18 best places in Indianapolis for a lunch meeting

Posted in Uncategorized
by on February 24, 2012

Last month we talked to some of the bright minds in Indy to put together the post 22 Indianapolis Businesses You Should Know. The post was such a resounding success, that we decided we better give you guys more of what you clearly want. This time around we asked folks about their favorite spot in Indy for a lunch meeting. We told them that might mean a quiet cafe with free wifi, a four star restaurant downtown to wine and dine their best clients, or a hotel conference room that can seat 50.

As expected we received a wide variety of responses.

Peter Dunn is personal finance author and media personality Pete the Planner

When I want to have a working lunch, I always suggest Vine and Table in Carmel. The sandwiches are easily the best sandwiches north of Broad Ripple, and have fresh local ingredients. The dining room is private, and the tables are HUGE. This may sound silly, but there is nothing worse than a bistro table when you are trying to spread out work documents and/or computers. And yes, they have free WI-FI. Try the veal. I’m kidding. They don’t have veal. But if they did, you should try it.

Bruce Kidd is a senior vice-president at Walker Information

Kona Jacks is an outstanding location for a lunch meeting for two or 10.   Located on N Meridian at 96th Street, Kona Jacks is a family owned and operated  business and has been a favorite gathering place me and many of my friends for dinner or drinks for almost 20 years.   It is also an outstanding location for business luncheons because of its convenient location, outstanding food and great service, casual atmosphere and the high likelihood I will run into lots of friends from the business community every time I go.   Sushi made to order, fresh fish, great soups, salads and sandwiches along with an assortment of pasta dishes fill the menu and are sure to please any guest I take for lunch.

Despi Ross is the manager of creative media design and development at The Children’s Museum

I love supporting local businesses, and I really love sharing local food with new people, so I often suggest Goose the Market for lunch meetings. Be warned that the place is always hopping at lunchtime, so planning an early or late lunch might be advisable, but it is a fun and frenetic atmosphere that makes chatting, brainstorming and conducting business an absolute pleasure. There’s also a great sandwich board to choose from and I get the Batali (with no mayo), every time. Not because I am unadventurous, but because it is just that good. And, you can pick up something wonderful for dinner on your way out. Win-win.

Chuck Gose is the director of business development and social media at MediaTile as well as the co-founder of Indianapolis Social Media

I’m almost hesitant to share my favorite spot for a lunch meeting because it is that good. Tastings, located next to the Conrad, is right in the middle of downtown. Most people either think (A) it’s the Conrad’s hotel bar or (B) it’s only open at night. Neither of which are true. They have a great lunch menu that’s not overly priced (I highly recommend the filet mignon flatbread pizza). What also makes this a great lunch spot is its location (right downtown with easy parking) and the seating inside (an array of couches and tables). But the main reason I like it? Nobody knows about it so it’s quiet. You can actually have a business conversation at lunch. And oh yeah, free Wi-Fi.

Tiffany Benedict Berkson is a writer, researcher, and founder of Historic Indianapolis

University Park

Though it’s not as often as I’d like, my favorite lunch meetings have been in University Park. It’s across the street from the Old Chamber of Commerce Building (where I have an office). The park offers a few picnic tables (11:30 lunch greatly improves your chances of getting one of them) and tons of atmosphere–and of course, my favorite, a few historic buildings–I love the old U.S. Post Office and Courthouse. I’ve brown-bagged it once, and other times, I’ve grabbed some take away. The fresh air and sound of the DePew Fountain beats the din of a packed restaurant with poor acoustics any day. Obviously it’s weather-dependent, but a refreshing and inspiring change of pace!

Daniel Incandela is senior manager of interactive at ExactTarget

The ideal place for a lunch meeting? How about a spot that combines mouth watering food and creative problem solving in finding a seat? Head over to The Tamale Place on Indy’s west side for some homemade tamales or deliciously hand crafted, cheesily melted tacos. Seating is limited, so enjoy discussing your latest merger or acquisition, inches from a complete stranger (and with taco juice all up in your soul patch).  You really haven’t ordered enough if you don’t spend the rest of the afternoon curled up in your cubicle with stomach cramps. Nonetheless, it’s worth it, because the food is THAT good. Your lunch partner, despite experiencing identical stomach cramps, will be obsessively pressing Send/Receive in their Outlook, hoping you’ve scheduled a follow up lunch appointment at The Tamale Place. Trust me.

