in the great state of Indiana. Congrats wealthy ass. 2nd: @IndianaGeeking 3rd: @WIBCRaySteele BEST INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT ANGELBURLESQUEINDY If we have to explain why a Burlesque troupe won a category for a social media platform that’s primarily PICTURES, well ... 2nd: scottysbrewhouse 3rd: igersindy BEST LOCAL AMATEUR OR COLLEGIATE SPORTS TEAM NAPTOWN ROLLER GIRLS That’s right: the NRG skaters don’t get paid, they truly do it for the Love of the Game. Never been? C’mon! Just find a seat next to someone who knows the rules and the scoring. There are three tiers of skaters: the Tornado Sirens are at the top of the heap,

BEST PROFESSIONAL SPORTS TEAM THE INDIANAPOLIS COLTS The Colts have handed the city one Lombardi trophy, and there are plenty of pigskin prognosticators who think another might be in the cards — and sooner rather than later. Andrew Luck (almost) seamlessly picked up where Manning left off, and the Horse appears ready to make another deep playoff run as these words are penned. Interestingly, the city now also has a fondness for what they call “football” outside of the states: The Indy Eleven took silver. Another odd tidbit: We moved the Best Of voting process to the warmer months this year, and we’re willing to bet that’s why the Pacers didn’t make the top three but our beloved baseball team did.

2nd: Indy Eleven 3rd: Indianapolis Indians BEST LOCAL ATHLETE ANDREW LUCK Let’s ditch the whole “Chuck Norris is so tough” bit, please. The proper subject of said running joke and/or meme HAS to be Luck. As in “Andrew Luck is so tough he can start a fire by rubbing two ice cubes together.” Or “Andrew Luck once grew three Amish beards before halftime.” Or “Andrew Luck knows the last digit of pi.” Or “Superman wears Andrew Luck pajamas.” Or “Andrew Luck had his head ripped off by JJ Watt, then thanked the guy and apologized for bleeding on the field before his headless body beat the Texans 49-10.” Seriously, though, we are super-mega-uber happy that Tamika Catchings made this particular podium. She was, is and will always be awesome (as is our cover fella, multiple Best-Of-medalist Numero Dos). 2nd: Pat McAfee 3rd: Tamika Catchings BEST LOCAL BIKE TRAIL THE MONON TRAIL AND GREENWAY

Man, we do love the Monon, especially now that breweries seem to be popping up on the trail EVERY QUARTER MILE. It’s leafy, it’s fun, it’s flat, it’s just very pretty — and the thing keeps stretching ever northward into Westfield. It’s not just a recreational route, either — the thing has become a primary north/south trunk route for cycling commuters. And the greenway connects with many other trails in Indy and beyond. NOTE: When the weekend weather turns warm, there are walkers, inline skaters, mellow skateboarders and lots of families with little kids and dogs — this is NOT the place to be setting land speed records on your carbon-fiber racing bike. Don’t be a dick. 2nd: Indianapolis Cultural Trail 3rd: Fall Creek Trail BEST LOCAL OUTDOOR FESTIVAL CIRCLE CITY INDY PRIDE We’ve watched this day grow and grow, and we’ve watched the Cadillac Barbie Parade expand to include corporations of every size — including the big guns in Indy. Marriage equality is now the law of the land — but in Indiana, an employee can still be fired just because he or she is gay, lesbian, bisexual or identifies as someone whose gender is





followed by the Warning Belles and the Third Alarm. The punk rock vibe and outfits, the aliases of the athletes and the fact that it’s flat track derby (THEY COULD CRASH INTO THE SPECTATORS AT ANY SECOND) make for one helluva fun night. 2nd: B  utler Bulldogs (Men’s D1 NCAA Basketball) 3rd: IU Hoosiers (Men’s D1 NCAA Basketball)


simply fluid. That’s why this celebration of diversity is so important. 2nd: Irish Fest 3rd: Fountain Square Music Festival BEST NEW TREND IN INDY INDY WELCOMES ALL PENCE. MUST. GO. 2nd: Equality 3rd: Ndy Sculptures BEST UP-AND-COMING NEIGHBORHOOD FOUNTAIN SQUARE We know, we know: “Up-and-coming? Where’s everyone been?” From Radio Radio to the White Rabbit to that big ol’ beautiful theatre, from the Hoosier Dome to the Hi-Fi, from the Murphy to Wheeler Arts, from Fountain Square Brewery to New Day Meadery and a ton of amazing eateries — there’s too much food, drink, music and art (and duckpin bowling!) to cram into this little space. Mix in events like Tonic Ball and Art Squared, and well — got any condos for sale? 2nd: Irvington 3rd: SoBro


BEST HOUSE OF WORSHIP FIRST CHURCH OF CANNABIS “On the morning before Grand Poobah Levin’s first service, NO PARKING signs popped up around the church. The media trickled in: all the local TV stations, radio, the Associated Press, Al Jazeera. Two representatives from the police-monitoring activist group Cop Block turned up to videotape the police and ask questions. Roughly an hour before the scheduled start of the service, a service truck loaded with hard-hats and a cherry-picker began work on the utility pole that sat just across the street from the church’s front entrance. If there had been a problem in the neighborhood with, say, a transformer, the coincidence would’ve been suspicious. Some congregants speculated that the city planned on cutting power to the church. As the crew worked — rather quickly, it seemed — it soon became clear what they were doing. A surveillance camera had been installed on the pole the very day the Church began its worship services.” — NUVO, July 2, 2015 3400 S. Rural St., 986-6972,

BEST LOCAL PLACE TO VOLUNTEER BIG BROTHERS/BIG SISTERS OF CENTRAL INDIANA Just think about this: you volunteer with these folks, you’ll probably be mentoring a kid who needs the assist. You’re helping mold the next generation, who are going to have more problems to solve than we can even imagine — and, if you truly believe there’s no such thing as a wholly altruistic act, these are the people who’ll be taking care of us when we’re all old and decrepit. 2960 N. Meridian St., Ste. 150, 921-2201, 2nd: Second Helpings 3rd: Humane Society of Indianapolis BEST LOCAL CHARITABLE EVENT MUTT STRUT Last year it rained. Weather, of course, was NO MATCH for Indy’s intrepid four-legged furry heroes and their human pals. Several thousand peeps and pooches walked the Hoosier State’s most famous track, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, to raise

money for the Humane Society — just like they’ve done in years past and just like they’ll do in 2016. If your mutt’s not up for the full two-and-half-mile circuit, there’s a one-mile option and stroller and li’l red wagons are always allowed. Woof! 2nd: The Main Event (Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Central Indiana) 3rd: Tonic Ball


2nd: LifeJourney Church 3rd: St. Luke’s United Methodist Church

BEST LOCAL NON-PROFIT FACE LOW-COST SPAY/ NEUTER CLINIC The FACE — Foundation Against Companion-Animal Euthanasia — clinic was founded with a simple purpose: to lower the number of unwanted critters on the streets in Indy. If the numbers of kitties and pups they’ve served is any indication, the concept is wildly successful. The Clinic, which opened in March of 1999, performs more than 75 surgeries every day. 1505 Mass Ave., 638-3223, 2nd: B  ig Brothers/Big Sisters of Central Indiana 3rd: Humane Society of Indianapolis

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join us for the 69th Annual Historic

Irvington Halloween Festival OCTOBER 24TH 24TH-31ST 31ST

Thank you Indianapolis! Voted #1 Local Political Activist Paid for and authorized by the Adamson for Indy Committee



BEST LOCAL POLITICAL ACTIVISTS ZACH ADAMSON Adamson, the City-County Councilperson who had a very public same-sex wedding out of state before marriage equality became The Law Everywhere, also had a pretty interesting idea regarding the Harding Street coal plant: Adamson noted how the plume from the plant’s stacks affected neighborhoods in Indy, increasing asthma rates and the like — and how that plume lined up with where low-income families lived and the addresses of kids who were doing poorly in school. Adamson made it crystal clear that the plant was a public health problem. The very day Adamson was set to present his findings, it was announced that the Harding Street plant would switch to natural gas. 2nd: Freedom Indiana 3rd: Bill Levin BEST PROFESSIONAL NETWORKING GROUP INDYHUB We get that it’s important to make connections in the business universe: schmoozing can mean sales, job opportunities, profit-

3000 N. Meridian St., 334-4000, 2nd: Indianapolis Zoo 3rd: The Whistle Stop Ice Cream and More

Pat McAfee


able business connections — name it. But when we opened up the IndyHub website, we saw a blog post that opened with this graph: “The House Life Project (HLP), a local creative place-making collaborative, brings together artists, architects, and designers to discover the creative, civic, and social capital of individual vacant properties–offering new ways of seeing and experiencing vacant properties as community assets, rather than evidence of decay.” Yep, nurturing these kinds of projects to better one’s culture and community is another great reason to


Bill Levin

network. Right? In fact, the Hub’s mission statement reads: “Our mission is to attract, engage and motivate young professionals of all varieties to make Indianapolis an even greater place to live, work and play.” 2nd: JCI Indianapolis 3rd: FORTE BEST PLACE TO BRING YOUR RUGRATS THE CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF INDIANAPOLIS IT HAS DINOSAURS.

