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 always love hearing interesting stories of how restaurants came to be, and Moontown Brewing Company in Whitestown has a really great one. Moontown is located in the historic Whitestown School and Gymnasium at 345 South Bowers Street which you really have to see in person to truly appreciate. Think an old gym like the ones used in the movie Hoosiers, only updated and serving up some serious food and drink.
The owners of Moontown all started as home brewers on the Hutton farm in Boone County. It wasn’t until they won first place in the Homebrew Competition at the inaugural Whitestown Beer Fest back in 2015 that they decided to make their dream a reality and open their own brewery. They made an offer on the Whitestown gym and shortly thereafter renovations began…and the rest is history. I’m selling it short with the “…”, but there are just too many fun facts about this place for me to delve into here, so make sure and ask on your next visit.
Moontown is known for its beer, but they also take a lot of pride in what comes out of their kitchen. Having a scratch kitchen inside a brewpub is something to get excited about. Freshness and sustainability are of the utmost importance at Moontown; which is why they use local farmers and purveyors for many of the items on their menu. They really seem to be doing everything right. The menu itself has some tasty appetizers and sandwiches to go along with flatbreads and dinner entrees, but they are probably best known for their smoked meats…more on that below. So, without further ado, here are my four “can’t miss” items from the Moontown menu:
Smoked Pork Green Chili Nachos…With the exception of cheese, there really are no rules on what you can pile on top of your nachos. The more the merrier has always been my philosophy, with chili being right at the top of the list. I also like my chip to toppings ratio to be at about a 1 to 1; I don’t like having a bunch of boring tortilla chips left over once all the good stuff is gone. That said, Moontown checks both of these boxes by having a nice variety of toppings and piling them high. They start with local blue corn chips and cover them with cotija and sharp cheddar cheese, homemade smoked pork green chili, pickles onions, jalapenos, cilantro, and sour cream to top it off. All of these flavors in one bite will set off an explosion in your mouth.
Brisket Chili…You might be sensing a theme here, but that’s only because Moontown really knows how to make some amazing chili. This brisket chili is more traditional than the pork chili on the nachos, but every bit as tasty. They use the burnt ends of the brisket as the foundation and, believe me when I say, they don’t skimp on the meat. The chili has a rich and smoky flavor that is only heightened when finished with crème fraiche, scallions, chives, and crunchy cheddar chips on top. If you’re like me, you’re gonna want to lick the bowl.
Smoked Oyster Po’ Boy…The beloved sandwich of Louisiana makes its way to Indy. The Moontown po’ boy stays true to its New Orleans roots by using fried oysters as the meat of choice. They stuff these perfectly golden brown oysters in a classic French roll and top with creole remoulade and house slaw. The oyster flavor really comes through in the sandwich, but is in no way overpowering; and the bread is nice and soft in the center with a crispy crust. As they say in the Big Easy… Laissez les bons temps rouler (Let the good times roll)!
Nashville Hot Chicken…Nashville Hot Chicken was all the craze in Indy a couple of years ago, but that seems to have died down a bit. Now it seems you can’t go anywhere without a poutine on the menu, but I digress. Nashville hot differs from Buffalo chicken in that it is coated with a sort-of paste instead of sauce. This paste allows for more of the juicy chicken to shine through instead of being overpowered by the sauce. The sandwich gets its heat from Moontown’s XXX sauce, but is offset by the cool of the pickles and bleu cheese aioli. This is one fine chicken sandwich!