INDIANAPOLIS — As people come off the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s a great time to be excited about the restaurant scene in the Circle City.

Food & Wine magazine called Indianapolis one of “America’s next great food cities” in a recent article. The article said Indy is a “food city worth traveling to” based on diversity, quality, affordability and the mix of personalities making up what Indy has to offer.

”The food scene here is evolving, and I think we’re definitely in the middle of a boom,” said Hugo Cano, the owner of Amberson Coffee and Grocer.

Cano opened Amberson almost two years ago after moving to Indy.

”We just do what we love which is coffee, and people seem to like that so that makes us happy,” he said.

Cano and his shop were recognized in the Food & Wine magazine.

”I think that Indianapolis is probably under the radar, and it’s awesome to see that Food & Wine would bring that up to the forefront because I definitely think that food scene here is amazing,” Cano said.

Part of what makes the Indy restaurant industry so great, according to Food & Wine, is the diversity it’s made up of. Cano is part of that diversity and appreciates the customers who are willing to try something new.

”People are very open to trying different stuff in Indy, and that really helps a lot because that promotes diversity not only in the food that is produced but the people who own it,” Cano said. “It gives people like us, who are minorities, a chance to share our own vision and have people be welcoming to it.”

Along with Amberson Coffee and Grocer, Gallery Pastry Bar, Amelias’s Bread, Bluebeard, The Commodore, Garage Food Hall and Amp were also recognized as great food and drink spots in the Circle City.

Food halls like The Garage and AMP help to launch the next wave of restaurateurs. The AMP was featured in the Food & Wine article for “helping minority-owned concepts with low rents and creative freedom.”

Libby Baert, the manager at the Tinker Coffee Co. Cafe in The Amp, said it’s a great place to work with other restaurants.

”It allows for such a unique collaboration between all of us under one roof,” said Baert.

Baert said food halls make the process of opening a restaurant easier for first-time restaurateurs.

”It’s more of a food incubator,” Baert said. “Look around, see all of these people, most of the time this is a first-time [restaurateur] owning a space of their own in a place like this.”

Food & Wine said another aspect helping to grow the Indy food scene: welcoming in new voices while still supporting those who have been here for decades.

”A lot of the new entrepreneurs have been fostered, supported and frankly learned a lot from our established restaurateurs and hospitality leaders,” said Patrick Tamm, the president of the Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association.

Cano and Amberson Coffee and Grocer are one of those newcomers to Indy.

”We’ve had a lot of support from just our local neighborhood here in Fletcher Place and Fountain Square,” said Cano.

Cano sees the recognition the Indy food game is getting as just another positive heading into the summer.

”There is like this buzz, where people just want to go out, have a good time, and we see that,” Cano said.

Indianapolis was featured alongside Cincinnati, Ohio, Boise, Idaho, Omaha, Nebraska, Jersey City, New Jersey, Tucson, Arizona, Charlotte, North Carolina, Bozeman, Montana, Biddeford, Maine, Charlottesville, Virginia and Greenville, South Carolina.

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