BEST LOCAL PERSONALITY YOU’D WANT AT YOUR NEXT DINNER PARTY PAT MCAFEE BRING ‘EM ALL for this category, we say. Nora could help cook the burgers (YES, SHE MAKES THEM AT THE RED KEY) while filling you in on everything you didn’t know about the State Fair, Patty could regale you with tales of Indy’s TV history (complete with a ribald joke or two) while Mr. McAfee hones his next standup set. The three of these around a table could be way more entertaining than ANY reality TV. 2nd: Nora Spitznogle 3rd: Patty Spitler BEST LOCAL PERSONALITY YOU’D WANT AT YOUR NEXT KEGGER PAT MCAFEE See previous entry. Add Dave and Bill. Stir. WOW. 2nd: Smiley 3rd: Bill Levin











Inside Neon Cornfield BY K A TH ERINE C O P L E N KCOPLEN@NUV O . N ET


eon Cornfield started for me while I was still in school,” says Neon Cornfield owner and operator Mike Champlin. “A teacher of mine, Al Stone, noticed I had an interest in sound and offered me a job in a recording studio. At 17 years old, that was about the most amazing thing that could possibly happen.” Young Champlin worked at the studio as a edit/dub engineer, where he said he had his own room and made copies ... “thousands of copies.” That Neon Cornfield, which primarily functioned as a jingle factory for commercials of the late ’70s, plus records like The Late Show’s Portable Pop, was long-closed in the early ’90s when Champlin returned home from many years on the road with Schoolboy Crush. “I told the guys that I needed to stay home and take care of ‘home’ for a while,” Champlin says. “My best friend Jeff Frazier, longtime

lead guitarist for Pure Gold, and I started a studio. We called it ReelTime Studios, kind of a play on words as we still used ‘reels’ of tape back then. We had great success recording demos for local bands like Pale, The Splatter Monkeys, The Lucas Brothers, F8*38, Splurge, Donnie Clark and other artists in the early ‘90s. We even recorded some tunes that Duke Tumatoe used on a weekly Bob and Tom radio show called ‘Crazy ’bout the NFL.’ ” A few years and career changes later, Champlin dumped the tapes and decided to open a brand new studio outside Indy in Martinsville, in the “middle of nowhere,” he says. It was, delightfully, surrounded by cornfields. “I couldn’t think of a better or more fitting name for this place,” he says, “and Neon Cornfield was born again, on a beautiful piece of property in Martinsville, Indiana it is truly ‘Where State-of-the Art Meets the Country.’ ” Champlin’s studio is almost eight years old now, and he’s kept very


busy making demos with bands like The Bishops, Jambox (see page 28 for more on Jambox), 3rd Generation, Project 19 and The Big Time. He also was asked to record a song for nonprofit The Prevention of Child Abuse. Champlin: “This song titled ‘Stop the Hurt’ was written by the incredibly talented Rhonda Collins. Thanks to Rhonda, we were able to ‘borrow’ some children from the Indianapolis Children’s Choir. You haven’t lived until you’ve stood in a control room full of crying parents. They were so proud.” Expect full-lengths from Lindsey McKenzie, The Damn Nears, Natalie Coffin and The Rehab AllStars. For now, Champlin’s happy to just keep working. “I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings,” he says. “For a little place that only operates part time, it has brought a lot of happiness to me, and everyone that I have had the privilege to work with ... and a lot of amazing music.” l

BEST LOCAL OVERALL ARTIST/GROUP BIZARRE NOIR The best thing about being a band labeled “different” is being such a band and still finding a dedicated fan base. Bizarre Noir’s visually inventive, ever-growing live stage show is a big part of what has continued to attract those fans, giving Bizarre Noir a leg up on the competition when it came to Best of Indy voting this year. “We think of our stage show as a way to tell a story and be visually entertaining at the same time,” says Bizarre Noir’s singer Chris Charles. “Our local fans have been very helpful in the voting, creating a snowball effect. It turns out there are a lot more weirdos out there than we’d thought!” /BizarreNoir 2nd: Russ Baum and Huck Finn 3rd: Audiodacity BEST LOCAL ROCK BIZARRE NOIR ... And part of being Indianapolis’ best oddball band is being able to find your way onto stages where you’ll win over entirely new audiences. “Considering we’re not a “Punk” band it was hard to get on that [Punk Rock Night] bill, but we had a lot of support,” Chris Charles tells us. “Our friend Jon Shepler (Shipwreck Shep of Chopped Liver) was like, ‘These guys do their own thing and don’t give a fuck what anyone else thinks. If that’s not punk rock I don’t know what is!’ So we got our foot in the door.” And PRN fans got one of their best “what the fuck was that?” moments of 2015. All good! 2nd: American Bombshell 3rd: Veseria BEST LOCAL METAL BIZARRE NOIR ... Because one thing Indianapolis knows these days is metal and where to see it live. Less common is what Bizarre Noir brings to the table. “We’ve been bringing sideshows and circuses to Indy, and it can be tricky booking these types of acts from out of state,” says Chris Charles. Having help from a venue gives us the confidence we need to be ambitious. The 5th Quarter (winner, Best Small Venue) is the perfect backdrop for 21+ parties and we’ve had a ton of fun working with other local sponsors like The Do It Indy Radio hour & Re-Generation Indy to put together family-friendly shows at the Grove Haus.” 2nd: Join The Dead 3rd: Catalytic

they’re doing something right. /russandhuck 2nd: Rural Route 3 3rd: Megan Maudlin

BEST LOCAL FOLK/COUNTRY RUSS BAUM AND HUCK FINN When we saw Russ Baum and Huck Finn live at the Melody Inn for the first time, we were surprised by just how many songs they played in quick succession. “That’s kind of our thing,” Russ explains of their musical marathon method. “Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad for us, because it’ll wear a crowd out and whenever we do finish they’re not prepared to clap or even know we’re really done when we’ve gone forty minutes without a break. So every once in a while we’ll break it up so they have a chance to figure out what they like or don’t like.” Judging by the 180-plus shows they’ve played this year alone, audiences must agree

BEST LOCAL PUNK/HARDCORE GAY BLACK REPUBLICAN Is it because the Republican primary debates are a total shitshow? Do you already have election fatigue? Or do you just love the political punk of Gay Black Republican, your favorite local Punk/Hardcore band in all of Indy in 2011, 2012 and 2013. After additions like new drummer Vic Cardoza and fill-in vocalist Benny No-Good, Gay Black Republican made its way back to the top of the heap in 2015, and just in the nick of time. We need you guys before the 2016 election. 2nd: Harley Poe 3rd: Mr. Clit and The Pink Cigarettes

Shiny Penny


BEST NEW ALBUM (AFTER JAN.2014) BIZARRE NOIR – BEDTIME STORIES Considering how Bizarre Noir’s Bedtime Stories came to exist, it isn’t difficult to understand just how the groundswell built into the band winning Best New Album. A successful Kickstarter campaign last year raised the $1,400-plus required to record and release the album, and Chris Charles says the fans have been critical throughout the process. “We’ve received support from our fans overseas and across the country,” he tells NUVO. “Our music seems to fill a void for people who are hungry for something different and original. When you’re done listening to our music or you see a show, it sticks with you and you want to experience it again.” 2nd: Russ Baum and Huck Finn – Fricke 3rd: Rural Route 3 – Hillbillies n Hippies

BEST LOCAL POP SHINY PENNY The first time we saw Shiny Penny (then named Shiny Penny and The Critical Shoes), they were totally obliterating the competition at a Battle of the Bands at the now-closed Daddy Real’s The Place. We’re not sure what happened to Daddy Real’s, but Shiny Penny thankfully survived – and thrived. They’re releasing a brand new album called Wait, Don’t Hold (just nine months after the release of Open Out) and setting off on a long tour across the Midwest and into Texas. This killer live band earned their spot at the top of the pack honest. 2nd: Against The Clocks 3rd: Zanna-Doo




