ILNews

Sidebars: Detour off U.S. 31 to Big Mike's Cafe

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

SidebarsI’m going to bend the rules a bit. This place is nowhere near a courthouse but it is not too far off the heavily traveled U.S. 31 corridor in Hamilton County. Nestled in a bland little strip mall just north of 96th Street on College Avenue, Big Mike’s Café is worth the small detour it takes to get there. Having been there for dinner and lunch, the appeal of this place is its variety and quality of the food served.

Owned and operated by Mike Minch, a.k.a. Big Mike, it fulfills a dream of his. The Lake County native held executive chef positions at places such as Shula’s Steak House and Bravo Italian Restaurant before taking the plunge in his own venture and, while still evolving, he is not looking back. While I’ve not had all his menu items, I’ve had enough to know Big Mike puts his heart and soul into every dish and cares deeply that what he serves is something that will bring you back for more.

My first visit was for dinner with my wife, Amy, and our three children. The weather was horrific and we virtually had the place to ourselves. The décor is simple but clean; a large open room with a counter for ordering then sprinkled with wooden table seating. Once you order, the wait staff brings your food. So upon my first visit I wasn’t exactly expecting impressionable food. I was dead wrong.

I mentioned variety earlier. Big Mike’s serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The breakfast items range from fruit and granola to full-fledged skillet breakfasts with eggs Benedict and omelets in between. The lunch items include soups, salads, pastas, baked pastas, and a heaping variety of sandwiches, including, I understand, some stellar burgers. There is also a salad, soup, pizza, and pasta bar for lunch. The dinner selections include any lunch item plus regular or deep-dish pizza. Dinner also includes entrees such as Boston crab crusted tilapia, pork loin with garlic and herbs, or beef tenderloin with mushroom risotto, to name just a few. In short, there’s something to please every palette here.

For our dinner Amy and I split a pizza. My half was sausage while hers was spinach, garlic, and ricotta cheese. The crust is outstanding and among the best I’ve had in the city. The toppings were top notch also and strike you in a way that tells you on some day you’ll want to come back. The kids ate heaps of fettuccini Alfredo and spaghetti and meatballs. Mike graced us with a platter of homemade cannoli and brownies for dessert that sealed the deal on a return family visit.

You may recall from a few of my past columns my affinity for Chicago-style Italian beef. Mike shared with me that an Urbanspoon critic once posted on the site that he would “take a bullet” for Big Mike’s Italian beef. This piqued my curiosity and upon my return lunchtime visit I had to see what all the fuss was about.

This was a solo visit as Jenny was unavailable to join me. Italian beef is a thinly sliced beef wonderfully seasoned and served dripping in au jus on baguette-style bread with accompanying sweet or hot peppers or giardiniera. The bread is as equally vital to the success of this sandwich as is the beef. It must contain a soft yet durable inside that can support the juicy beef. The crust should be crunchy but easy to bite. Space limitations prevent me from fully describing the sandwich Big Mike serves, but let’s just say while it’s the best Italian beef I’ve had in Indianapolis, it still doesn’t steal me away from some of my Chicago favorites.

Noticeably lacking from the menu is a beer or wine option. Upon my return lunchtime visit I was pleased to note a pending alcoholic beverage permit application. Food of this quality cries out for an accompanying glass of wine or perhaps an Indiana craft beer alongside the meal. It’s all part of Big Mike’s evolution. So, take the detour toward great food that’s far from ordinary. Big Mike will appreciate it. Big Mike’s Café, 9611 College Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46280. 317-571-1000.•
__________

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’.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
2015 Distinguished Barrister &
Up and Coming Lawyer Reception

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 • 4:30 - 7:00 pm
Learn More


ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. A traditional parade of attorneys? Really Evansville? Y'all need to get out more. When is the traditional parade of notaries? Nurses? Sanitation workers? Pole dancers? I gotta wonder, do throngs of admiring citizens gather to laud these marching servants of the constitution? "Show us your billing records!!!" Hoping some video gets posted. Ours is not a narcissistic profession by any chance, is it? Nah .....

  2. My previous comment not an aside at court. I agree with smith. Good call. Just thought posting here a bit on the if it bleeds it leads side. Most attorneys need to think of last lines of story above.

  3. Hello everyone I'm Gina and I'm here for the exact same thing you are. I have the wonderful joy of waking up every morning to my heart being pulled out and sheer terror of what DCS is going to Throw at me and my family today.Let me start from the !bebeginning.My daughter lost all rights to her 3beautiful children due to Severe mental issues she no longer lives in our state and has cut all ties.DCS led her to belive that once she done signed over her right the babies would be with their family. We have faught screamed begged and anything else we could possibly due I hired a lawyer five grand down the drain.You know all I want is my babies home.I've done everything they have even asked me to do.Now their saying I can't see my grandchildren cause I'M on a prescription for paipain.I have a very rare blood disease it causes cellulitis a form of blood poisoning to stay dormant in my tissues and nervous system it also causes a ,blood clotting disorder.even with the two blood thinners I'm on I still Continue to develop them them also.DCS knows about my illness and still they refuse to let me see my grandchildren. I Love and miss them so much Please can anyone help Us my grandchildren and I they should be worrying about what toy there going to play with but instead there worrying about if there ever coming home again.THANK YOU DCS FOR ALL YOU'VE DONE. ( And if anyone at all has any ideals or knows who can help. Please contact (765)960~5096.only serious callers

  4. He must be a Rethuglican, for if from the other side of the aisle such acts would be merely personal and thus not something that attaches to his professional life. AND ... gotta love this ... oh, and on top of talking dirty on the phone, he also, as an aside, guess we should mention, might be important, not sure, but .... "In addition to these allegations, Keaton was accused of failing to file an appeal after he collected advance payment from a client seeking to challenge a ruling that the client repay benefits because of unreported income." rimshot

  5. I am not a fan of some of the 8.4 discipline we have seen for private conduct-- but this was so egregious and abusive and had so many points of bad conduct relates to the law and the lawyer's status as a lawyer that it is clearly a proper and just disbarment. A truly despicable account of bad acts showing unfit character to practice law. I applaud the outcome.

ADVERTISEMENT