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Sidebars: 'A Taste of Europe' found in Indianapolis

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Sprinkled throughout Northwest Indiana are places like this. In Merrillville alone there are three within a 2-mile radius of U.S. 30 and Broadway. Generally owned by first- or second-generation broken English or heavily accented Greeks, Serbians, or Italians, these places offer a refreshing reminder of the diversity of our culture and the melting pot foundation upon which it rests. Until recently, the Indianapolis area boasted none that I am aware of, so I was tickled pink to stumble across A Taste of Europe one evening after taking my son, Anthony, to his Zionsville karate practice. Let me proudly restate that as my 9-year-old black belt candidate son, Anthony.

This place isn’t near a courthouse, but its location, tucked away about a block or two west of 96th Street on Michigan Road on the northwest side of Indianapolis, is an easy digression from the well-traveled I-465. Nor is it really a restaurant, although by the end of summer 2011 they plan to evolve into a fully functioning deli serving made to order sandwiches. Today, it is an imported food or grocery store. Not at all large in terms of square footage, the place is efficiently packed with deli and grocery items, some of which you are familiar with and most of which you aren’t.

The sign in front of the store advertises free samples. That is an understatement. The Serbian owners, who travel daily from Crown Point while their son manages their sister store on the square there, generously provide you with enough samples of meats, sausages, cheeses, peppers, and breads that put the nearby big box Costco to shame and leave you feeling satisfied, if not even full. They serve European pastries and candies, cookies, and yes, baklava.

If you are a feta cheese fan, let me give you a hot tip. There is nothing like bulk Bulgarian feta cheese in terms of richness and sharpness of flavor. This is where the store loses some marks as its feta selections are pre-packaged and fail to measure up to the bulk variety. The owners plan an expanded deli case so perhaps they will add to their cheese variety by including bulk feta cheeses.

There is a dying tradition in ’Da Region. While growing up you used to be able to go to about any bar or independent restaurant and order one pound of barbeque lamb served with bread, feta, green onions, and olives. The lamb was prepared off site by the Serbians, roasting about 150 whole lambs every week. There are still a few places that do this if you know where to go. At a Taste of Europe you can custom order BBQ lamb making that option alone worthy of your support.

So if you want to visit a truly niche store, stop by a Taste of Europe. If you are hosting a party, they will prepare a party tray that your guests will simply rave about and then ask you what it was they just ate. Even Jenny’s Wonder bread palette will like this place, so I’ll drag her there to check it out sometime. I’m sure you will enjoy it too. A Taste of Europe, 4320 West 96th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46268. (317-334-8797).•

Fred Vaiana and Jennifer M. Lukemeyer practice at Voyles Zahn Paul Hogan & Merriman in Indianapolis, focusing in criminal defense. Vaiana is a 1992 graduate of the John Marshall Law School in Chicago. Lukemeyer earned her J.D. from Southern Methodist University in 1994 and is active in the Indianapolis Bar Association, Indianapolis Inn of Courts, and the Teen Court Program. The opinions expressed in this column are the authors’.
 

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  1. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  2. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  3. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  4. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  5. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

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