BEST LOCAL HIP-HOP MC OREO JONES What a year for Oreo Jones. After putting finishing touches on records from both his solo rap project and new band White Moms (both to come later this year), plus participating in several jaunts down south on tour with Ghost Gun Summer, plus weekly Sunday shows on air at Alt1033 with NUVO music editor Katherine Coplen, Jones also found time to put together Chreece, a huge hip-hop festival that took over five venues in Fountain Square. We can’t wait to see what comes next. 2nd: Heat Myzer 3rd: Sirius Blvck



BEST LOCAL BLUES ANDRA FAYE AND SCOTT BALLANTINE On their Facebook profile, Scott Ballantine writes, “Andra Faye and I started our musical partnership at the Corner Wine Bar in Broad Ripple about three and a half years ago.” An auspicious place for a musical partnership of such talent to begin, indeed – only good things begin over wine. The result of that partnership is the delightful LP Coulda Woulda Shoulda, which covers everything from ‘40s country blues and to boogie. Guitarist Ballantine and mandolin/vocalist/ fiddle player Faye make magic together – yes, blues, but also jazz and country, too. They play out often, and you’ve got no excuse to not go out and enjoy. /andraandscott 2nd: Kyle Bledsoe 3rd: Gypsy Moonshine BEST LOCAL JAZZ CHARLIE BALLANTINE Recognize that last name? Yup, Charlie is son of Scott, and a guitar wizard in his own right. His debut album Green brought Ballantine to stages all over Indy (great news for us, as he was based out of Bloomington while studying jazz studies at the Jacobs School for many years), perhaps most frequently as with the Charlie Ballantine Trio. He cites influences like Wes Montgomery, John Scofield, and Bill Frisell – all great jazz guitar influences for an up-and-coming jazz guitarist, who takes top honors this year as your favorite local jazz performer (no small potatoes in a jazz town like ours!). 2nd: Jared Thompson and Premium Blend 3rd: Jeff DeHerdt

Oreo Jones


BEST LOCAL SOUL/R&B BASHIRI ASAD Bashiri Asad has paid his dues in Indianapolis. Over the past few years the singer has been a regular fixture in clubs across the city, as both a solo artist and as lead vocalist for Xenobia Green. No stage has been too big or small for the singer. You might catch Asad playing an intimate gig at the Chatterbox, or spot him opening for Musiq Soulchild at the Vogue. Either way, it’s Asad’s ability to maintain a consistent level of excellence in all projects, combined with his devotion to classic R&B sounds, that have earned him a position as one of the preeminent voices of soul music in Indy. 2nd: Audiodacity 3rd: London Rose BEST COVER BAND JAMBOX This is a town that loves its classic rock cover bands, and out of all of the classic rock cover bands in all the land, you love Jambox most of all. Is it their cover of “Tom Sawyer” that hooked you? “Dream Police?” “Just What I Needed?” Honestly, you don’t have to pick. Jambox does it all. They’ve got sets booked at That Place, Ziggy’s, Doghouse, Drifty’s and Southport Bar and Grill in the next few weeks.

2nd: V  eseria – “She Called Me H**sier” 3rd: Gypsy Moonshine – “Streetlight”

BEST LOCAL VOCALIST ERIC ROZENS No surprise that your favorite local vocalist fronts one of your favorite local bands – in this case, Eric Rozens from Best Cover Band Jambox. We always like to give cover band singers their due, ‘cause it takes major pipes to land the vocals of everyone from Axl Rose to Steve Perry. 2nd: Chris Charles 3rd: Dustin Strole

BEST LOCAL RECORDING STUDIO NEON CORNFIELD See our feature on page 26. 2nd: Shine Indy Studios 3rd: Wes DeBoy Recording

BEST INSTRUMENT/GEAR SHOP SAM ASH Here’s the exception: Yeah, we know it’s not local, but the selection’s really, really broad – and you’re bound to run into a Central Indiana musician trying to make ends meet by working the counters in the daylight hours. They offer workshops, lessons and repair, and you’re allowed to play Stairway. Sam Ash also sponsors beaucoup local small stages, like Joyful Noise Recordings and festivals like Chreece. Thanks for the support of local music, Sam Ash! 8284 Center Run Drive, 577-3006, 2nd: Arthur’s Music 3rd: Reno Music BEST NEW LOCAL MUSIC VIDEO (AFTER JANUARY 2014) FIVE YEAR MISSION — “(FOR HIS HEAD IS HOLLOW AND I HAVE TOUCHED) SPOCK’S BRAIN” Black, white and spooky all over, this Star Trek-themed song by a Star Trek-themed band delivers in all the ways you want. It’s from the band’s newest (also called Spock’s Brain). We won’t say much more, because we really want you to watch it for yourself.

Fountain Square Music Festival


BEST LOCAL LABEL SHINE INDY We’ve said it for a couple of years now. Shine Indy is all over the place. Literally, like, all over Indy. Also all over every aspect of the music scene: producing records, planning shows, sponsoring concerts, putting together marketing, media and design packages for bands staging large projects like Release Fest at the Vogue. They’re a label in the most modern of senses: a multi-faceted, constantly evolving team of dedicated music lovers who help local bands get a leg up by getting their music out there. 2nd: DurtiMyndz Entertainment 3rd: Joyful Noise Recordings

It’s a shame that

An Enormous “Best Place To Get reakfast At 3 a.m.” Plate of Delicions B

isn’t a category.


America’s diner is always open.

BEST MUSIC PRODUCER RYAN GIBBONS Like we said, Shine Indy is all over the place. And producer Ryan Gibbons, who takes top honors in NUVO’s first-ever Best Music Producer category, helps put together the releases on the Shine Indy label by bands who frequently play the Shine Indy shows. Gibbons first began recording bands in his own living room, then moved to Azmyth Recording Studios, where he’s worked on tons of local albums. The best way to sample Gibbon’s work is to pop in Shine Indy: Vol. 1, a sampler of tracks by local musicians recorded, mixed and mastered by Gibbons. 2nd: Mandog (Nicholas Smith) 3rd: Eric Johnson BEST LOCAL FESTIVAL FOUNTAIN SQUARE MUSIC FESTIVAL Here’s what success is: throw an inaugural street fest on the Fourth of July. Then throw a longer festival on the Fourth of July. Then, the next year (this one) SUPERSIZE IT. That’s what Fountain Square Music Fest did for its third year, and it was by all accounts a great choice. All kinds of venues and promoters around the Square jumped in for four days 100% RECYCLED PAPER // NUVO // 2015 // BESTOFINDY 29



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of partying, closed out by a megafest all day long outside. We can’t wait to see what Fountain Square Music Festival next year. 2nd: Kammy’s Kause 3rd: WARMfest BEST LOCAL DJ DJ ACTION JACKSON Ben Jackson: Label dude, party motivator, and killer DJ. His parties are two things: 1) always bangin’ and 2) all over the city – check him out at the Hi-Fi for Night Train, at White Rabbit Cabaret for Real Talk, at Tiki Bob’s for Wr3ckd, plus all sorts of other places (including regular trips out of state, too). 2nd: Rusty Redenbacher 3rd: Matt Allen BEST SMALL VENUE FOR LIVE MUSIC THE 5TH QUARTER LOUNGE It’s been a big year for the 5th Quarter Lounge, which takes over what was formerly called Indy’s Jukebox. It’s a weird venue, which, it’s been noted, looks more like a church or old schoolhouse than an music hotspot, and one that includes a gym upstairs. But it is a live music hotspot! One that leans toward metal and punk shows. The bartenders are kind and the promoters are on point – this is one weird-looking gym/music venue worth your time. 306 Prospect St., 317-636-6628, /fifthquarterindy 2nd: Radio Radio 3rd: The Hi-Fi BEST BIG VENUE FOR LIVE MUSIC THE VOGUE There’s been a couple of infrastructural changes at The Vogue – their exclusive booking agreement with House of Blues, for one – but nothing has really changed inside the building in a hot minute which is a GOOD thing, because the Vogue has been a great place to go see live music for a long, long time. Punk, rock, EDM, folk and indie heavy-hitters take the wide stage regularly, which can be taken in from sweet spots upstairs, downstairs, on the raised middle level and through peek-aboo spots on the sides. Security is always cool, bartenders are speedy, and that House of Blues contract means the acts on the calendar are even bigger. 6259 N. College Ave., 317-259-7029,