Evan Bedel is a financial planner at Bedel Financial Consulting

Keep it classy at Champps Americana Restaurant. Champps may not be Ruth’s Chris, but it’s a great lunch spot. The Champps at Keystone at the Crossing is a convenient location with a broad menu selection. If you are looking for a quiet, spacious table to discuss business or a laid-back environment to catch-up with a friend, Champps is the place. The menu is filled with everything from great burgers to healthy, hearty salad entrees. The broad selection allows your client or friend to indulge their mood with no limitations. I find the service to be top notch and the price to be business lunch appropriate. When I’m looking for a casual location to meet a client or business professional, my choice is Champps. Plus, it has the word America in it’s name, so random U.S.A. chants are welcome.

Lindsay Manfredi is the president of Linzstar as well as a co-founder of Girls Rock! Indianapolis.

I’m not gunna lie…I LOVE to eat. I mean, I am such a fan of great food. I also tend to schedule many meetings. So, if I’m doing lunch with a client, soon-to-be client, or even working lunch on my own, I’m typically doing it local. My favorite pick is Zest Exciting Foods on 54th street in South Broad Ripple (otherwise known as SoBro). There are a million reasons, so let me just bullet point mine.

  • It’s locally owned and Valerie is a sweetheart
  • It’s pretty centrally located
  • Free WiFi
  • Fish tacos that will rock your face
  • Mac N Cheese that will blow your mind
  • Breakfast burrito that no one can even touch
  • Crème Brulee French Toast
  • Zest has won an award for its burger
  • Vegetarian and Carnivore friendly
  • Super amazing local art all over the place
  • Local Beer (Upland is my fave)

Your best bet is to go with people that are cool with sharing and just order one of many things and try them all. I’ve never been disappointed with the food there.

Hannah Joseph is a partner at Joseph and Turow, PC and an adjunct professor at IU School of Law in Indianapolis

My favorite lunch spot is Brugge. In the summer, it is so nice to get out of the stale, air conditioned office environment, sit on their porch, eat some frites and enjoy the vibrant Broad Ripple community. In the winter, I like to cozy up at one of their copper topped tables and hunker down over a bowl of beef stew (and frites – I never go there without eating the frites, and you shouldn’t either!). Brugges is one of Indy’s best locally-owned, independent restaurants that is doing something unique, and doing it well. I love to have meetings there because it reminds everyone to be creative, think out outside the box, and try new things. And maybe even enjoy a Triple de Ripple if I sneak away for the rest of the day…

Patricia Wachtel is the President & CEO at Girls Incorporated® of Greater Indianapolis

Sadly, my favorite business lunch spot, the Aristocrat, burned last year.  I appreciated the place for its broad menu (something for the pickiest guest), lovely garden, and spacious seating areas.  So nice to be able to discuss work without entertaining all your neighbors!  Our management team did a lot of strategic planning at the Aristocrat.   I really do hope that they come back strong.  In the meantime, our neighborhood contains several lovely choices including Taste, Zest, and Binkley’s.   On raw, damp February days, it is lovely to sit near the fire at Binkley’s and complete the warming process with a bowl of their tasty chili.

Patti Brennan is the principal at Lucas Communications

My pick for a lunch-meeting spot is one that combines creativity with amazing food, which is why I always turn to Pure Eatery in Fountain Square’s Murphy Arts Center. Pure offers a basic menu of soups, salads, and sandwiches (check out the Caprese Panini), along with daily specials that use local, organic, and seasonal ingredients. Best of all, the décor (including the original tin ceiling and concrete floors) of Pure includes bright, vivid and unusual paintings and art work by local Indiana artists. Pure satisfies one’s hunger and inspires the imagination all in one sitting!

Denise Praul is president of Accurate Tax Management Corporation

My new favorite lunch spot for a business meeting is The Roost at Sahm’s located in Fishers at 116th and Allisonville. Patronizing locally owned restaurants is a huge priority for me when looking for a place to either enjoy a meal with friends and family, or a business meeting. The Roost is one of several restaurants owned locally by the Sahm family. Usually known for their breakfast menu The Roost is fast becoming a hot spot for lunch as well.

Many of the menu items are the same you would find at any off the Sahm’s restaurants, plus a few extras that just give you the feeling that your mother is in the kitchen making some of your favorite foods. It is a quiet space so that you can talk easily with the person you’re meeting with, and the servers seem to have an instinctive talent for checking on you just enough, but never so much that you are constantly being interrupted while you are talking business.

My final thoughts on The Roost – Order a salad, and not only will you get a great salad, but it will come along with that famous Sahm’s sour cream coffee cake. This place is a win win for me for any business lunch.

