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 CBS4Indy.com contributor Dustin Heller
In the ultra-competitive restaurant industry that is dominated by large chain restaurants and fast-food behemoths, it’s nice to visit a local neighborhood joint that is doing food the right way. Shoefly Public House is located at 122 East 22nd Street and has been a staple in the community since opening back in 2013. The name Shoefly isn’t an homage to the delightful molasses based pie (it’s not even spelled the same…Shoofly), but rather a product of happenstance. Owner Craig Mariutto knew he wanted the name to contain the words “Public House”, but it wasn’t until his wife noticed a pesky fly messing with the family cat and she shouted out “shoo fly”; the lightbulb came on and Shoefly Public House was born. In light of the name, I guess Craig felt it necessary to include Shoofly pie as a permanent fixture on the menu (and I’m sure glad he did).
When Shoefly opened, there weren’t many restaurants in the area, so it quickly became a local hotspot. The interior has an open dining area that is both raw and warm at the same time. The exposed brick and piping add character, while the family photos on the brightly painted walls make it feel cozy and welcoming. Depending on the night of the week, Shoefly can offer more than just a good meal, with open-mic comedy, bingo, trivia, and live music in the parking lot during the warm summer months.
When it comes to the food, Shoefly prides itself on using high quality ingredients and preparing them in a simple, yet creative way. You could say that it’s kicked-up pub food prepared with some serious culinary skill. The menu changes seasonally due in large part to featuring many locally grown and produced items. Although, there are some local favorites that have become staples on the menu (more on that below). In an effort to save all of you the time and energy, I’ve taken the liberty to select four items from the Shoefly menu that shouldn’t be missed. So, without further ado, here is my “can’t miss” list:
- TRILLIUM…This is triple cream brie cheese that is roasted on a cedar plank. The cedar plank is literally lit on fire just before service and the smoky flavor of the wood shines bright in the flavor. They serve it with a delicious orange and beet relish and, of course, Amelia’s focaccia. What a fantastic way to start your meal!
- BACON…It feels nice just being able to let the word bacon stand by itself, and when you get a load of this BLT, you’ll understand why they call it BACON. The bacon is from Smoking Goose and it is piled a mile high…well, maybe not a mile, but it sure seemed like it when I was trying to fit it in my mouth. To accompany this glorious bacon, they add lettuce and tomato (duh!), fresh avocado, a really tasty aji sauce, and then smash it all between tangy sourdough. This BLT gives you a lot of bang for your buck.
- HOOSIER…I can’t express how excited I was to see a pork burger on the menu. I grew up (in Indiana, of course) eating pork burgers at community events and at my grandma’s house, but I don’t see them in restaurants much these days. The Hoosier is the foodie version of a pork burger; it is topped with smoked gouda, apple, arugula, and a hickory Dijon sauce. Is it a coincidence that the Hoosier burger has Hickory sauce on it? I think not. (That was a basketball reference for the non-sports-fan foodie)
- SALMON…Let me start by saying that the salmon is very fresh and quite tasty, but it is not the reason this is a “can’t miss” dish. This dish is all about the Ethiopian lentil stew! I can taste it in my mouth as I’m writing this. The spices that are used in this stew are off the charts and jam-packed with flavor. Add some curry roasted cauliflower to the plate and call it a day. Simply divine!
There you have it, my four “can’t miss” items, but don’t stop there because there are all sorts of goodies to be found on this menu. So, the next time you’re in the neighborhood, stop by Shoefly for a dose of Hoosier hospitality and some mouthwatering food. I’m pretty sure they’ll make you feel right at home.
Tell Dustin your thoughts about Shoefly Public House. You can follow him on Instagram @eatindywatchindie.
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