2nd: The Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park 3rd: Klipsch Music Center BEST ALL-AGES VENUE THE FARM BUREAU INSURANCE LAWN AT WHITE RIVER STATE PARK We’re sad another concert season at the unbeatable Lawn at White River State Park has passed (although they wrapped it up with a killer double weekend bill of Alt-J and Twenty One Pilots). Why are we sad? Because this venue is unbeatable in the summer. Not only is the outdoor stage the perfect place for a warm weather show with a festival-feel, but the shows are all-ages at the White River Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn! There’s nothing worse than missing your favorite band because you’re not 21, but you’ll never have to worry about that at this unbeatable concert location. Bring your blanket and spread out — it’s gonna be a good night. 801 W. Washington St., 800-665-9056, 2nd: Grove Haus 3rd: Emerson Theater BEST EDM MUSIC VENUE TALBOTT STREET EDM is kind of a nebulous term, but one that we employ frequently and with wild abandon. Basically, we think this means you like to go dancing at Talbott Street because they bring in some of the hottest DJs and producers from across the nation to spin

The Alley Cat’s alley entrance


BEST PUNK MUSIC VENUE MELODY INN Hats off to everyone who runs the Melody Inn, a.k.a. NUVO’s Cheers (it’s right across the street from our office, and we couldn’t be happier). And good luck finding a place better suited to local punks than the Melody Inn. Every Saturday, they host Punk Rock Night, and for many, many years in a row, NUVO readers have named it their favorite spot to listen to punk music – although the adventurous bookers get into all kinds of other genres, too. The stage setup is great for getting close to the bands, and the small bar scene is full of music mementos and wacky decorations. Melody Inn’s commitment to the local music scene and selfexpression draws a nonconformist crowd that likes to hang here, and recently a few dance nights have been retooled to feature stuff like drum and bass. Take a break in the PBR Lounge or out on their chill back patio. 3826 N. Illinois St., 923-4707, 2nd: The 5th Quarter Lounge 3rd: Emerson Theater BEST OPEN MIC NIGHT NIKO’S OPEN STAGE AT CLAUDE & ANNIE’S All kinds of performers can get onstage at Niko’s Open Stage and Free 4 All Jam. Yup, that means singer-songwriters, kids with guitars they got for Christmas, comedians, magicians, and any one else who has a trick, tip or song to share. After the open micers

Various locations, 2nd: Kilroy’s 3rd: Ale Emporium

Kristen Pugh and Alex Wisemuller at Indy CD and Vinyl

wile away their 20-30 minutes apiece, the stage is open for an improv jam. You picked it as your favorite place to open mic in all of Indy – and that’s saying something, because this city is chockfull of open micers. Wednesdays at Claude and Annie’s, 9251 E. 141st St., 317-774-8124, 2nd: The Slippery Noodle 3rd: Books and Brews BEST KARAOKE BAR MONKEY’S TALE The Monkey’s Tale loves to tout that they were featured as NUVO’s number one place to sing in Indianapolis the last time we went around and quantified the karaoke scene. And they’ve done it again! They’re definitely the coziest, tucked away off the main Broad Ripple strip, and they attract a lively crowd of Indy’s best singers. Their Monkey Idol contest is still in full swing, where for a $3 entry you can slug it out to win $100 and an entry for the February Main Event contest worth $1,000. But bring your A-game, because the singers here come to play. If contests


aren’t your thing, they have open karaoke on Thursday, Friday and Sunday, along with Karaoke Wheel of Fortune on Wednesdays: Spin the wheel, find your genre! Drinks are reasonably priced by Broad Ripple standards, and they have daily drink specials. Most nights start at 10 p.m., and they stay open well into the wee hours. 925 E. Westfield Blvd., 253-2883, 2nd: Claude and Annie’s 3rd: Downtown Olly’s BEST SPORTS BAR SCOTTY’S BREWHOUSE All hail Scotty’s, now dotted and speckled all over Central Indiana. Our favorite place to experience the Scotty’s magic is at their Downtown Indy location, just steps from Bankers Life Fieldhouse and Lucas Oil Stadium. No tix to the game? There’s plenty of other Scotty’s to pop into, in Brownsburg, Carmel, Muncie, Fort Wayne, Franklin, Bloomington ... you see where we’re going with this. The menu is extensive and the TVs are giant: what more can you ask for in your sports bar?

BEST DIVE BAR THE 5TH QUARTER LOUNGE Unseating perennial favorites like the Alley Cat and The Melody Inn, the 5th Quarter Lounge (formerly Indy’s Jukebox) rumbles into the dive bar ring and takes a win! What exactly constitutes a dive bar we’re not exactly sure of anymore: we just know you can dive into some great metal and punk music at 5th Quarter. 306 E. Prospect St., 317-333-4257, /FifthQuarterIndy 2nd: Alley Cat Lounge 3rd: The Melody Inn BEST BAR TO GET LUCKY ALLEY CAT LOUNGE Want to put your face on someone else’s face? Want to put your face on a stranger’s face? Want to put your face on the face of someone you saw dancing at the Vogue, or Casba or Mineshaft or somewhere else on the Ave? You know where to go. It’s Alley Cat, baby. Load up the jukebox and your cup and find somebody good-lookin’ tonight. 6267 Carrollton Ave., 257-4036 2nd: White Rabbit Cabaret 3rd: Talbott Street BEST LGBTQ CLUB/BAR TALBOTT STREET Hats off to Indy’s LGBTQ community and allies for the mega response to the disastrous RFRA debacle earlier this year. Now, it’s time to dance. Your favorite LGBTQ Club/ Bar is once again Talbott Street – and for good reason. This club is killer. Come for the drag, stay for the DJs, drinks and debauchery. We love you, Talbott Street.



regularly on their stage. We can debate the meaning of the genre tag EDM later – for now, let’s dance. 2145 N. Talbott St., 931-1343, 2nd: The Vogue 3rd: The Mousetrap


NeedtoBreathe plays at the Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park

2145 N. Talbott St., 931-1343, 2nd: Metro 3rd: Tini BEST TRIVIA NIGHT RED LION GROG HOUSE Scotch egg, anyone? They offer the very best in Ole’ English cuisine and live entertainment at The Red Lion Grog House. Don’t miss the trivia nights on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and they’ve got an open stage on Wednesday hosted by Chris McShay. And in case you were wondering, the word “grog” means a drink comprised of watered beer and rum. And yes, they’re on the menu. 1043 Virginia Ave., Ste. 6, 822-4764, 2nd: Books and Brews 3rd: That Place Bar and Grill in Greenwood BEST PLACE FOR DANCING TALBOTT STREET We spent New Year’s Eve twirling around on Talbott Street’s dance floor to the dulcet tones of Beyonce, and it was, bar none, the best thing ever. It’s once again Indy’s favorite place to go dancing. It’s amazing how it stays perennially so great – basically any night of the week – to go and kick up your heels. 2145 N. Talbott St., 931-1343, 2nd: Ike and Jonesy’s 3rd: White Rabbit Cabaret 32 BESTOFINDY // 2015 // NUVO // 100% RECYCLED PAPER


BEST PLACE FOR A LAP DANCE BRAD’S BRASS FLAMINGO Unseating PT’s Showclub for a win in their category is reliable Brad’s and their awesome patio. More than a hundred beautiful dancers take the stage at Brad’s, which also hosts a lot of charity fundraisers throughout the year, including a yearly MS campaign. And load your pockets full of skrilla, friends, cause we’re getting STEAKS and WRAPS and SANDWICHES and PIZZA and lots and lots of beer from their bottoms up beer dispenser. Brad’’s also apparently the Official Stripclub of the Hammer and Nigel Show. Hey, if it’s good enough for Hammer and Nigel, it’s good enough for us. 4011 Southeastern Ave., 317-356-9668, bradsbrassflamingo 2nd: Dancer’s Showclub 3rd: Red Garter BEST MARTINI BAR NICKY BLAINE’S COCKTAIL LOUNGE There’s something delightfully throwback about this martini and cigar bar. It’s still a favorite among the downtown suit-and-tie set, and it also makes a fun after party location for a night at the symphony. Of course, the real draw is for those who like to puff on a fat cigar, which you can still do at this underground bar. 20 N. Meridian St., 638-5588, 2nd: Ball and Biscuit 3rd: Tini

BEST CIGAR/HOOKAH BAR THE EGYPTIAN This place is the definition of a very loud, very chill place. Maybe it’s all the deep breathing with the hookah, but even when the music is thrumming, the vibe is relaxed. They card you whether you’re drinking or not, so don’t forget your ID when you go here, even if you “look old enough.” 6265 Carrollton Ave., 255-4400, 2nd: Nicky Blaine’s Cocktail Lounge 3rd: Bu Da Lounge

