Explorers Club's cozy, 100-year-old brick exterior lends a deceptively comfortable face to the restaurant's constantly experimenting kitchen. Owner Tracy Studer and Chef Dan Varga—both veterans of the late Harold Smith's Gloria Café—root their eatery's fare in playfully updated Latin American food such as chorizo sliders and plantain-topped burgers. Yet, Varga constantly flexes his culinary muscles with unusual menu additions such as his chili-citrus-flavored vegetable lo mein. Monthly menus jet around the globe—614 Magazine notes that after deciding on "a country or cuisine, [Varga] spends months researching the ingredients, history, and flavor profiles, and then experimenting in the kitchen," turning out tributes to Germany, Spain, and his ancestral Hungary. An impressive range of vegan and vegetarian options makes use of soy-based tempeh and tofu, catering to animal-loving humans and self-hating venus flytraps.
Grecos? chefs describe their menu of breakfast and lunch items as ?Indie street food.? Aiming to provide an eclectic range of foods from all over the world, they offer street tacos, sandwiches, salads, and more. The eatery is located inside the main lobby at Longworth Hall, a historical building that once held freight and passenger locomotives. Paying homage to the rich history, Grecos showcases pictures of graffiti plastered across moving trains.
Featured in a New York Times article for joining the movement to bring international cuisine to Indianapolis, Flori Schutt and her son Walter Rivera craft dishes from Cuba, Honduras, and Schutt's homeland of El Salvador. In the kitchen, cooks pile mounds of rice next to plantains and yucca, creating entrees of slow-cooked ropa vieja with shredded beef and rabo encendido. In the dining room, guests can sit down next to murals of the ocean and study a chalkboard of daily specials, such as Honduran-style soup or Cuban-style chicken served in Ernest Hemingway’s favorite hat.