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Tour de Indianapolis; Top 5 must see’s

1.) Indiana War Memorial, 431 N Meridian, Open 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Mon-Fri
Indianapolis was designed by Alexander Ralston, who earlier worked under Pierre L’Enfant in designing
Washington D.C.’s City Plan.
Indy is number 2, behind D.C. with the most monuments (I’ll say easy access to limestone?). All this to say, the Indiana War Memorial is one of my favorite places in town, they offer tours inside during the day, or a cool sight at night.
If you make this stop during the day, you can grab a bite across the street at City Cafe (443 N. Pennsylvania, 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. Mon-Fri, Sat 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.)

2.) Latin Dance Night at The Jazz Kitchen – Thursdays, 5377 N College Ave, Ladies in Free until 10 p.m.
Salsa Night at The Jazz Kitchen; get some great food before the party starts. Free Salsa lessons at 9:30 p.m. and Latin Music all night long!

3.) Indianapolis Museum of Art , 4000 Michigan Rd, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tue, Wed & Sat, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Thu & Fri, Noon – 5 p.m. Sun
There is something for everyone at the IMA. Check out their calendar for other unique events to the Museum including lectures and movie screenings.
Get a meal in, about 4-miles away from the museum is Jiallo’s, Caribbean/West African Cuisine (4202 W 56th, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Mon-Sat, Sun 2 p.m. – 8 p.m.)
Getting a meal at Jiallo’s may make your trip. Best Jerk Chicken in Indianapolis and the portions are generous. Read some of the other great reviews on Yelp.

4.) Indy Winter Farmer’s Market, Saturdays, 222 E. Market (located inside the Indianapolis City Market) 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. — through April 21, 2012)
Saturday mornings the Indianapolis City Market now hosts the Indy Winter Farmer’s Market which even as a visitor could make a good spot to get some breakfast and walk around downtown to take in the sights.

5.) Fountain Square Neighborhood
Buy local in Fountain Square. Check out indySwank (1043 Virginia Ave; 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Mon-Thu & Sat, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Fri, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. Sun) in Fountain Square, downtown. Maybe even stop in at New Day Meadery (1102 E. Prospect, Tue-Fri 2 p.m. – 9 p.m., Sat 12 p.m. – 9 p.m., Sun Noon – 4 p.m) for a $5 sampler of mead, the owner, Tia, is a jewel.

Honorable Mention: TURF, 202 N. Alabama, through Feb 5. 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Located in the old Central Library/State Museum/City Hall building. The building has been vacant since the library moved in 2005. Now, temporary home to IDADA’s, TURF. A gallery full of installations from local artists.

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Where’s the service?

How much does customer service weigh into your purchasing and patroning decisions? I’ve never read a post purely on Customer Service versus simply what’s hot now. Who do you love? What establishments and individuals do you love to support with phenomenal, knock your socks off, customer service?


1. Ruth’s Chris – Indianapolis: I have been a big fan of RC since 2001. I used to work there. I’ve been through the training. Down to the detail and not in an annoying way. Training at RC taught me what everyone’s favorite word is. Taught me that in any situation that may lead to a customer not being happy can be fixed. Your table is not ready yet, may I buy you a cocktail at the bar? Working here was the basis of my training on customer service and I carry it with me always.

2. Yat’s – College Avenue: How many of you have an IOU in your wallet or handbag? This location does not accept credit cards, but don’t worry, we trust you to pay us next time. I love this old school feeling. Neighborly, and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like or complain about Yat’s.

3. Easley Winery: The winery offers regular tastings. Every time I have walked in there the staff is welcoming and knowledgeable. You never run across anyone who doesn’t want to be there or looks at you like YOU are the inconvenience. If they don’t have an answer they’ll find it. A great addition to our community. PS The fave is the Governor’s Zinfandel Reserve.

4. Hans – Hot Shotz / Tavern on South: I met Hans at Hot Shotz, remember the wall of hot sauce for wings and superb draft beer selection? (I know one guy who looked forward to the margarita martini – which I believe made it to the Tavern On South menu). Every time you are in, you learn something new about the brews on draught. He would genuinely ask about the food you ordered, “How was it?” and “What can we do better?” Everything you’d hope to find in a bartender and manager. Hans is hands down the most knowledgeable person I know in food and drink.

5. Brad’s Brass Flamingo: Yes. A show club makes it on my list. Definitely one of the best bars operated in Indianapolis. The owner leads by example. When he walks through the bar he will reach down to pick up a piece of trash and throw it away. The rest of the staff follows suit.

6. Black Swan – Plainfield: I make it here about every other month. Every time I go in, the staff remembers me by name. Always enough good beer on tap to make me happy. I never expected to find a place with good service and a great beer selection on the Southwest side.

7. Calvin Fletcher Coffee Company: Always selected on the hot lists for customer service. They take the time to learn your name and learn about what you do. Take the time to introduce you to neighbors. The best coffee shop in town by far. Did I mention they operate as a non-profit?

8. Jazz Kitchen: I will never forget taking a group of people in there on a Monday night for 8 before 8. The meal was fantastic. Service was fantastic. The chef took the time to greet our table and even brought out an additional dessert tray to showcase. Fine establishment. Fine experience.

9. Nate, Scotty’s Brewhouse Downtown / Thr3e Wise Men: I remember meeting Nate for the first time. I was sitting at the bar with a glass of Bell’s Brewing Co – Batch 9000. They just had a Bell’s tapping party the day before. I guess I stood out as the only girl at the bar with a beer that interesting. Nate and I became fast friends. With Nate as Bar Manager, was probably the only time I frequented the place. He knew his beer and built the right relationships to get good product in. Mmm. Backwoods Bastard. I think I could have finished an entire keg. Now, you will find Nate at Thr3e Wise Men, another Scotty’s venture. The downtown beer menu will never be the same.

