INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — In 2016, Talbott Street—a beloved LGBTQ nightclub and bar—closed its doors after 15 years of business.
Fortunately, the space that was once known for fabulous drag shows has been given new life thanks to owners Kendall Lockwood and Trevor Belden—the same team behind Mass Ave’s Ball and Biscuit.
In September of 2019, Baby’s officially opened their doors at the corner of 22nd and Talbott Street to a very excited Herron Morton neighborhood.
We’re grabbing a burger and fries that will have you saying “Yaaaas Queen!” on this trip “In Your Neighborhood”.
“I tell people all the time, ‘I get to hang out in a place that is covered in pink glitter and there are cute kids and fun people,’” said Ruth Hawkins, front of house manager at Baby’s.
Glitter has long been a theme here. But nowadays, the space that was once known as legends drag show bar has been transformed into Baby’s: A ’50s style diner with a pop-culture edge.
“Some place where—you know—the server that’s taking care of you has been there for 37 years and her nickname is Baby or Flo or whatever,” explained Hawkins. “But [we] definitely also holding fast to what the culture used to be.”
“A lot of us that grew up at Talbott Street—a lot of my friends—are married and have kids now. They wanted a space that was gay-friendly, all-friendly to bring their own kids,” she added. “We wanted this space to be pretty open and accepting to everybody.”
Baby’s not only carries on the culture of openness and acceptance, but they also pay tribute to their history all the way down to the menu.
“A lot of our cocktails are drag names…Drag themes,” said Hawkins.
Names like the Glamazon, Sashay Away, the Yaaaas, For The Gods, and Throwing Shade—just to name a few.
They even have six of their cocktails on draft.
“The most popular [cocktail] is Bye Felicia. It’s our version of a Cosmo but it’s got some elderflower and it’s super tight and good,” Hawkins said. “We also have one called Making Herstory, which is my particular favorite and it’s sort of a riff on an old fashioned.”
But did we mention the milkshakes?
“The shakes are the reason that people come here,” Hawkins noted. “The most popular boozy flavor is the peanut butter chocolate. So it comes with a peanut butter whiskey.”
“We always have two seasonal rotating flavors… Then we have a non-dairy version,” noted Hawkins. “We make it with almond milk, coconut cream. And that one right now is Snickerdoodle.”
Then, there’s the food.
Keeping with the old-school diner vibe, they are all about a delicious burger and fries. But here, they take that up a notch with the Build-Your-Own smash burger option (which even has a veggie burger option).
“A smash burger is quite literally a smashed burger and ours have our own special recipe with some umami flavors and really good solid burger,” Hawkins said.
Some patrons have even been known to get competitive over the number of patties they can devour on one burger. So far, the record is eight.
“There were two guys on the patio one day, kind of having a competition. One had six and the other guy was like, ‘Well I can order eight,’” Hawkins recalled. “Normally, we put toothpicks in burgers but it was too big so we just stuck a kitchen knife through it.”
You could also opt for their signature burger called “The Strut.”
“It is a little bit sweet and a little bit smoky. It comes with smoked Gouda, mango chutney, our own signature sauce called ‘Dazzle Sauce,’ which is a secret recipe,” she said.
And watch out Popeyes because Baby’s just threw their hat in the chicken sandwich ring with their broasted chicken.
“Broasted chicken is a pressure fried chicken. So we have a chicken pressure fryer and it just makes it really crispy on the outside, really juicy on the inside,” Hawkins said. “[The sandwich] comes with a white barbecue sauce and pickles.”
Other menu favorites include loaded nachos and their tasty take on a Hoosier favorite.
“We just added a pickle-brined pork tenderloin, so it’s pretty unique,” she said. “ We just brine the tenderloin itself in pickle juice and then fry it so it gives it a lot of food juiciness.”
But what is Hawkins’ favorite part of working here at Baby’s?
Spoiler alert: it’s not the incredibly tasty food.
“The vibe– 100-percent…I’ve been working in restaurants for about 16 years and this is the happiest place I’ve ever worked,” she said. “People come to work and they’re smiling and I think the guests really have picked up on that too.”
Four Things You Need to Know About Baby’s:
- Thanks to co-owners Kendall Lockwood and Trevor Belden (the same duo behind Ball & Biscuit on Massachusetts Avenue), Baby’s brought new life to what was once the Legends Lounge inside the popular Talbott Street night club. After opening in September of 2019, Baby’s has quickly become a must-visit destination in the Herron Morton neighborhood.
- Their vibe is inspired by the classic 1950s diner—only with some extra pop-culture flair. They offer a signature burger and fries and are widely loved for their boozy milkshakes and sassy cocktails with drag-inspired names.
- Baby’s is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and is kid-friendly! Then, adults can enjoy their late night menu and karaoke fun from 9 p.m. to midnight on Wednesdays-Saturdays.
- They still carry on the tradition of hosting drag shows and drag brunches there, so watch their social media for events like that. And when you visit, don’t forget to check out their patio which was recently enclosed for the winter months. Plus, the patio and outdoor area is pet friendly!
For more information about Baby’s, check out their website by clicking here. To see more photos and reviews by local Yelpers, check out their Yelp profile. You can also connect with them on social media via Facebook and Instagram.
While in the area, check out these other popular local businesses who celebrate equality and acceptance, just like Baby’s:
Forty Five Degrees