Foodie Spotlight: Tavern at the Point offers upscale bar food at historic location

Indianapolis is quickly becoming one of the hottest food cities in America.  A destination for true foodies who are interested in everything from fine dining to food trucks.  This column will put the spotlight on one of these local hot spots to help get the word out and share in the love of all things food.

Review by Dustin Heller (@eatindywatchindie on Instagram)

I’ve always loved a good oxymoron when it comes to food; e.g. jumbo shrimp, boneless ribs, sweet pickle, upscale bar food.  Hold it right there, I’m not sure upscale bar food is even an oxymoron–and to prove my point (pun intended), Tavern at the Point is proof positive that such a thing does exist.

Tavern at the Point is a Cunningham Restaurant Group creation that took over the spot formerly occupied by local favorite Old Point Tavern at 401 Mass Ave.  Old Point Tavern’s rich history spanned well over a century and while Cunningham wanted to pay homage, they also wanted to give it their own gourmet touch.

Photo by @davepluimer

What was once a dive bar is now a chic eatery disguised as a tavern.  It is still a great place to catch a game (Final Four anyone?) or grab a drink, but you don’t want to miss out on their mouthwatering food.  The interior is small yet cozy with a stylish bar and an even cooler mini-bar overlooking the kitchen (probably the best seats in the house).  Not to be outdone is the outdoor patio, which resides on one of the best corners in all of Indy.  Everybody cheer because patio season is here!

Photo by @davepluimer

Tavern at the Point is, in fact, a tavern, but a lot of attention has gone into making the menu exciting for us foodies.  It is a smaller menu packed with all sorts of culinary delights.  Almost everything being served is made from scratch right there in the kitchen, and let me tell ya, you can taste the difference between fresh and frozen.  They offer a nice assortment of starters and entrees along with some fresh salads and a brownie dessert for the sweet-toothers (that’s probably not a word, but I’ll go with it anyway).  I guess the last thing to do is to give you my “can’t miss” choices to help you along your way.

Southern Grilled Cheese: Let me explain before you completely discredit everything I’ve written up to this point.  I’m aware that I’m recommending a grilled cheese sandwich, but don’t forget “upscale.”  We’re not talking about a boring grilled cheese with white bread and one slice of American cheese; we’re talking gourmet!  The only cheese a true Southerner would put on a grilled cheese is homemade pimento.  The pimento is not alone, though, and is joined by some white cheddar and smoked ham with a mouthwatering elderberry-jalapeño jam that brings the sweet and the heat.  All of this goodness is grilled between two slices of Hattie McDaniel water bread.  If you don’t know Hattie McDaniel, you should!  I got a hot insider tip for my next visit: sub out the smoked ham for the smoked brisket.  I can’t wait!

Photo by @davepluimer

Brisket Nachos: While we’re on the subject of brisket, what better way to kick off a meal than some loaded nachos?  For the record, you could put this Iowa premium smoked-in-house brisket on anything and it would be delish.  Get a load of the laundry list of items that accompany the chips and beef: house-made beer cheese, lettuce, jalapeño, radish, pico, cilantro, sour cream and salsa.  My fingers are kinda tired from typing all of that.  I’ve found a way to have brisket for my appetizer and main course, can I get a slice of brisket cheesecake over here?

Photo by @davepluimer

Cauliflower Wings: Yes, this is a vegetarian appetizer, but that is by no means why it made the “can’t miss” list.  Tavern starts with big pieces of fresh cauliflower that are coated with their buffalo seasoning.  Off to the fryer they go, where they come out with the perfect consistency (not at all mushy).  They are served with a side of pickled onion and cucumber and buffalo sauce and ranch for dipping.  Don’t tell my friends, but I actually prefer these cauliflower wings to the chicken wings.  I’m as shocked as you are.

Photo by @davepluimer

Big Fontana Burger: The true measure of any tavern is the quality of their burger.  Since the Big Fontana is on this list, it would stand to reason that it is one tasty burger.  The beef comes Creekstone Farms in Kansas and you can taste the freshness in each bite.  The burger is topped with classic American cheese, smoky bacon, all the fixin’s, and a housemade tangy Fontana sauce.  Just to give you a heads up, you’re probably gonna need some extra napkins with this one!

Photo by @davepluimer

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