Local anesthetic

Nothing around these parts really holds a candle to the authentic Irish pub. Americanized wannabe versions? Forget it. The closest thing I’ve found to the real deal here in Indianapolis would probably have to be the Broad Ripple Brew Pub, but the owner there is English, not Irish, and the two nationalities tend to get a little bent out of shape when you mistake one for the other.

In Ireland, stopping by the pub is the next best thing to parking your butt in your favorite recliner with a nice cold beer at the end of a long day. Maybe even better. The goal of the pub, short for “public house” FYI, is to provide a comfortable, cozy atmosphere not unlike an extension of your own living room where patrons can swing in for a pint, some food, and a chat with friends and neighbors. My Irish in-laws often speak of their “locals” with pride and affection, but it’s hard to find establishments that serve the same purpose stateside in the land of nameless, faceless fast food and soulless chain restaurants. Places where everybody knows your name are few and far between.

After countless visits, meals and drinks, I think hubby and I have established our own local here in Indy. It actually used to be the Broad Ripple Brew Pub; we had our first date there years ago and congregated with friends nearly every Sunday night (and usually at least one additional night each week). Proximity and fondness have since led us to Sahm’s Place, just east of Broad Ripple and within quick walking distance from our home.

Can’t remember exactly when we started to hang out at Sahm’s Place on a regular basis, but it had to have been several years ago when I was pregnant with our son. I was on bed rest for a good three months, and hubby started frequenting the joint. This arrangement worked well — hubby could get out for a break, still be right around the corner if needed, and grab a take-out for me on the way home. Once I was finally mobile again, I recall walking to Sahm’s when the weather broke in April. Heavily pregnant and trying desperately to kick-start my labor, I sat at the bar panting, trying to catch my breath and jealously watching hubby enjoy a beer.

Since those days, one or the other of us has visited Sahm’s probably once a week. It’s become hubby’s regular Wednesday night hang with the guys, we often take our three-year-old in for meals, and I have been known to stop in solo on occasion for dinner. It’s our go-to. They know us there. Heck, they seem to know everybody there. Last night, hardly a soul came in without receiving a personal greeting and hearty handshake. The servers are impressed by the toddler’s ordering abilities. How many little boys do you know can stop in somewhere and ask for “the usual,” knowing he’ll promptly receive a glass of sparkling water with a slice of cucumber? I love that.

Sahm’s Place is one of a handful of Sahm’s locations scattered around town. My cousin Jenny, who lives in Fishers, first turned me on to the franchise way back when. We would stop in the eatery at Allisonville and 116th, and it quickly became “our place.” She even ordered chicken salad sandwiches from there for my baby shower buffet. Sahm’s is cool like that. There’s something about it that feels very homey — definitely the food, but also the fact that it’s family-owned. It’s just the kind of all-around place you can hang out in to watch the game, bring your family for dinner, or meet a girlfriend for lunch or a glass of wine.

Sited in a small strip just in front of Kroger at 65th and Keystone, I almost feel like Sahm’s Place flies a little under the radar, although maybe that’s not accurate to say because it’s usually quite busy whenever we stop in. When you say Sahm’s, most Indy folks probably think of the original flagship Fishers location or the downtown spot, but Sahm’s Place more than holds its own.

view from the end of the bar at Sahm's Place

There is a full-service restaurant section, but we always sit on the bar side. The bar itself is partitioned off by half-walls, so we can still bring the little guy in with us to sit at one of the tables along the far wall. Although there are plenty of good old familiar domestic beer options, I like that Sahm’s puts an emphasis on local and regional craft beers as well. It’s one of the few places that hubby goes in and just asks for whatever they think he’ll like.

Foodwise, the wide-ranging Sahm’s menu covers all the bases for lunch and dinner. If you can’t find something to eat here, you’re just not trying. There’s a good selection of salads, each served with a slice of Sahm’s signature coffeecake for a little sweet treat bonus on the side. I often order the Southwest chicken salad, a huge bowl of fresh lettuce, tomato, cheese, olives and tortilla strips with a spicy grilled chicken breast atop. The double whammy of salsa ranch and creamy lime dressings on the side really make it, though. I could drink both of these out of the ramekins.

buffalo chicken sandwich with carrot curls and a Sun King Wee Mac

The hefty sandwich selections are more than filling, and that’s what we went for last night. I particularly like the buffalo chicken, the breaded tenderloin (this is Indiana, after all), and the spinach melt. On the side? Skip the fries and go for the carrot curls. Think potato chips made from carrot. Yum. Yum. Yum.

the ubiquitous Indiana pork tenderloin

There’s also pasta, stir fry and a handful of entrée items to consider. Sahm’s does a very respectable steak dinner at a good price — ask for your New York strip served Pittsburgh-style on a sizzling platter, and watch the heads turn as the meat wafts its way through the dining room to your table.

