Accessibility Stories

Indy's Culinary Mojo

BY CHRIS AND ANNE DUNLAVY

Anne and I are so proud to call Indianapolis home for the past 19 years. Certainly, Indianapolis is well recognized for our hospitality and motorsports at the awesome Indianapolis Motor Speedway. However, there is so much more that our family has been able to discover and appreciate within our community. We frequently find ourselves visiting hidden gems such as Fort Harrison State Park, Eagle Creek State Park, and Geist Reservoir for hiking, kayaking, and other water sports. In addition, our family regularly visits The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis as we inevitably learn something new each and every time we go.

Having said that, our experiences have evolved due to the fact I have lost a significant amount of my vision over the past 15 years. As a result, I get to enjoy Indianapolis from a completely different perspective than that with which I arrived. As I have learned to adapt utilizing a different set of skills, my appreciation for restaurants and other activities is experienced predominantly through my senses of sound, taste, and smell. Fortunately for me, that has coincided with an explosion of culinary exploration throughout our city. Specifically, local restaurants are now teasing our sense of taste through experimentation with flavors, spices, sauces, and wines

Before we share with you a few restaurants that we recommend, it is important for us to explain our mindset when travelling. First, whenever Anne and I travel to other areas, we try to learn of those restaurants and places that best represent the local culture. In doing so, our explorations tend to bring us to the well-known attractions, some hidden gems, as well as places that can best be described as easily forgettable. Secondly, we are conscious of places and activities that could present a challenge for me to navigate due to my visual impairment. Nonetheless, rarely do we let that stop us from exploring. Generally, I hold onto the arm or shoulder of Anne, my son or daughter, and off we go.

Like most living in Indiana, Anne and I always enjoy a good steak, pizza, hamburger, or breaded tenderloin sandwich. However, we would like to share with you three restaurants that are a little outside the norm, yet outstanding in their own unique ways. The first place we recommend you try out is Union 50. This restaurant is located on the popular Mass Avenue in downtown Indianapolis. There is always a great energy that is punctuated by the kindness and knowledge of the service staff. However, our experiences at Union 50 is always highlighted by the food. They are phenomenal in their combinations of foods, cheeses, and sauces. We are always amazed at the explosion of flavors resulting from every aspect of our dining experience at Union 50.

The second suggestion we have for you is a restaurant we have just recently come across in the Broad Ripple area. If you are looking for a great breakfast option following a walk, run, or bike ride on the Monon Trail, Anne and I recommend that you visit Good Morning Mama’s. The first thing I love about this restaurant is that they offer wonderful outside seating. Also, they do have drinks available that are a great complement to their entrée options. In the end though, it comes down to the food. They have a very extensive menu from which to choose. Good Morning Mama’s is so unique in their presentation of traditional breakfast offerings. This restaurant is a vibrant setting with tremendous food.

Our final suggestion is for you to check out Hellas Café. This is one of our favorite Greek restaurants located on the north side of Indianapolis. Admittedly, we are not experts on Greek cuisine; however, we so enjoy this restaurant for both their ambiance and food. Typically, there is someone playing very delightful music on a piano that can be lightly heard throughout the dining area. My impression is that Hellas Café is serving traditional Greek food using fresh produce. I cannot resist the gyro platter, while Anne is a big fan of their lamb chops. We have been so many times and have always had a delightful experience.

Enjoy your visit to Indianapolis and safe travels!


ABOUT CHRIS AND ANNE

Chris DunlavyMarried for 25 years, Anne and I have two children who keep us hopping with schoolwork, and extracurricular activities like tennis, baseball, and basketball. Anne is a 26-year hotel sales and marketing veteran, currently leading the sales initiatives at Marriott IndyPlace, a collection of multiple Marriott brand hotels including the JW Marriott Indianapolis. I am the Programs Outreach and Education Coordinator at Bosma Enterprises, Indiana’s largest non-profit serving those who are blind or visually impaired. There I pursue building relationships with potential employer companies to create job placement opportunities for Bosma clients. There is no argument in our household on which college team to root for – we both have degrees from Purdue University. As long-time Indy residents, we love to explore every nook and cranny of our hometown.

Fun facts about us:

  1. We both love BBQ – Anne chefs up BBQ pork chops with mac ‘n cheese. I have mastered BBQ ribs sided with mashed potatoes.
  2. Our movie favorites are more east and west – “Princess Bride” for Anne, “Gladiator” for me.
  3. No argument on our favorite teams – find us in the stands rooting for the Colts, Pacers, and Boilermakers.

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