Ryan Puckett is principal at two21

I don’t make it here often enough, but I’ve always been a big fan of City Café on Pennsylvania across the street from the War Memorial. It’s a good place to meet somebody downtown that isn’t on Mass Ave or in the Wholesale District. I’ve met quite a few folks there who’ve never heard of it or they’ve forgotten about it – this is due to its mightily humble street presence. Inside is a one-lane galley of booths and a few tables by the window. I recommend getting there by 11:45 a.m. so you can order the special of the day, which is often “eighty-sixed” by 12:30 (and so are the available booths). They have a local, farm-fresh focus to their foods with plenty of options for vegetarians and omnivores alike.

Michael Kaltenmark is the director of web marketing and communication at Butler University and the caretaker for local canine celebrity Blue II.

My go-to favorite is Ralph’s Great Divide (RGD), a little watering hole in a relic of a building, just on the outskirts of downtown Indianapolis proper. Situated on New York Street in Lockerbie Square, RGD is easy to get to from downtown, of course, or even from up around Butler University or mid-town Indy. Yet, convenience isn’t the only thing that keeps me coming back to RGD.

Over the last 30 years, the lovable Brooks family has turned RGD into a quaint, quirky, and most of all, tasty little dive where good service comes with just the right touch of sass and sarcasm.

Signature menu favorites include the Hot Pot Aug, Hot Pot Pig, Dave’s “Bourbon Baked Hams,” the Pea Salad, Ralph’s Chili and homemade desserts. My order consistently yields “The Ethel,” a “Bourbon Baked Ham” sandwich served on a toasted English muffin. Enjoy that with a pea salad side dish and the complimentary snack-sized candy bar and you’ve got a complete meal. Oh, and if “guilt” isn’t amongst your chief concerns, RGD has a mean cheeseburger offering as well. Bottom line: RGD is no frills dining. But, with good food comes good conversation, so for a quick and dirty lunch meeting, RGD is a guaranteed winner.

Rocky Walls is CEO of 12 Stars Media

Poker-themed, family-owned Best Bet Breakfast and Lunch in Noblesville is a cafe that’s always a safe bet for our Team Member lunches as well as a great spot to meet clients and colleagues. The owners are always present and have known our names since the first time we visited. They source their beef locally for their burgers (my favorite lunch item) and even though we typically visit for lunch, many regulars seem practically addicted to their breakfast menu which includes the All-In, a “feat of strength” style breakfast plate with everything but the kitchen sink.

Hazel Walker is an author, speaker, and networking expert

I love good food, good beer, good friends and local restaurants . I get all of that at the Monon Food Company in Broadripple. During the winter when the Walk, Eat, Walk group are ready to stop for the eat portion, we love to stop here and eat their freshly made banana buckwheat pancakes with an egg, bacon and hot coffee.

But, in the summer time, when the weather is warm and beckons for me to be outside that is when the Monon shines for me! They have a beautiful back patio, with trees for shade, lovely tables and a border of huge flowers. It is the perfect place to sit and work. I will often take my computer, cell phone and notes to Monon and sit on that patio to work, enjoy great food, wonderful beers and get some work done too.

Their food is fresh, creative and simply delicious. My personal favorite is Tim’s fish taco’s, they are OMG good. Dave is a beer aficionado, with a large selection to choose from he can recommend a beer for every meal. Personally, I love the Golden Monkey with a Fish Taco on a warm summer day in the middle of the week. So, meet me at the Monon this summer and share a beer with me.

Sarah Newhouse is a consultant at MAXIMUS

My IM history reveals the truth: there are days that by 8:30 AM, I’ve already plotted online with colleagues to share a plate of hummus with our lunch at Ali Baba Café. I crave it. We’re a team that appreciates good food, and having a place that allows us to comfortably get off of a client site to catch up, strategize and blow off steam in a relaxed environment. Opened in October 2011, and located 2 blocks off of Monument Circle, Ali Baba Café offers an unbeatable new downtown lunch option: a falafel, gyro or shawarma sandwich, with choice of Greek salad or fries, and a drink for $6.50. This is a tiny snapshot of their expansive menu, which necessitates a second confession: against my own culinary norms, I’ve never made it past ordering the falafel. It is simply that good. Thank goodness for coworkers that let me steal the occasional bite from their plate.