Sahm’s offers a number of specials and a Tuesday night pub quiz that’s worth checking out, best to show up early to grab a seat. Hold the phone — Sahm’s serves breakfast, too??? This is definitely something I need to explore…

For more information: 

Sahm’s Place

http://www.sahms.com/index.php?cID=71

Sahm’s Place on Urbanspoon

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Beam me up, Scotty’s

For the past month or so, hubby has developed a habit of taking the toddler out to the pub for a cold beverage and some daddy-son bonding so I can enjoy some uninterrupted work time. The Broad Ripple Brew Pub and Sahm’s have always been our go-tos, but they’ve lately been usurped by a newcomer on the Broad Ripple scene – Thr3e Wise Men.

Part of the Scotty’s Brewhouse enterprise, Thr3e Wise Men opened earlier this spring. We’d watched it slowly take shape in the old Sunflower Market building for months before that, with huge brewing vats nearly big enough to resemble farm silos. I finally made it to said establishment with my guys just a week or so ago to check it out for myself.

Inside, Thr3e Wise Men looks unfinished – light wood walls, exposed beams, views of the brewing apparatus through windows, beer barrel tabletops, picnic tables and silverware wrapped in hand towels instead of napkins (a detail that strikes me as slightly crass). On the upside, it’s airy, clean and family-friendly, which is great news for parents who enjoy beer.

For my inaugural visit, hubby and I visited alone, having snagged a brief babysitting respite from our generous neighbors. We were seated inside at a table in the corner. The menu isn’t big, mainly just pizzas and a few appetizers. This is, first and foremost, a brewing facility, after all. Food here seems to be treated as something to complement the beer. This isn’t to say the food is bad, quite the contrary.

The beer selection covers a good range of flavors and styles – everything from IPAs to an Irish stout and even a porter made with locally produced Hubbard & Cravens coffee. Interesting. I had my eye on the Naptown Nut Brown, but the server then told me they were out of it, along with a couple of the other offerings. So I narrowed my sights to the Two Lucys blackberry wheat and the Sanctaneous hefeweizen. The server was kind enough to bring me a small taste of each to help me make up my mind. In retrospect, I really should have just ordered a sampler. Maybe next time.

(A quick side note – I want to have a job thinking up names for microbrewed beers. This seems like the next best thing to working for a cosmetics company and coming up with cutesy call signs for nail polish and lipstick colors.)

Snow Bunny Blonde and Two Lucys Blackberry Wheat

I enjoyed my pint of blackberry porter, nicely light and refreshing with a bright tangy fruit flavor. Hubby’s partial to the Snow Bunny Blonde, and has been filling up growlers regularly to bring home ever since he discovered it. A small complaint, though, the pints here aren’t true pints. We have been spoiled in this category by the Brew Pub, which serves full Imperial pints as opposed to the smaller faux-pints you get at Thr3e Wise Men. Obviously, this makes the Thr3e Wise Men beer a little more expensive as well.

Hubby and I were only intending to have a drink, not dinner, but we ended up filling up on the snacky apps and calling it a meal. Every table receives a free bucket of fresh popcorn, for starters. The housemade thick-sliced potato chips are awesome and addictive, tossed in a salty house seasoning mix. And, you get a HUGE baking sheet full of them for a mere $3. If this isn’t one of the best deals in town, I don’t know what is. You can also order them loaded with bacon and blue cheese sauce for $6.

housemade chips and popcorn

By the time hubby and I had chowed our way through the chips, we were already more than halfway there to a full dinner anyway, so we went ahead and ordered a pizza as well. Hubby’s tried some of the flatbread pizzas here and pronounced them quite good, but something called a hummus pizza piqued my interest, described on the menu as a freshly baked pizza crust with roasted red pepper hummus and a cucumber relish. Of course, the cucumber relish contained onions, so we asked for it on the side. Yummy – this was really a full-sized pizza with some innovative toppings, and although hubby wouldn’t touch the cucumber topping, I loved it. Oh, and the whole pizza was only $7.

Other items rounding out the Thr3e Wise Men menu include wings, breadsticks, a tableside tossed chopped salad and fried pickle chips (I still can’t decide whether these sound tasty or horrifying). For dessert, a short list of choices includes carrot cake, German chocolate cake and elephant ears.

All in all, a great first experience. We even ran into our friends Bart and Pete at the bar, an added bonus!

We revisited Thr3e Wise Men yesterday around 4:30 p.m. with the whole family in tow, intending once again to just have a drink. This time, we sat outside watching the traffic go by on busy Broad Ripple Avenue (railings kept the boys safely contained so we could relax). The boys loved the lemonade served in little plastic astronaut cups, and again, by the time we’d all plowed our way through the popcorn and another platterful of chips, we’d filled up enough for dinner.

Thr3e Wise Men seems to have a good thing going here, and is a welcome shot in the arm to a Broad Ripple microbrewery scene that was really in need of a little healthy competition.

