In downtown Indianapolis there is a monument to the soldiers and sailors of all the military conflicts from the American Revolution to the Civil War. The monument is thus the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. The monument sits in the middle of a circle – the circle designed to surround the Governor’s mansion – although an early first lady objected to the house as all of Indianapolis would see her wash on the line so the Governors of Indiana now live in a home in the historic Meridian Kessler neighborhood. So, the street encircling the monument is called Monument Circle or “The Circle”. Over the years as I have moved around the country I have had the following conversation…
Person: I was in Indianapolis this summer, nice city
Me: Thanks, it is clean and safe and pretty calm
Person: What’s the name of that street that’s a circle?
Me: The Circle
Person: Yeah, what’s it called?
Me: The Circle
Person: Yeah, it’s a circle…goes around that statue
Me: It’s the Circle
Abbott and Costello meet proud Hoosiers and their acquaintances!
Anyway…On the Circle is the headquarters of Emmis Communication. Emmis publishes many of the c ity magazines across the country including Indianapolis Monthly and Atlanta Magazine. This month both publications published their “best of” edition. So, I thought it would be fun (and in keeping with my list making) to come up with my own “best of” list for both cities. Now, my list will pretty much not mirror either publication’s list. These categories reflect my own life, sense and style…so here are my lists…
Best of Indianapolis
1. Best Intersection – 49th and Pennsylvania – pizza, hardware, antiques, breakfast…
2. Best waste of a Saturday – Midland Arts and Antiques Market – everything from outsider art to 1st edition Riley’s
3. Best Local Restaurant – Illinois Street Food Emporium – the “Turkey Health” sandwich…YUM!
4. Best Local Restaurant 2 – Shapiro’s Delicatessen – you cou ld easily be in New York or Chicago…o, and NO, they don’t serve ham
5. Best Local Restaurant 3 – R Bistro – great food, chic atmosphere
6. Best Hot Dog Stand – Big Dick’s Dogs (RIP Big Dick) seriously, delicious!
7. Best Jazz Club – the Jazz Kitchen – intimate, smoky (although you can ’t), great acts
8. Best Grocery – Atlas Supermarket (RIP Sid) – really everything you could ever need
9. Best Institution of Higher Learning – Butler University – variety/diversity and Clowes Hall
10. Best Shoe Store – Stout’s Shoes – The money baskets on the ceiling wire, the giant parrot…
11. Best Pizza – (tie) Bazbeaux and Noble Roman’s
12. Best Coffee Shop – (tie) Vic’s and Monon Coffee Co.
13. Best Art Show – Broad Ripple Art Fair
14. Best Local Celebrity – Don, of Don’s Guns….”I don’t want to make any money folks; I just love to sell guns.”
15. Best Pro Sports Team – The Super Bowl Champion Indianapolis Colts
16. Best Play by Play Announcer – Bob Lamey of the Super Bowl Champion Indianapolis Colts
17. Best Museum – The Indiana State Museum
18. Best Place for Men’s Stuff – Hardwicke’s Pipe and Tobacco – cigars, good pens, magazines, the 3 Stooges…what more could a man ask for?
19. Best Name for a Place of Worship – The Joy of All Who Sorrow – that’s exactly what I want
20. Best Historic Car Ad – Bob Catterson Buick – “Noooobody but nobody”
Sub winner – J E R R Y A L D E R M A N F O R D fifty-five hundrednorthkeystone…
21. Best Institution that Seems Out of Place – Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art – an adobe structure in the middle of Indianapolis – incongruous…beautiful but incongruous
22. Best Iconic Locale – The Indianapolis Motor Speedway – the awe factor is ali ve and well at 16th and Georgetown 365 days a year.
23. Best Name for a Stretch of Highway – Kenneth “Baby face” Edmonds Freeway
24. Best Hidden Cultural Gem – The Scottish Rite Cathedral – WOW seriously…
25. Best Hidden Cultural Gem 2 – The auditorium of the Indiana War Memorial
26. Best Piece of Public Art – Depew Fountain by A. Stirling Calder (yep, father of Alexander)
27. Best Piece of Public Art 2 – Robert Indiana’s LOVE (iconic and ICONIC)
28. Best Street – Massachusetts Avenue – Pink Ghetto to Artistic Excellence
29. Best Irony – The location of a certain bar called Greg’s which is across the street from one of the Roaden’s first homes in Indianapolis – maybe you can come home
30. Best Bike Ride – The Indianapolis Water Company Canal Path from Broad Ripple to downtown