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10 Indianapolis Restaurants That Are Much Less Expensive Than A Sweet 16 Ticket

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Like many in Kentucky, Eater is excited about the rematch between the Cards and Cats in the Sweet 16 in Indianapolis this Friday, March 28. Louisville bars and restaurants are already preparing for the onslaught of Red and Blue (Eater has no idea what Lexington plans, but assumes it will involve monotonously chanting "Blue" and "White" over and over and over again). Tickets are available, but costly, with some going for upwards of $10,000. However, many basketball fans may still find the short route north up I-65 too tempting, and could end up in downtown Indianapolis getting hungry while harassing Hoosiers and trying to score some seats at Lucas Oil Stadium. Since there is no Eater Indianapolis (or Eater Lexington for that matter), Eater Louisville wanted to make sure both Big Blue Nation and L1C4 folk have the opportunity to eat well if they happen to find themselves in Indy, even if they can't get into the stadium. Here are 10 options for good eating near Lucas Oil Stadium, before or after what we hope will be a really, really good game.


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Shapiro's Delicatessen

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It's not exactly Kosher, but it is an Indianapolis institution. Corned beef, pastrami, chicken soup with matzo balls and other deli delights are only about 1/2 mile from the stadium. Open 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Napolese Pizzeria

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Indianapolis Monthly "thoroughly adore[s] the pizza salon’s rustic-chic–meets–Type-A-perfection" about 1/2 mile from the stadium. Try Be-Bop's Pie (braised pork belly, shaved fennel, apple and provolone) or make your own (though "no more than three toppings on your freestyle creations" is recommended). Gluten-free crust available. Reservations available from 5 p.m. on.

The Libertine

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Promising the kind of comfort that makes one "melt into your chair," with dishes like the Bacon Flight (Smoking Goose lamb bacon, jowl and applewood bacon) and Roasted Bone Marrow with Celery Leaf and Herb Salad. Opens at 5 p.m. About 3/4 of a mile from the stadium.

Cerulean Indianapolis

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Though considered a little "out there" for the Circle City, Indianapolis Monthly raved about chef-owner Caleb France's "gorgeous repertoire of plates ... designed to be ordered in multiples and shared around the table." About half a mile from the stadium.

Bangkok Restaurant & Jazz Bar

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Yelpers love this "unique experience created by combining refined authentic Thai food combined with American live Jazz." Satay, Thai dumplings, Larb, Pad Thai and more, plus jazz. Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. About 2/3 of a mile straight north from the stadium.

Bru Burger Bar

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This burger bar has an outpost in Lexington, but U of L fans still might want to check it out. Indianapolis Monthly says the Creekstone Farms-sourced burgers have "the all-important bun-to-burger ratio spot-on, thanks to a custom patty die mold (which also gives them that hand-shaped look)." Open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Takes no reservations. 1.35 miles northeast of the stadium.

Bluebeard

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This "scruffy gourmet spot" was Indianapolis Monthly's Restaurant of the Year 2013: "The food is creative without trying too hard. The thoughtful servers earn your trust. The atmosphere is warm and humble, filled with old typewriters, vintage books, and other erstwhile trinkets." Opens at 5 p.m. for dinner. No reservations. Just over 1 mile from the stadium.
The Indianapolis Star names this "hip" Virginia Avenue place one of the 10 best new restaurants of 2013. Try the Pig Face Hash with fried egg, pork cracklings, pickled peppers and lime. Just a little over 1 mile southeast from Lucas Oil Stadium.

R Bistro

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Just over 2 miles northeast of downtown, R Bistro has the same format that was "trendsetting" when it opened in 2001: a European-trained chef/owner, a listing of local farm sources and a menu that changes every week to reflect the season.

Black Market

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A little past downtown Indy off the Washington Street exit, Black Market is just 2-1/4 miles Lucas Oil Stadium. Indianapolis Monthly says this is "the kind of restaurant that Indianapolis needs: a come-as-you-are, brick-and-wood charmer that draws you back time and time again with its evolving menu of innovative comfort food, dead-on beer list, and delectably offbeat cocktails." Open Fridays 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. No reservations taken.

Shapiro's Delicatessen

It's not exactly Kosher, but it is an Indianapolis institution. Corned beef, pastrami, chicken soup with matzo balls and other deli delights are only about 1/2 mile from the stadium. Open 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Napolese Pizzeria

Indianapolis Monthly "thoroughly adore[s] the pizza salon’s rustic-chic–meets–Type-A-perfection" about 1/2 mile from the stadium. Try Be-Bop's Pie (braised pork belly, shaved fennel, apple and provolone) or make your own (though "no more than three toppings on your freestyle creations" is recommended). Gluten-free crust available. Reservations available from 5 p.m. on.

The Libertine

Promising the kind of comfort that makes one "melt into your chair," with dishes like the Bacon Flight (Smoking Goose lamb bacon, jowl and applewood bacon) and Roasted Bone Marrow with Celery Leaf and Herb Salad. Opens at 5 p.m. About 3/4 of a mile from the stadium.

Cerulean Indianapolis

Though considered a little "out there" for the Circle City, Indianapolis Monthly raved about chef-owner Caleb France's "gorgeous repertoire of plates ... designed to be ordered in multiples and shared around the table." About half a mile from the stadium.

Bangkok Restaurant & Jazz Bar

Yelpers love this "unique experience created by combining refined authentic Thai food combined with American live Jazz." Satay, Thai dumplings, Larb, Pad Thai and more, plus jazz. Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. About 2/3 of a mile straight north from the stadium.

Bru Burger Bar

This burger bar has an outpost in Lexington, but U of L fans still might want to check it out. Indianapolis Monthly says the Creekstone Farms-sourced burgers have "the all-important bun-to-burger ratio spot-on, thanks to a custom patty die mold (which also gives them that hand-shaped look)." Open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Takes no reservations. 1.35 miles northeast of the stadium.

Bluebeard

This "scruffy gourmet spot" was Indianapolis Monthly's Restaurant of the Year 2013: "The food is creative without trying too hard. The thoughtful servers earn your trust. The atmosphere is warm and humble, filled with old typewriters, vintage books, and other erstwhile trinkets." Opens at 5 p.m. for dinner. No reservations. Just over 1 mile from the stadium.

Rook

The Indianapolis Star names this "hip" Virginia Avenue place one of the 10 best new restaurants of 2013. Try the Pig Face Hash with fried egg, pork cracklings, pickled peppers and lime. Just a little over 1 mile southeast from Lucas Oil Stadium.

R Bistro

Just over 2 miles northeast of downtown, R Bistro has the same format that was "trendsetting" when it opened in 2001: a European-trained chef/owner, a listing of local farm sources and a menu that changes every week to reflect the season.

Black Market

A little past downtown Indy off the Washington Street exit, Black Market is just 2-1/4 miles Lucas Oil Stadium. Indianapolis Monthly says this is "the kind of restaurant that Indianapolis needs: a come-as-you-are, brick-and-wood charmer that draws you back time and time again with its evolving menu of innovative comfort food, dead-on beer list, and delectably offbeat cocktails." Open Fridays 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. No reservations taken.