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.
The menu at El Taco King is printed in English and Spanish, a hint at the culinary roots of the burritos, enchiladas, and tacos therein. In the kitchen, chefs sear steak, pork, and chicken for tacos, along with less common butcher selections such as goat, tripe, and head meat. Bottles of wheat-hued Mexican beers clink together with the sound of a xylophonist’s tears falling, and happy sighs drift over bowls of flan and fried ice cream.
Behind the old-school facade of Side Street's American Grill, the kitchen prepares a host of classics during lunch and dinner. Exposed brick arches stand out in the casual, family-friendly dining room where their work gets delivered. In business for more than 30 years by the Wheaton family, Side Street– renamed in 1998– was a natural evolution for Chef Wheaton, who had owned and operated his own catering company for more than three decades. From the kitchen, he curates a menu comprised of dishes such as blackened catfish, St. Louis–style ribs, and cajun chicken and mac. Flowers at the table are either a nice decorative touch to complement meals or a wondrous new kind of plant that grows spontaneously when near a salt shaker.
In 1990, a tiny craft workshop in Sorbolo, Italy, began roasting coffee for retail partners. Since then, the workshop has blossomed into a network of cafés across Italy and in the US, including Lino's Coffee. Classic coffee drinks blend espresso with cream syrup and steamed milk, helping diners stay awake after meals without asking a coworker to line their desk chairs with thumbtacks. Besides the coffee drinks, diners can find solid sustenance in the form of whole-grain pasta, hot paninis, and fresh-baked pizzas.