We're leaving for GenCon tomorrow. Yay!
GenCon is fun if you work it right, especially to meet up with old friends who live elsewhere. But I'm not a big fan of downtown Indy; it seems like what a suburbanite's idea of what a downtown should be like. It seems so sterile, rather than being an organic neighborhood where people might actually live. And it is completely overrun with generic chain restaurants.
We always go to the Ram (link), a chain brewpub with a location next to the convention center that has always made a show of welcoming gamer nerds. The Shake 'n Steak nearby is a little cheaper, but always super crowded, while the Einstein Bros Bagels (link) is decent for a breakfast. The food at the Convention Center itself is expensive and truly wretched. We've tried to eat elsewhere from time to time, but such experimentation has led to some terrible experiences, as when (desperately hungry late at night) we wandered into a Hooter's that served one of the most disgusting greasy fish and chips I've ever eaten.
So here's some preliminary research on restaurants near the Convention Center. Mostly I've been using the IndyEthnicFood.com map, trying to get information on places that aren't too expensive, too generic, or serve what we already eat too much of.
The place I've always wanted to go to eat in Indy is the Brugge Brasserie (link, map), ever since sampliing some of their beer at events here in Louisville. They brew some fantastic Belgians, as I recall. The brasserie is a gastropub serving Belgian and European food. At 1011 A.E. Westfield Blvd., however, it is way to the north in Broad Ripple about seven or eight miles north of downtown. This neighborhood, though, appears to have a bunch of great restaurants and all of Indy's independent brewpubs such as Barley Island (link) and Broad Ripple Brewpub (link).
Two years ago, it was really nice to have lunch at a Japanese restaurant after a couple days of Convention Center food and pub grub. The nearest Japanese restaurant is Mikado. A block east is Sushi on the Rocks (link, map, menu) which has lunch specials under $10. At 235 S Meridian St., it is between Georgia and South St.
Noodles & Company (link, map, menu) is a chain that offers a variety of Asian-, American-, and Mediterranean-inspired pasta/noodle dishes. It looks like a meal here runs about $5-10. At 121 W. Maryland St., it's right next to the Convention Center between Capitol and Illinois Ave. The Pita Pit (link, map, menu) is another chain that has various sandwiches for $5-10 and is open until 9 or 10pm. At 1 N. Pennsylvania St., it is just north of Washington St. and about a block southeast of the Soldiers & Sailors Monument. There's a couple of other places around Pennsylvania Ave. and Washington St., like King David Dogs (link) and Dick's Barbeque (link, map, menu) at 50 N. Pennsylvania Ave, which has meals under $10.
TaTa Cuban Cafe (link, map) sells Cuban sandwiches. At 137 W. Market St., it's about a block due west of the monument. Giorgio's Pizza (link) has sandwiches and calzones for just over $5 as well as pizza by the slice, and is on the eastern side of Monument Circle.
The nearest Indian restaurant that I can see is India Garden (link, map, menu). Most of its entrees range from $10-15. At 207 N. Delaware St., it's just north of Ohio St., about two blocks northeast of the Monument.