INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – About 6 years ago, Ian Phillips got his start by selling seitan--a meat substitute also known as wheat gluten--to various local restaurants and businesses around the city.
A few years later, he used those profits to open totally-meatless Three Carrots at City Market. Then, in December 2017, he opened their second location at 920 Virginia Avenue, just off the Cultural Trail in Fountain Square.
Not a vegan or vegetarian? Not a problem. Their Yelp reviews are full of meat-lovers who gave Three Carrots a perfect 5-star rating. Three Carrots is such a favorite that it even made Yelp’s 2017 list of Top 50 Places to Eat in Indiana.
“We can’t be just a vegetarian restaurant. We have to be a good restaurant that serves good food. We can’t just only appeal to vegetarians and vegans,” said Phillips.
A totally meatless menu can be a little intimidating, especially if you don’t follow a vegan or vegetarian diet. But there is something so approachable about Three Carrots. It’s unique, delicious, and a perfect fit for the neighborhood.
“We have a ton of wonderful neighbors. I think Fountain Square as a neighborhood is very open to what we’re doing. I love being on the Cultural Trail,” he said.
A new space also means new opportunity when it comes to food. At City Market, they only have a panini presser to cook with. Here in Fountain Square, there’s a whole kitchen and plenty of space to innovate.
When it comes to their top dishes, a quick scroll through their Yelp profile shows some of the big favorites include seitan, seitan tenderloin and wings, vegan buffalo mac and cheese, poutine, and beet burgers.
“It doesn’t taste like beets at all. People are like, ‘I hate beets but I love this beet burger,” Phillips said.
That’s the thing: for non-vegetarians and vegans, stepping into Three Carrots is not what you’d expect. Sure, they have salads and lighter fare. But it’s their spin on classic comfort foods that have turned even the biggest carnivores into fans.
“What we’re trying to do here is make things that are flavorful. Make things that taste good… Most of the people who come in here aren’t vegetarian or vegan at all. They just happen to like the food,” said Phillips.
The other thing people really seem to like? The atmosphere.
“One of the top things noted in the Yelp reviews is the Scandinavian feel that you feel when you step into this business. White, crisp lines, really refreshing… to match the menu that you’re going to find [here],” said Brittany Smith of Yelp Indy.
Four Things You Need to Know:
- Three Carrots is a tasty and healthy spot for vegetarians, vegans and meat eaters. Popular menu items include the vegan buffalo mac and cheese, the seitan tenderloin and wings, poutine, and beet burgers.
- It's not just the food that Yelpers love, a selection of local craft sodas by The Soda Guys, local beers, and wines offer great complements to the menu items.
- Three Carrots has been a favorite inside City Market for years. Now the biz has a new location in Fountain Square and it's already receiving rave reviews on Yelp.
- This hot new business has a totally meatless menu. Don’t let that scare you, meat eaters! Three Carrots has taken familiar favorites like buffalo mac and cheese and barbecue and put a vegan spin on them -- you may not even notice a difference.
When you leave, you can continue down the Cultural Trail to discover other new businesses like the tiki bar-inspired Inferno Room, The Wine Market, and other local establishments bringing new life to the ever-evolving Fountain Square neighborhood.
“You see the buildings that have been sitting there for years that are now beautiful new businesses and really attaching this corridor along the Cultural Trail. So every time you visit, you can discover something new,” said Smith.
Looking for other veggie-friendly eateries? Check out these other highly-rated local options: