Acapulco Joe’s

This is a popular downtown institution. Legend has it that Joe took a bus from the border intending to go to Minneapolis, but instead boarded the bus to the similar-sounding Indianapolis, and stayed put once he arrived. Whatever the details, it’s a pretty good place to meet after work.

Salsa comes in ketchup-style squeeze bottles, so creepy double-dipping party members are not a problem, if you’re the compulsive type. Christopher’s two favorite Mexican “indicator dishes,” as he calls them, may not be quite what one would normally expect: the chile rellenos are actually jalapeños (rather than the more common poblano), and the tamales are large, moist, and served unwrapped. And the margaritas are good.

Open Sundays for Colts games only.

Queen of Sheba

Alas, rising property taxes drove this charming Ethiopian restaurant away…and we only enjoyed the traditional meal once. Sigh. Fragrant incense and hot teas made for a truly immersive dinner experience (that, and the fact that the waitress, who was very nice, did accidentally drop some food on my pants). We asked if they would reopen at another location, but we haven’t heard of any new spots in town where you can scoop food out of a large communcal drum with thin pieces of tangy bread. Too bad.

Elbow Room Pub & Deli

Owned by the same folks who take credit for the Aristocrat and Union Jack’s, the Elbow Room serves equally tasty food with a break from standard pub fare. Try Sunday brunch with live jazz. Their omelettes rank up there (though not nearly to Cafe Patachou standards) and the begnies (I know I spelled that wrong) are tasty as well. Plus, who can resist cheese, potatoes, and onions on a Sunday morning?


A quaint little cafe in historic downtown Irvington serves homemade soups and sandwiches. Plus, all their lunches come with cheetos!

The Claddagh Irish Pub

Good beer, yes (what traditional Irish pub would be complete without a big tall pint of Guinness?), but forgettable food. What do I remember about the Claddaugh? Some 18-year-old girl wanted to used the restroom during the lunch hour, and they wouldn’t let her in. Nice.