The International Marketplace was one of the quirkiest things that we discovered about Indy, and it's one of the things that made us realize we could in fact live here. This neighborhood is a stretch of road several miles long, just outside the city center, that's lined with strip malls. Why is that exciting, you ask? It's exciting because after the economic downturn several years ago, many of the strip mall businesses went out of business and left. What has filled these empty buildings? International restaurants and grocery stores!
As we drove down 38th St., we saw things like an abandoned Bob Evans building and an abandoned Lone Star building, now turned into really great ethnic restaurants. In any other city, you would probably steer clear of an Asian restaurant in an old Bob Evans building. That just sounds like a recipe for disaster. But in Indianapolis, they have made it work- these restaurants are actually some of the city's star chefs' favorites!
There are not only restaurants in this neighborhood, but grocery stores, too. We walked into a huge Mexican grocery store that used to be a hardware store and my jaw dropped. Having just recently been to Mexico, it was awesome to see aisles and aisles of any ingredient you could ever want for making authentic Mexican food. We learned that there is also a large international grocery store in what used to be a Super Kmart. How cool!
Independent, Chef-Driven Restaurants
Duck breast at Cerulean
Of course, what would a city revival be without some great new restaurants? The farm-to-table movement is in full force here, and menu after menu listed all of the local farms from which the ingredients came. These restaurants exude cool with re-purposed buildings and furniture, but most importantly, the food is downright good.