BEST BARTENDERS SCOTTY’S BREWHOUSE No matter if you’re going because you want a cocktail or a beer, they can hook you up right. Even when it’s packed on a game night downtown, the Scotty’s bartenders can more than keep up. 1 Virginia Ave., 571-0808, 2nd: Alley Cat Lounge 3rd: Melody Inn BEST PUB FOOD MANLEY’S IRISH MUTT Yes! Manley’s wins this category again, and it’s because they serve good pub food like steaks and potatoes for not too much money. Personally, I think their all-beef, piled high hot dogs really shine, but I’m way too into cured meats. 7041 10th St., 351-0009 2nd: Scotty’s Brewhouse 3rd: Ale Emporium Keep an eye on our Arts & Entertainment coverage at

3826 N. ILLINOIS ST. INDPLS, IN 46208 317-923-4707 &







BEST TEQUILA BAR REVOLUCION You can get your margarita made spicy, or you can get a shot of tequila and a beer for a couple of bucks. They just want you to have a good time. However, walk into the back tiki bar for a truly otherwordly experience, then enjoy a healthy swig of fine tequila when you’re done being enchanted by the fake swaying palms. 1132 Prospect St., 423-9490 2nd: La Margarita 3rd: Adobo

BEST LOCAL LIQUOR/WINE STORE KAHN’S FINE WINES & SPIRITS SUPERSTORE No matter what you want to know about wine, beer or liquor, someone at Kahn’s can tell you about it. These aren’t your average liquor store workers. Kahn’s employees are deep into the drinking arts and really know what they’re talking about. If you need suggestions for home bar additions, how to store open wine, or you want to go to a liquor tasting, Kahn’s does all of that. 5341 N. Keystone Ave., 251-9463, 2nd: Big Red 3rd: Mass Ave Wine Shop




BEST LOCAL FARM-TO-FORK GROCER/MERCHANT GOOSE THE MARKET Meat. Sausage. Cheese. Gelato. Coffee. Produce. Foraged foods. Rare grains. Small batch dairy. Artisan spreads. Beer. Wine. Go there. 2503 N. Delaware St., 924-4944, 2nd: Pogue’s Run Grocer 3rd: Traders Point Creamery

The place to buy a bike in Irvington.



CS is just a very cool shop in a very cool neighborhood. Scott Irons, the ponytailed brains behind the operation, is an Irvington native who moved to California to become a sound engineer, but the career path didn’t fit. “I was kind of turned off by the music industry,” says Irons. “You’re never home. You’re always touring — and when you do have an address, it’s got to be either New York or L.A.” Irons rode a lot while he was taking classes at the Dick Grove School of Music, so when he decided to come back to the old neighborhood, he looked around and realized that most bike shops didn’t have what he needed — especially on the East side of Indy. In 1993, he opened ICS in a house, but shortly moved to the current Jockamo’s Pizza location before expanding into the old furniture


store a few hundred feet to the east. The store — an old Richard Bennett furniture outlet that moved its operations to the ‘burbs — had the space Irons and company needed. ICS is expansive — and when you stroll through the massive displays of Giant, Salsa, Felt, Surly and other makes, remember: there’s an equal amount of square footage beneath your feet. The basement of Irons’ shop is loaded with ready-built bikes perched on the old risers that once displayed bedroom suites. The cellar also houses Irons’ collection of vintage kids’ Schwinns, which will bring back a flood of memories to anyone who ever owned a Stingray with a shifting knob, a sissy bar, banana seat and apehanger handlebars ... excuse me. I have something in my eye. SNIFF. Where were we? Oh, right — the shop’s got the same vibe as its owner: mellow, easygoing, ready to


converse and talk two-wheeled shop without any pressure. Irons and his staff know their stuff: if you’re into BMX gear or if you want to know why people rave about Surly Long Haul Truckers, someone at ICS is happy to simply chat. The service department’s right on the main floor, and there’s a large selection of accessories, parts and bikespecific clothing. The store’s got a real mom-and-pop feel to it — it’s an atmosphere Irons conveys when he talks warmly about Irvington: “It’s quiet, the streets are nice, lots of trees, close to Downtown ...” You understand why the guy couldn’t bring himself to leave. He’s also got the same knack for anecdotes about Irvington as most of its other residents: “You know why all the streets are so curvy? They designed it like that so guys on horseback who’d been drinking couldn’t pick up too much speed!” l

BEST LOCAL DONUT AND/OR BAKE SHOP LONG’S BAKERY We’re only going to say these two things: yes, they really are that good, and this location is STILL CASH ONLY. Don’t sleep on that part when that Long’s craving comes on so strong. 2300 W. 16th St., 632-3741 2nd: Jack’s Donuts 3rd: Rocket 88 Donuts BEST LOCAL CUPCAKES THE FLYING CUPCAKE They’ve been in the game too long to let anyone else take over. If you’ve lived in Indy more than two years, you’ve probably eaten a Flying Cupcake, and it’s probably been a red velvet cupcake. That’s because these cupcakes are incredible, and now they come to you by way of the Best of-winning food truck. 423 Massachusetts Ave., 396-2696, 2nd: Gigi’s 3rd: The Cake Bake Shop BEST LOCAL BOOKSTORE INDY READS BOOKS Located on Mass Ave the bookstore is not only a great space for a variety of local author lectures and events, it’s a source of

BEST LOCAL RECORD STORE INDY CD AND VINYL Andy Skinner, Annie Skinner and Eric Davis mark another year as successful new owners of Broad Ripple record hotspot Indy CD and Vinyl. Last year’s renovation gave the joint a facelift, and the new owners have kept it a destination spot with plenty of in-store performances and special events and promotions. Their vinyl buyers are super knowledgeable and easy to talk to, plus they’ve got tons of local stuff on offer scattered throughout the stacks. Long live local record stores! 806 Broad Ripple Ave., 259-1012, 2nd: LUNA Music 3rd: Irvington Vinyl BEST LOCAL FLORIST MCNAMARA’S You know McNamara’s well, and you’ve seen their prolific blooms around town. They’re perhaps best known for festooning the ISO stage with blooms for the Gala and having a formidable bridal flowers game. They’re another one of our big little companies on this list, having long ago dominated the local market. No matter what occasion you need flowers for, McNamara has you covered with something modern and classy. Multiple locations, 2nd: Watts Blooming 3rd: Gillespie Florists BEST LOCAL GIFT/HOME STORE SILVER IN THE CITY This little jewel box of a gift joint features much more than just silver (although, damn,

they have a lot of silver). It’s your one-stop shop for something funky (hanging photo stands galore), freaky (bacon scented lip gloss) and functional (all kinds of kitchen tools) for whatever woman, man, child, dog, friend, foe or other human or beastly entity in your life may need a gift. Get in the car. We’re going shopping. 434 Massachusetts Ave., 955-9925, 2nd: Homespun 3rd: Finer Things


revenue for the not-for-profit educational branch. The bookstore itself has hosted events surrounding John Green to the history of Indiana’s transgender population. The organization holds adult literacy classes — focusing on those at or below a sixth grade reading level. They also recently collected books to be part of an installation by Richard Wentworth at the IMA. Most of the books in the shop are used and donated. If you are cleaning out your library, those titles can do a world of good here. 911 Massachusetts Ave., Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Friday – Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday noon-6 p.m. 317-384-1496, 2nd: Books and Brews 3rd: Bookmamas

BEST LOCAL BIKE STORE INDY CYCLE SPECIALIST See our feature on page 34. 5804 E. Washington St., 356-4585, 2nd: BGI North 3rd: Bicycle Exchange BEST LOCAL BANK/CREDIT UNION INDIANA MEMBERS CREDIT UNION Turns out NUVO readers like credit unions WAY better than banks. IMCU offers free checking options, business banking (with 800-plus commercial customers) and several dozen brick-and-mortar locations. Like the other credit unions in the category, they’ve got a full line of loan, mortgage and investment services, too. Various locations, 800-556-9268, 2nd: TCU 3rd: Forum Credit Union BEST LOCAL NEW AUTO DEALER BUTLER HYUNDAI This fairly new addition to the Fishers’ already-saturated new-car marketplace, this well-known local name in the auto biz sells the South Korean nameplate that’s spent the last decade-and-a-half becoming one of the biggest auto manufacturers in the world — mainly because they’ve spent a lot of their efforts focusing on the quality of the product. Butler’s site has a special section devoted to cars under $15,000, and some of the smaller models get insanely good gas mileage. 4200 E. 96th St., 848-4200, 2nd: Butler Toyota Scion 3rd: Andy Mohr Chevrolet BEST LOCAL BARBER OR PLACE FOR A MEN’S CUT URBAN GYPSY 100% RECYCLED PAPER // NUVO // 2015 // BESTOFINDY 35


2009* - 2010* - 2011 - 2012* - 2013* - 2014 - 2015


5731 E. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46219 317-356-2611 Salon Hours: Monday: 4-8 • Tuesday: 11-8 • Wednesday-Friday: 10-8 • Saturday: 10-6

* Voted #1 Best Local Hair Salon

2009* - 2010* - 2011 - 2012* - 2013* - 2014 - 2015

Thank you NUVO readers! (You must think we’re pretty HOT.)

