Indianapolis is quickly becoming one of the hottest food cities in America. A destination for true foodies who are interested in everything from fine dining to food trucks. This column will put the spotlight on one of these local hot spots to help get the word out and share in the love of all things food.
Review by Dustin Heller (@eatindywatchindie on Instagram)
Kimbal Musk is back, Indy! Just a few months after opening his Mass Ave hot spot, Hedge Row, he turned his attention to South Broad Ripple to open his version of the everyday, affordable American eatery, Next Door. Located at 4573 N College Ave, Next Door prides itself on serving real food from American farmers. Not just American farmers, though, they give back to the local community by sourcing as much as possible from local farmers and purveyors. If you think that is great, they are also dedicated to protecting the environment with practices such as recycling, composting, and wind power. Kimbal Musk and the fine folks at Next Door are doing their best to make a difference in this world, and bringing delicious food to Indy at the same time.
Next Door sets out to do just as its name implies: to be your next door neighbor. The place is lively and upbeat with an open bar and dining area that feels like community. The modern décor is brought to life by all of the natural light pouring in through the windows. The real treasure of Next Door is the oversized patio area. It is the place to be, and anyone who has driven down College since it’s opening knows what I’m talking about. I feel like I’m missing out on something every time I pass.
If you couldn’t have guessed by now, the food at Next door is always fresh and prepared from scratch every day. They accomplish this by using the finest ingredients available and changing the menu seasonally. The menu has the characteristics of a local diner…from soup and salad, to burgers and bowls. They also have a tasty selection of appetizers…more on that in a minute. The majority of their dishes can be prepared as gluten-free and they also offer a number of vegetarian and vegan items for the non-meat eaters out there. With that intro out of the way, let me get to the four items that you “can’t miss” when visiting Next Door.
- Buffalo Chicken Bites…I’ll admit it, I’m a Buffalo wing purist. What is a Buffalo wing purist, you ask? Well, I wholeheartedly believe a chicken wing should have a bone in it. Now hold on just a second…that doesn’t mean that I still don’t love the boneless variety. I’d put the Next Door Buffalo bites up against any in town. The chicken comes from Miller Amish Country Poultry in Northern Indiana, and these bites are plump and juicy with a crispy, peppery breading. They are placed on top of blue cheese dressing and then coated with their house buffalo sauce and blue cheese crumbles. Try to not lick the plate clean!
- Garlic & Parmesan Smashers…While we’re on the topic of starters, get a load of these beauties. Bite-sized fingerling potatoes covered in garlic butter and topped with fresh parmesan and parsley. Seems simple enough, but just wait til that first bite. Sometimes less is more…I can get on board with that in regards to ingredients, but not when it comes to quantity. Gimme the entire plate!
- Slow Cooked Meatballs…I’m gonna start by saying that the grilled broccolini in this dish is of the “can’t miss” variety all by itself. The meatballs are slow cooked to ensure maximum taste and tenderness; then they are placed atop a bed of parmesan popcorn grits. They are then finished off with a generous portion of house-made marinara and the aforementioned grilled broccolini & house almond gremolata. It all comes together so perfectly.
- Pineapple Express…You know I’m gonna love a burger that shares the same name as a Seth Rogan/James Franco movie. All good burgers have to start with a quality hamburger patty! Therefore, the burgers at Next Door use Indiana’s own Fischer Farms dry aged black angus beef. The burger is topped with Swiss cheese, a perfectly grilled pineapple ring, arugla, and a honey sriracha sauce that brings the heat and the sweet. For good measure, they add some Fischer Farms bacon to this masterpiece. “I look like Hamburglar!…Pineapple Express quote (wink, wink).