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Restaurants & Bars 6

Chicago-Indy-Dayton: Graeter's, Pretzels, Mexican, Korean, et al.

Aaron D | Apr 9, 200301:15 AM

No strudel unfortunately. I’m never quite sure where to put these follow-ups–in the original thread, start a new, or in this case as a response to Artie’s Chicago to Columbus question. I suppose I’ll start anew.

First, thanks Steve and mrnyc for your tips. The Heidelberg Café seemed a promising lead and was indeed right off the highway, but alas was closed by 40 minutes at 7:40 Friday night when we pulled up. We continued east down Pendleton Pike, however, and encountered Sol de Mexico, a promising-looking alternative to fast food. Well, an alternative at least. It didn’t look particularly promising except that it is rare to find something different so close on a long-distance trip. Being a Lenten Friday, my wife and I both ordered a combination plate of a cheese enchilada, chile relleno, rice and beans. Nothing blew me away, but the place was very friendly and the food was all very enjoyable. The cheesiness of the meal was a bit much, but the flavors were good and it was a welcome departure from typical traveling fare. The menu, by the way, was quite extensive, and included posole, caldo de res, menudo (don’t know why I remember the soups)–things that singalled this might be a worthy place beyond our limited tastes. I really don’t know what the Indianapolis Mexican food scene holds. For what it’s worth, there was another restaurant in the same strip mall I think called Bando, which the script and frosted windows led me to believe was Korean.

We didn’t end up going out to eat in Dayton, but still have a few things to report. The friends we visited live just a block from K & R Pretzel Bakery, a shop about the size of a small house in a residential neighborhood that sells a large variety of candy in addition to the hard and soft pretzels made in back. While I say “in back”, I mostly just mean in back of the counter as the place is so small and the entire operation is visible upon walking in the door. Very cool to see two people grabbing the appropriate lengths of dough and knotting them into pretzels while the misshapen, too long, and two short sections fall off the conveyor belt into a mass of supposed refuse that is occasionally re-fed to the pretzel dough rolling machine. And to the side, another woman took trays of tied pretzels and sent them through a bath of water and caustic soda and through the oven. I’m no pretzel expert but they came out hot and delicious. The hard pretzels were good two and all the bags were packaged such that you could pick how well done (burned, very light, and various grades in between) and how salty you wanted your pretzels. This is a very small place that is about one thing really: making pretzels. This devotion is impressive, and I hope this small shop keeps it up and gets the support it deserves. They’re open Tues. to Friday 8-4 and Saturday 11-4. They also make popcorn and sugar wheel waffles (or something–quite good also for what they were) on premises. Definitely worth a look.

And very close by is a grocery called Dot’s Market. Our friends said this place is known for its meat, and the bacon they cooked up on Saturday morning was a completely different breed from the standard-issue supermarket brands and at $2.49/lb. substantially cheaper. We were prepared to buy some bacon to bring home, in fact, but at 11:30 on Sunday morning we were the 22nd people in line at the meat counter. Unbelievable. I also saw people leaving with whole wheels of Colby cheese for less than $10.

While we didn’t wait for bacon and brats (also reportedly exceptional), we did make a stop at the famed Graeter’s for ice cream on the way out of town. Moreso than Kopp’s even (which was very good), I thought this place lived up to they hype. The black raspberry chocolate chunk ice cream was unlike any I’ve had. The ice cream alone was wonderful and wonderfully rich. The chocolate chunks were literally melt-in-your mouth delicious, my wife said like chocolate truffles amidst the ice cream. I had a Swiss sundae that was still delicious, but when I go back it will be a cone with chunky ice cream no question. I believe that Graeter’s is fairly new to Dayton and the Oakwood suburb (suburb being a relative term in a town Dayton’s size) in which it was located was quite charming.

Indianapolis–All three of these places are within a half mile of Exit 42 on the stretch of I-465 that connects I-65 south from Chicago to I-70 west to Dayton/Columbus.

Cafe Heidelberg
7625 Pendleton Pike
Indianapolis, IN
317 547-1230

Sol de Mexico
8015 Pendleton Pike (at Franklin Road)
Indianapolis, IN 46226

Bando Korean and Japanese Restaurant
8015 East Pendleton Pike
Indianapolis, IN 46226
(A little web surfing revealed this as a promising place–Korean BBQ, dolsot bibimbop (sp?), et al.)


K & R Pretzel Bakery
1700 Flesher Avenue
Kettering, OH 45420

Dot’s Market
2274 Patterson Road (at Waterlivet)
Kettering, OH 45420

2412 Far Hills Avenue
Oakwood, OH

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