Urban Gypsy, a Broad Ripple institution, offers a wide range of grooming services for both dudes and dudettes, including (gulp) hair removal via (gulp gulp) hot wax for all genders. OK. Whatever floats your boat. Full disclosure: until Your Humble Best Of Blurber looked at the site, he always assumed that when the words “Brazillian” and “men” occurred in the same sentence, it was a reference to IndyCar drivers or futbol. Oh, the things we learn. Kidding aside, the Gypsy gets some great reviews — and FOUR top spots in NUVO’s Best Of Indy to boot. Keep readin’. 6407 Ferguson St., 259-1788, 2nd: Vinny’s Barbershop 3rd: Red’s BEST LOCAL HAIR SALON URBAN GYPSY Once again, our Broad Ripple friends have captured this category and come out victorious in the coiffure game. Whether you just need your ends dusted or you want a total makeover, you can get your new look here. It’s a cute little shop set up in an old house on Ferguson, so you can stop by at the end of your lunch or walk on the Monon. 6407 Ferguson St., 259-1788, 2nd: The Vault Beech Grove 3rd: Snips BEST LOCAL SPA URBAN GYPSY Wow. Another win! As we’ve mentioned, not only can you score an excellent haircut at this joint, you can also get a killer massage and wax yourself smooth and hairless at this place. They do a great job on, ahem, personal waxes, and will make you feel comfortable no matter that you’re there for. 6407 Ferguson St., 317-259-1788, 2nd: Specific Kneads Massage 3rd: The Naked Monkey

Hot Yoga. Hot Pilates. Hot Boutique. Uptown Studio 3855 E 96th Street 317.218.3728

Our Downtown studio is now open!! 305 East New York Street Indianapolis 46204 36 BESTOFINDY // 2015 // NUVO // 100% RECYCLED PAPER

BEST LOCAL CLOTHING STORE FOR WOMEN URBAN GYPSY Intriguing choice for this year’s Best Local Clothing Store for Women winner this year, Indianapolis! When we think Urban Gypsy, we don’t necessarily first thing clothes – it is, after all, first and foremost a full service salon and spa. But they also have comfy, stylish clothes and jewelry on offer for those looking to do a little shopping before

The man behind James Dant


their eyebrow wax, including items from Mono Reno, Pol Clothing International, T Party, Survival, Urban Day, Ya k and Yeti, plus original designs by Urban Gypsy. Basically, if you want to get totally beautiful, from hair, skin and nails to bags and clothing, Urban Gypsy is your place. 6407 Ferguson St., 317-259-1788, 2nd: Marigold Clothing 3rd: Izzy & Es BEST LOCAL CLOTHING STORE FOR MEN JAMES DANT We dig the fact that this Irvington store is making it well past year one, since it’s hipper than just a place to buy shirts. As we mentioned in an extended feature in NUVO’s 2014 Best Of Indy issue, owner Tommy James Dant wanted to create a “lifestyle store,” a kind of general store for men: “Candles, soaps, lighters — I want to bring in anything; anything that was well-made.” Dant carries about 50 brands of clothing, shoes and so on. Dant looks for quality merchandise first. Once, when checking out a line of Japanese jackets, Dant realized the tags in the coats were made of the same tough material used to hold down flatbed loads — they’re called “toe straps.” “If they put that much detail into the tag, these coats have got to be made really well,” explains Dant. He tries to buy local whenever possible, too. 5624 E. Washington St., 974-9715,

BEST LOCAL VINTAGE CLOTHING STORE BROAD RIPPLE VINTAGE They seem to win every year probably since they do it right: the stuff is organized in a way that makes sense, and Vintage rock always seems to be playing in the background. (And let’s be honest — the location coupled with the outdoor displays of Cool Stuff ain’t hurtin’.) While we can’t guarantee you’ll find those cowboy boots, ripped 501 jeans or three-wolf-moon shirt in your perfect size, looking is half the fun, right? 824 E. 64th St., 255-4135, 2nd: Finer Things 3rd: General Public Collective BEST LOCAL GYM/FITNESS JOINT FORTITUDE FITNESS Owner Julia Myer’s bio clues us in as to why this joint probably took gold: she’s from New Yawk, New Yawk and was surprised at the cost of personal training in Indy when she moved here — in other words, fitness was

NYC pricey. Myer’s Fortitude Fitness attempts to rectify that, taking personal training out of the “luxury for the rich” category. 723 Broad Ripple Ave., 440-823-6636, 2nd: The Fitness Lab 3rd: Gym 41 BEST LOCAL YOGA STUDIO INVOKE Invoke wins again. Why? We’ll refer you to last year’s blurb: “As soon as you step inside Invoke’s clean, tranquil studios, the worries begin to sweat out of you. ... Both beginners and experts are welcome as Invoke offers classes from the basics to advanced vinyasa. And if you really want to step it up a notch, sweat like there’s no tomorrow and kick ass, they offer heated classes. Friendly, passionate, experienced instructors also make it hard to pick which class to sign up for, which seems to be a recurring problem – yet, a good one.” Namaste. 970 Fort Wayne Ave., 631-9642, 2nd: The Hot Room Indianapolis 3rd: City Yoga

fit body. calm mind. for every body. 317.631.9642 | Located Downtown and 86th & Ditch

“Thank you to all those who voted for me! I am truly humbled by you thinking I am #1. I will continue to work hard to meet or exceed your expectations now and in the future!”

Voted 2015 Best Local Yoga Studio by NUVO Readers

DAWN WHALEN, BROKER RE/MAX Results 48 N. Emerson Ave, #300, Greenwood, 46143 • 317-459-5182 cell • 317-807-1568 office 100% RECYCLED PAPER // NUVO // 2015 // BESTOFINDY 37


2nd: Righno Boutique 3rd: Toolbox Men’s Supply Company


Dr. Antonio Turner

t Gym!

Thanks to our amazing clients for making us Indy’s Bes


BEST LOCAL ATTORNEY HARVEY L. LANCASTER (STEWART AND STEWART) Things to know about this medical malpractice attorney: He’s young: he started out with the Stewarts as a law clerk and joined as an attorney in the spring of last year. He’s local: Harvey went to IU and the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Here are the best parts of his online bio, though, in our estimation: “Harvey also assists the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic Expungement Helpdesk in Indianapolis and protects the best interests of local children as a Guardian ad Litem for juvenile delinquency cases.” Multiple Indiana offices, 800-33-33-LAW, 2nd: Jeff Heinzmann 3rd: Edward A McDonald BEST LOCAL REALTOR DAWN WHALEN This Remax rep is another Beech Grover who works out of the Greenwood offices. Whalen was a photographer before she hung out her Realtor’s shingle in 2006. If there’s one thing your Faithful Best Of Indy Blurb Writer knows, it’s that a good-lookin’ online gallery of the place you’re selling is incredibly helpful. 2nd: Will Lonneman 3rd: Mike Perron BEST LOCAL DENTIST DR. JAMES M. SOUERS Beech Grove represents! Online reviews of


the doc run through all the terms you hope you see when you hit the chair: “gentle,” “kind,” “patient.” Although consistent winner Paul Kolman (The Rock and Roll Doc!) didn’t get the gold this year, a podium finish was nice to see in what amounted to a NUVO Best Of photo finish. 2nd: Dr Mark Shere 3rd: Dr. Paul Kolman BEST LOCAL DOCTOR DR. ANTONIO TURNER, ACUITY EYECARE AND EYEWARE When the votes came in for this category, we realized we hadn’t really narrowed things down (Family doc? Pediatrician? Neurosurgeon?). No bigs. This Hoosier-born and educated optometrist has an established practice in the CityWay development that utilizes the highest-tech gear available. Turner told The Indianapolis Recorder recently that glasses and contacts are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to eye exams: “High blood pressure, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, cancer, glaucoma, macular degeneration — we can see all of those things simply by looking inside the eye.” 311 S. Delaware St., 231-5543, 2nd: Dr. Shelley Stiner 3rd: Dr. Jeffrey Kons BEST LOCAL HOSPITAL I.U. HEALTH The Indiana University network of hospitals now includes Methodist and University hos-