10. David & Ben, Nicky Blaines: I have been a long time frequenter of Nicky’s. I will never forget how impressed I was with the fact that they provide you with a glass of water on arrival and it never reached the pessimistic state, i.e. the glass being less than half full. They took the time to get to know me, called me by name and by golly even after the passing of months will still ask if I’d like my regular drink. Fine Service.

11. Juan – Adobo Grill: My first visit at the bar I ordered my favorite, Hot Lips. When I was ready for another, Juan had went above and beyond to suggest something new for me. He thought I’d like another spicy cocktail with Mezcal and this drink was even more labor intensive. He didn’t go for the easy way out. His best interest was in my experience and enjoyment. He introduced me to Mezcal. My am I grateful.


12. Red’s Classic Barber Shop: Me and a girlfriend of mine went into Red’s for a Boot Shine. The whole shop took interest in getting to know us and what we were about. The weirdest part was walking out of there, realizing that they both knew our ex-boyfriends by name. Weird.

13. Goose the Market: Again, knowledgeable, friendly staff is the key. Are you looking to try a new cut? Need direction on how best to prepare? They have you covered.

14. The New Wishard: Why in the world do I have a hospital on my list? Because I have seen the President/CEO and CEO/Medical Director at nearly every New Wishard public event. They are not sending out marketing people to do the job. They are invested in being out in the community to truly understand the community that they are serving and that is admirable.

15. Cash & Carry: Let’s just say the men that work here love the ladies, they will be at your beck and call to assist you in finding what you need and carry something if you need assistance. Every time. And not in an incredibly annoying way.

16. Jim’s Advanced Automotive: There you have it. My car guy is always crazy busy and I’m letting the cat out of the bag. Let’s just say he has helped me keep my ’96 Toyota Camry in pristine condition with over 300K miles. I’d say you understand.

17. Fisher’s Chamber of Commerce: I have been working with this chamber on and off for over 10 years. The folks that are a part of the chamber are incredibly helpful and the community/members they have follow suit. Don’t just take my word for it, they are doing something right in aiding Fishers being named one of the best city’s to live time and time again.

18. Nordstrom Downtown: lingerie department: Yeap. I quit Victoria Secret years ago as I had an interest in spending my money on quality. I went to Nordstrom first to learn more about other brands available. I built a relationship with one of the associates who steered me in the right direction or brand/style/personal fitting and expertise. I will miss this store…

19. Crown Liquor’s Downtown: The staff is led by Mike who leads by example in acquiring knowledge on all things spirits. Whether or not Mike is in, the staff is incredibly well versed in the beer and wine offerings. It’s always a treat to make it in on one of their tasting nights.

20. Hoosier Momma’s: Have you ever seen Erin in a bad mood and not excited to greet you with a Bloody Mary in hand, what a job. She is so pleasant to be around and easy to make friends with : )

21. Kroger, Emerson & Thompson: This is a fantastic Kroger with a nice sized health food section (gluten-free items too!). When I started frequenting the place, within the first few visits, the produce manager came up to ask me if he could help me find anything. I made sure to mention that I traveled here from downtown by recommendation and happy to see their offering. He replied in saying that if there was anything he could order special for me to please let him know. It’s about understanding your client base to be able to serve and provide for them. Great work!

Who/what else comes to mind by way of customer service??


Filed under Beer, Fountain Square, Gluten, Indiana, Indianapolis, Uncategorized

Indianapolis, from a local’s perspective

We are hosting Final Four and thought I would compile some recommendations. Contact me on twitter @akcrook

#1 Indy Yellow Cab (317) 487-777.  A cab ride should be $5 for any traveling within the North, South, East and West Streets.  To get to Mass Ave and Fountain Square look at maybe $7-9.

#2 Killing time? 10 min Walk or Cab it East on Ohio Street to College Avenue taste some local Indianapolis Beer & Wine:

Sun King Brewery: 135 N College Ave

Thursday 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Friday 3:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Saturday 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Easley Winery: 205 N College Ave

Mon-Sat 9a-6p

Sun 12-4p

#3 First Friday, Check out local Indy artists as they have an open house.  You have three areas downtown to check out:

Mass Ave: 10 min walk or cab it east to Delaware and go north to New York and you have reached a great area for dining, nightlife, retail, etc. I’d recommend MacNiven’s for the best craft beer selection, Chatterbox for jazz, The Rathskeller, Yat’s for cheap creole and R Bistro for local food for lunch or dinner.

Fountain Square: 20 min walk or cab it south to South Street, walk east to East Street, at the six way take Virginia Avenue.  I’d recommend Siam Square for Thai, Radio Radio NON-SMOKING establishment for nightlife (Mayer Hawthorne performing Thursday, April 1)

The Stutz building, walk West to Capitol, go north to 10th Street.

Random bits of information:

Tata Cuban Cafe, Great Cuban spot with authentic mojito’s just off the circle on West Market Street

City Cafe, great soup/salad/sandwich place using local ingredients at 443 N Pennsylvania…this would be right near the War Memorial if you are taking a walk to check that out, great to see lit up at night and check out the interior during tour hours, amazing!

If you walk north on Capital to New York, this is a six way and take Indiana Avenue, there you will walk by Bourbon Street, great pulled pork sandwich and Zing! for small plates You’ll be near the canal if you are taking in a walk…

Contact me at @akcrook on twitter and I’d be happy to get you around and give you any further recommendations during your visit!!  Just let me know what you are looking for!

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