Chip Maxwell is the director of sales at Anacore

your local grocery

Here’s the thing about business lunches: they’re supposed to be different. They’re supposed to get you out of your office, and thus out of your own head a bit. And usually you’re meeting someone with whom you want to have a good chat: creative, productive, or just fun. So what better place than to grab some food from your local grocery and make it a date? Sometime it really feels like a date – it’s fun and sort of quirky and generates interesting conversation. You can grab things off the shelves while you pace the aisles, or some sushi and salad from the deli counter and have a seat. Any grocery will do – there’s always one nearby. If you really want an interesting setting, check out Saraga, an international grocery where you’ll find the most exotic ingredients (and people). Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are also safe bets. Bonus: pick up that loaf of bread or dozen eggs you ran out of this morning.

19 Responses to “18 best places in Indianapolis for a lunch meeting”

  1. 2/24/12 08:15am

    What an awesome list! It was so hard to pick just ONE to contribute, but I’m glad to see many of my other choices were picked by others!

    And, there are a few listed here I haven’t tried so it will be fun to check them out.

  2. 2/24/12 08:27am

    Rocky, I could not agree with you more! I made my choice based on proximity and convenience. However, I love trying neighborhood places all over the City. There are some new ones to me on this list, and I am rarin’ to go!

  3. Emily Bauer
    2/24/12 08:43am

    I would say one of my favorite lunch spots in town has to be Cafe Patachou. The food is great, the atmosphere is wonderful and the patios can’t be beat on a sunny day.

    • 2/24/12 09:27am

      I agree, I love Patachou, for breakfast or lunch meetings! Great post & great recommendations. Now, who wants some lunch?

      • 2/25/12 04:36pm

        I’ll meet up for lunch, I think we’re over due.

  4. 2/24/12 08:52am

    Gotta throw a shout-out to Chatham Tap, great for lunch on Mass Ave. If you’re there on the right days, you might catch some live mid-day soccer action.

    • Denver
      2/24/12 12:07pm

      Completely agree! Chatham is always a favorite – I’d try and go either a little early or late though – the place fills up quick.

    • 2/25/12 04:37pm

      Yes, and there’s now one in Fishers, too! Right off 116th near I-69.

  5. 2/24/12 09:10am

    Too bad Pure just closed. I used it for lunch meetings all the time.

    • Clay Mabbitt
      2/24/12 09:16am

      Bummer. Pure sounded pretty cool.

  6. 2/24/12 09:44am

    Cafe Patachou is my “go-to” spot for breakfast meetings.

  7. Brad King
    2/24/12 10:04am

    Great list everyone. Anyone who knows me is keenly aware that the word ‘lunch’ stops me in my tracks, so I’ll be checking all of these off my list before summer. If you get a chance and are in Nora over the lunch hour, check out Cater Me Cafe on Westfield Blvd. just south of 86th Street. It’s in the strip behind Hellas Cafe. I recommend the egg salad, the specials and the brownies. This is NOT nouveau cuisine, this is comfort food, Indiana style. Grab a stool at the counter and tell Bobbie and Scott I said hi.

  8. Jessica Rodgers
    2/24/12 11:02am

    Some excellent spots on this list – nicely done, all! Now I’m hungry!!

  9. 2/24/12 11:59am

    I love Pete’s suggestion of Vine and Table. I was unaware they served lunch. Great to know!

  10. 2/24/12 02:23pm

    I almost picked Monon Food Company because the taco & soup lunch special is a STEAL and you never feel the need to rush out of there and open up a table. It’s also the closest spot to my new office.

    Patachou is obviously a great choice for breakfast or lunch meetings. I love that is says “a student union for adults” on their door – I think that describes the vibe perfectly.

    Gotta give some love too to my friends at Flatwater in Broad Ripple, the Friday Osiris fish n’ chips special is so choice, but Flatwater definitely offers an atmosphere of more pleasure than work.

  11. 2/24/12 07:49pm

    Confession time: I haven’t heard of all 18 items on this list.

    So, who I am taking to lunch at the places I haven’t heard of?

    Email me or DM me with your guess as to where I haven’t heard of, and we’ll set it up.

    Lunch on me, to the first correct guessers of the place(s) I haven’t heard of before.

  12. 2/24/12 08:21pm

    That didn’t take long. The winners were Matt Grieser, Trena Trobridge, Ryan Cox and April Gregory.

    The shameful secret is that I had never heard of The Tamale Place, Ralph’s Great Divide, Pure and Ali Baba’s.

    • Clay Mabbitt
      2/24/12 08:24pm

      You aren’t alone, Robby. Those are all new to me, too.

  13. Stephen
    2/24/12 11:53pm

    Take Best Bet off this list. I have been kicked out by the owner’s husband for being there too long.

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