BEST COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY INDIANA UNIVERSITY See our tribute in the “Best of Bloomington” section on page 44. 107 S. Indiana Ave. (Bloomington), 812-855-4848, 2nd: Butler University 3rd: IUPUI BEST TATTOO/PIERCING STUDIO METAMORPHOSIS With its 11th win as Indy’s favorite tattoo and piercing studio, Metamorphosis is running out of wall space for their Best of Indy hardware. Even with more tattoo studios popping up around central Indiana, Metamorphosis stays top of mind for body art thanks to nine talented artists, unique work, organic and non-organic piercing

decorations and a prime location right in the heart of the village on Broad Ripple Ave. 828 Broad Ripple Ave., 2nd: Artistic Skin Designs 3rd: Celestial Bodies BEST LOCAL SMOKE/HEAD SHOP 20PAST4&MORE Back in April, NUVO called upon mister Jay Brookinz to assist us in finding some cool accessories. We wrote: “Jay Brookinz — when he’s not producing hip-hop under the moniker J. Brookinz — is the social media director for 20Past4&More. ... Brookinz knows a lot about how to market via Instagram effectively — and knows even more about what’s trending in the world of smoking and vaping devices. A note from the attorneys: ‘These products are to be used for tobacco and tobacco concentrates ONLY, Mister and Miss Hophead.’” 6507 N. College Ave., 3433 Madison Ave. (with locations in Fort Wayne, too), 2nd: Magic Bus 3rd: High on the Hill

! y d n I , u o y k n a h T

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pitals — among others — but that group has plenty to brag about. The nod they’re most proud of, judging by their homepage, is the fact that U.S News and World Report has ranked ‘em nationally 18 years running. That’s unprecedented. 2nd: Riley Children’s Hospitals 3rd: Community North



8936 Southpointe Dr Indianapolis, 46227


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BEST ADULT TOY STORE CIRILLA’S It’s a sex shop and it’s great and they’re everywhere. Go find what you need to get your freaky groove on and enjoy your damn life. 8601 N. Michigan Road, 228-9345; 6971 W. Washington St., 241-3176; 6711 E. 82nd St., 913-0740; 2nd: Lover’s Lane 3rd: 20 Past 4 and More

BEST LOCAL ARTISAN/MAKER/ CRAFTSPERSON(S): APPAREL/ACCESSORIES SUNDAY AFTERNOON HOUSEWIFE Based out of her home, Martha Latta is the sole force behind the Sunday Afternoon Housewife. She uses upcycled materials to make everything from Scrabble tile pendants to damn near any sort of jewelry that you could want. Her main focus however is her clothing line. Her shirts, baby items, pint glasses and prints are available at Silver in the City, Little Green Bean Boutique, Nurture, Enroute Spa (at the airport), in Bloomington at Gather Shoppe and Martinsville at the Sterling Butterfly. We recommend the bracelets and earrings from original or vintage images and resin or her In Love t-shirts. 2nd: Ann Tudor, LLC 3rd: Sloane Jewelry Design BEST LOCAL ARTISAN/MAKER/ CRAFTSPERSON(S): FOOD AND DRINK NEW DAY CRAFT This company started as a passion project as a way to get rid of excess honey. It quickly

became a booming craft mead business, then expanded into making cider. These days, they’re doing everything from barrelaging in whiskey barrels to soaking their cider with coffee. The point is, it’s delicious and complex and varied and you should drink some. Now that it’s bottled, go pick some up at Big Red Liquors. 102 Prospect St., 888-632-3379, 2nd: Lola Elkins 3rd: Newfangled Confections BEST LOCAL ARTIST/MAKER/ CRAFTSPERSON(S): GIFTS/HOME GOODS SUNDAY AFTERNOON HOUSEWIFE First it was a zine, then it was a band, then it was a biz. The Sunday Afternoon Housewife, a.k.a. Martha Latta, has taken the form of many delightful incarnations. And she makes all kinds of goodies, like her famous Scrabble Tile pendants and her State of Indianathemed T-shirts, which come in all shapes and sizes, and are super essential now in cred-recovering after Pence’s RFRA recovery. Find them at spots like Best Local Gift/Home Store pick Silver in the City, or shop online

Sunday Afternoon Housewife


from the comfort of your Cheeto-crusted couch at the web address below. 2nd: K  ristofer Bowan – The Inventorialist 3rd: Lisa Pelo



BEST LOCAL VAPE SHOP WORLD OF VAPOR INDY Their stated goal is “community,” which essentially means that those who are new to vaping can ask absolutely anything they’d like, without anyone getting judgey. They offer classes and seem to be all about good customer service and a positive experience. The gent who started the shop is a reformed smoker who’s pretty passionate about the positive effects of vaping versus regular ol’ terbacky. 5533 E. Washington St., 351-8273, 2nd: Sir Vapes-a-lot 3rd: Indy E-cigs


Thank you for voting us one of the best!

INDY’S SPOT FOR FEEL GOOD FOOD (RAW, Vegan, Gluten-free, Organic & NonGMO) | 6516 Ferguson St in Broad Ripple


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ull disclosure: My wife and son and I have lived in Indy for 20 years, and it wasn’t until September of 2015 that we set foot in Mother Bear’s Pizza. I haven’t the foggiest idea why — it was just one of those things we meant to get around to. For two decades. The fact that it took us so long to get to Mother Bear’s is even more astounding given my overriding passion for pie. I’ve always contended that pizza is Mankind’s Greatest Invention. I’m convinced that both fire and the wheel were merely the supporting cast created primarily to bring us the Circular Heated Dish of Perfection. Plus, I’ve eaten my way through every pie offered by our southern neighbors, from Big Woods to Zwanzigz. I’ve also tried every artisanal and utility pizza cooked in the

Greater Indianapolis Metropolitan Area. It would take an impressive effort to crack my Top Five. Congrats, Mother Bear’s — from the graffiti-covered booths to the general, mellow, drippingwith-Deadhead ambience to the wonderful barkeep that tended to us, Mother Bear’s simply rules. Bloomington Brewing Company’s 10-Speed Hoppy Wheat was on tap, Three Floyd’s Zombie Dust was in the bottle, the homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing was oddly smoky and brilliant, and the salad veggies were out-of-the-garden fresh. And the pizza? Take it away, NUVO food editor Sarah Murrell: There is pizza, and then there is Mother Bear’s Pizza. We’re talking heavenly, cheesy, crispy wheels of wonder. The pie is smushed right into the very edges of the pan and baked until perfectly brown and crunchy. It doesn’t matter what

time of day it is, or even if you just walked out of Mother Bear’s a few minutes ago. Mother Bear’s always sounds good. It’s incredibly easy to see why Mother Bear’s is such a B-Town institution — there’s really no place like it. Plus, any starving university student knows that feeling: you save a few bucks to hit your favorite place, and the taste of that place becomes your last “childhood” memory. When you’ve graduated and your frontal lobes have fully formed, the flavors and aromas of That One Eatery immediately take you back to a time and place when your life was mainly about the camaraderie of college and the discovery of your true self. A simple stack of dough, sauce, cheese and toppings can become the ultimate comfort food. And all misty musings aside, that sauce is freakin’ awesome, dude. l

BEST PLACE TO WATCH AN IU GAME THAT’S NOT ASSEMBLY HALL NICK’S ENGLISH HUT You can get much more Bloomingtony than Nick’s. You can try, sure. But there’s just something about walking into that almost 90-year-old dark wood-covered bar that screams, “Watch Hoosiers play basketball inside of me!” Hell, the website’s official history even notes that founder/ owner Nick Hrisomalos passed away the same day IU won its second NCAA basketball championship. The Hut – and don’t get it twisted, this sucker is much more bigger than what comes to mind when you hear the word “hut” – is the best place in Bloomington hands down to watch Indiana play – possibly even better than Assembly Hall. 423 E. Kirkwood Ave., 812-332-4040, 2nd: Scotty’s 3rd: Yogi BEST PLACE TO JUST HAVE A BEER NICK’S ENGLISH HUT .... Or say there’s no game on. Or there’s a game on, but you don’t give a whit about it. (Believe us, there’s always a game on at Nick’s.) It’s a great place to gather and just have a beer (or two ... or three.) Nick’s has all kind of comfortable hideyholes away from the screens to cram yourself and 10 of your closest pals in to play Sink The Biz, try new Upland brews, or just sit quietly and ponder why you picked a Religious Studies major. 423 E. Kirkwood Ave., 812-332-4040, 2nd: The Tap 3rd: Kilroy’s BEST LITTLE 500 TEAM CUTTERS Oh, did you forget the magazine you’re reading? Sorry, students: The Cutters are the epitome of Bloomington townie history and are beloved in every possible way. They’re also tremendously good. Following in the footsteps of Breaking Away’s Dave, Moocher, Cyril and Mike, the Cutters are an opento-the-public (but often student) team that holds up the banner of goddamn independence. The race turns 65 this year. 2nd: Kappa Alpha Theta 3rd: Theta Phi Alpha