For more info:

http://www.thr3ewisemen.com/

Thr3e Wise Men Brewing Co. on Urbanspoon

Beam me up, Scotty's

For the past month or so, hubby has developed a habit of taking the toddler out to the pub for a cold beverage and some daddy-son bonding so I can enjoy some uninterrupted work time. The Broad Ripple Brew Pub and Sahm’s have always been our go-tos, but they’ve lately been usurped by a newcomer on the Broad Ripple scene – Thr3e Wise Men.

Part of the Scotty’s Brewhouse enterprise, Thr3e Wise Men opened earlier this spring. We’d watched it slowly take shape in the old Sunflower Market building for months before that, with huge brewing vats nearly big enough to resemble farm silos. I finally made it to said establishment with my guys just a week or so ago to check it out for myself.

Inside, Thr3e Wise Men looks unfinished – light wood walls, exposed beams, views of the brewing apparatus through windows, beer barrel tabletops, picnic tables and silverware wrapped in hand towels instead of napkins (a detail that strikes me as slightly crass). On the upside, it’s airy, clean and family-friendly, which is great news for parents who enjoy beer.

For my inaugural visit, hubby and I visited alone, having snagged a brief babysitting respite from our generous neighbors. We were seated inside at a table in the corner. The menu isn’t big, mainly just pizzas and a few appetizers. This is, first and foremost, a brewing facility, after all. Food here seems to be treated as something to complement the beer. This isn’t to say the food is bad, quite the contrary.

The beer selection covers a good range of flavors and styles – everything from IPAs to an Irish stout and even a porter made with locally produced Hubbard & Cravens coffee. Interesting. I had my eye on the Naptown Nut Brown, but the server then told me they were out of it, along with a couple of the other offerings. So I narrowed my sights to the Two Lucys blackberry wheat and the Sanctaneous hefeweizen. The server was kind enough to bring me a small taste of each to help me make up my mind. In retrospect, I really should have just ordered a sampler. Maybe next time.

(A quick side note – I want to have a job thinking up names for microbrewed beers. This seems like the next best thing to working for a cosmetics company and coming up with cutesy call signs for nail polish and lipstick colors.)

Snow Bunny Blonde and Two Lucys Blackberry Wheat

I enjoyed my pint of blackberry porter, nicely light and refreshing with a bright tangy fruit flavor. Hubby’s partial to the Snow Bunny Blonde, and has been filling up growlers regularly to bring home ever since he discovered it. A small complaint, though, the pints here aren’t true pints. We have been spoiled in this category by the Brew Pub, which serves full Imperial pints as opposed to the smaller faux-pints you get at Thr3e Wise Men. Obviously, this makes the Thr3e Wise Men beer a little more expensive as well.

Hubby and I were only intending to have a drink, not dinner, but we ended up filling up on the snacky apps and calling it a meal. Every table receives a free bucket of fresh popcorn, for starters. The housemade thick-sliced potato chips are awesome and addictive, tossed in a salty house seasoning mix. And, you get a HUGE baking sheet full of them for a mere $3. If this isn’t one of the best deals in town, I don’t know what is. You can also order them loaded with bacon and blue cheese sauce for $6.

housemade chips and popcorn

By the time hubby and I had chowed our way through the chips, we were already more than halfway there to a full dinner anyway, so we went ahead and ordered a pizza as well. Hubby’s tried some of the flatbread pizzas here and pronounced them quite good, but something called a hummus pizza piqued my interest, described on the menu as a freshly baked pizza crust with roasted red pepper hummus and a cucumber relish. Of course, the cucumber relish contained onions, so we asked for it on the side. Yummy – this was really a full-sized pizza with some innovative toppings, and although hubby wouldn’t touch the cucumber topping, I loved it. Oh, and the whole pizza was only $7.

Other items rounding out the Thr3e Wise Men menu include wings, breadsticks, a tableside tossed chopped salad and fried pickle chips (I still can’t decide whether these sound tasty or horrifying). For dessert, a short list of choices includes carrot cake, German chocolate cake and elephant ears.

All in all, a great first experience. We even ran into our friends Bart and Pete at the bar, an added bonus!

We revisited Thr3e Wise Men yesterday around 4:30 p.m. with the whole family in tow, intending once again to just have a drink. This time, we sat outside watching the traffic go by on busy Broad Ripple Avenue (railings kept the boys safely contained so we could relax). The boys loved the lemonade served in little plastic astronaut cups, and again, by the time we’d all plowed our way through the popcorn and another platterful of chips, we’d filled up enough for dinner.

Thr3e Wise Men seems to have a good thing going here, and is a welcome shot in the arm to a Broad Ripple microbrewery scene that was really in need of a little healthy competition.

For more info:

http://www.thr3ewisemen.com/

Thr3e Wise Men Brewing Co. on Urbanspoon