Preserving our Future, Restoring our Past


2028 E. Southport Rd. Southport, IN 46227 Mon-Sat 10am-8pm Sun 12pm-5pm

BEST STAGE EXPERIENCE (DRAMA, DANCE, COMEDY, NAME IT) BLUEBIRD The nightclub is a rite of passage at this point. Having been housed on Walnut for over 40 years the stage has been home to killer local and national names. One of the most acoustically sound intimate venues that you can find, it has been known to host the karaoke night that you wish all other karaoke nights would be. 216 N. Walnut St., 812-336-3984, 2nd: Comedy Attic 3rd: Cardinal Stage BEST BLOOMINGTON BAND/ARTIST JENN CRISTY Of course in our inaugural year of Bloomington honorees, you all pick Jenn Cristy as your favorite Bloomington artist. You did good, readers. Real good. Jenn Cristy is a Real Life Goddess, an inspired and comforting pianist and singer working the scene over for more than 10 years (and spending time with another favorite Bloomie Mellencamp on tour and in the studio), and she’s got a huge fan base and plenty of great records to show for it. 2nd: Opal Fly & Kapow 3rd: Jason Ricci BEST PLACE FOR LIVE MUSIC BLUEBIRD Here’s one of the reasons why Bloomington is great for live music: there’s all sorts of great music venues within a five minute walk. We’re talking The Bishop Bar, The Buskirk-Chumley, the Player’s Pub and of course, your winner for Best Place For Live Music in the whole damn town, The Bluebird. This old school rock club has a bunch of different perches to watch the stage from, but we bet you like to get right up front. Keep your eyes out for blockbuster homecoming shows from local legends like Murder By Death, upcoming shows from JJ Grey and Mofro, Lucero and The Main Squeeze, plus battle of the bands, EDM dance parties, and much more. 216 N. Walnut St., 812-336-3984, 2nd: Player’s Pub 3rd: The Bishop Bar


BEST ANNUAL EVENT/FESTIVAL LITTLE 500 So you’ve seen Breaking Away, and you’re ready to make the Hoosier pilgrimage down to Little 500 for a glorious April weekend in beautiful Bloomington. Prepare to be blown away: This is by far our favorite race-around-a-circle-very-fast contest in all of Indiana (take that, Brickyard 400!). It also caps off one of the best party weekends in the entire country. Little 500 is much, much more than just a bike race. It’s an Indiana experience. 2nd: Lotus Festival 3rd: Taste of Bloomington BEST PLACE TO PEOPLE-WATCH FARMERS’ MARKET Farmers’ market, you say? There’s farmers’ markets everywhere! Not like THIS farmers’ market, you blasphemer. The Bloomington Farmers’ Market on Saturday morning at City Hall is the biggest and best market in the entire state. And in a town as weird as Bloomington, it pulls out some of the weirdest people from all over the state weekly. Even if you don’t want to purchase delicious fruits and vegetables and flowers and honey and tamales and coffee (you monster), head over to the farmers’ market to see buskers and street performers, plus just about everyone you’ve ever met. Say hi to the Chili Woman for us. farmers-market 2nd: People’s Park on Kirkwood 3rd: Kilroy’s BEST PROF OR INSTRUCTOR RASUL MOWATT Kyle Long has interviewed Rasul Mowatt several times in his Cultural Manifesto column for good reason – this prof is fascinating. Whether chatting about lynching in popular music or the legacy of Gil Scott-Heron, Mowatt gives a good interview (so we can only imagine how great his classes are). The award-winning prof is associate chair of instruction and undergraduate studies in the recreation, park and tourism studies department, and also a killer DJ. (Find those articles we mention online at @rasuldj 2nd: Kathryn Engebretson 3rd: Andy Holliden


Best Local Joint for Late-Night Munchies

Cookies & Milk for pickup or delivery! Hot Box Special $14.75

Includes thirteen cookies (a baker’s dozen), and two pints of milk

Munchie Special $9.25 Includes six cookies and one pint of milk 313 E 3RD ST., BLOOMINGTON, IN 47401 (812) 336-BAKE



BEST LOCAL PLACE TO RIDE YOUR BIKE B-LINE TRAIL Oh, the glorious B-Line. Just under a 5k, this gorgeous paved and well-lit pathway runs through town right by so many of our favorite things: the Farmers’ Market, the Irish Lion, that recently remodeled and now totally fancy Kroger’s (just kidding, we’re Bloomingfoods people all the way). Bloomington is a biker’s paradise, and the B-Line is its crowning glory. 2nd: IU Campus 3rd: Clear Creek Trail


Indiana University Student Building

BEST REASON TO LIVE IN B’TOWN AND NOT IN INDY INDIANA UNIVERSITY Even the crustiest of old townies can’t help but sing along: Indiana, Our Indiana, Indiana, we’re all for you! We will fight for the cream and crimson,

For the glory of old IU Never daunted, we cannot falter In the battle, we’re tried and true Indiana, Our Indiana, Indiana, we’re all for you! (We love you, IU.) 2nd: Lake Monroe 3rd: Mother Bear’s Pizza


BEST FOURTH STREET RESTAURANT MY THAI This joint is so loved in B-Town that it has two locations in that city and one in Greenwood. You can get the classic dishes like Pad Thai, but you should really get a bit steamy bowl of curry. It’s the most comforting food for IU students in the middle of the finals week briar patch, and it will keep you warm on a cold Indiana winter night. 3316 W. 3rd St., 812-333-2234, 2nd: Siam House 3rd: Anatolia

BEST VEGAN/VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT LAUGHING PLANET The burritos, though. THE BURRITOS. Though they’re most famous for their perfect burritos filled with all kinds of tasty veggies, Laughing Planet serves a full range of veggie fare. This is the kind of place you take someone who claims they could never be vegetarian. Laughing Planet will change your tune with flavor-packed, comforting favorites that just happen to be meat-free. 322 E. Kirkwood Ave., 812-323-2233, 2nd: The Owlery 3rd: Rainbow Bakery BEST ETHNIC RESTAURANT (ALL TYPES!) MY THAI Well, there you have it, folks. My Thai is not only the best Asian food in Bloomington, but you also voted it best overall ethnic restaurant. 402 E. 4th St., 812-333-3993, 2nd: India Garden 3rd: Anyetsang’s Little Tibet

BEST PIZZA MOTHER BEAR’S See our feature on page 43. 1428 E. 3rd St., #439, 812-332-4495, 2nd: Bucceto’s Pizza & Pasta 3rd: Aver’s Pizza BEST BURGER OPIE TAYLOR’S Opie Taylor’s is famous for exactly two things: their perfectly grill-marked burgers and their signature ridge-cut fries. As with any outstanding burger, these are best served with a healthy addition of bacon. If you want to go full Indiana, throw some ranch on your fries, or as we like to call it here at NUVO, “Indiana sauce.” 110 N. Walnut St., 812-333-7287,

2nd: Bub’s 3rd: Scotty’s Brewhouse BEST BLOOMINGTON BREWERY UPLAND The IU tailgating experience is not complete without a growler of Upland beer. Even then, the beer is just half of the Upland experience, with some outstanding food to go with the brew. And it’s not your standard pub fare, either. You can get tasty German-style food across a variety of animal proteins, amazing appetizers, and everything in between. 350 W. 11th St., 812-336-2337, 2nd: Scotty’s Brewhouse 3rd: Function Brewing BEST JOINT FOR LATE-NIGHT MUNCHIES BAKED! You can get fresh, warm cookies delivered from this restaurant. Do you need to know more? No, you don’t. 313 E. 3rd St., 336-2253, 2nd: Rockit’s Pizza 3rd: Pizza X

Thank you

to all of the NUVO Readers who voted for WTTS 100% RECYCLED PAPER // NUVO // 2015 // BESTOFINDY 47


BEST RESTAURANT, PERIOD MOTHER BEAR’S See our feature on page 43. 1428 E. 3rd St., #439, 812-332-4495, 2nd: FARM Bloomington 3rd: Laughing Planet Cafe

NUVO Best of Indy 2015  

Best of Indianapolis & Bloomington • Food & Drink • Arts & Entertainment • Music • Shopping • Best of Bloomington

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