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Shapiro's Deli - Indianapolis


Sweet Willie
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Had lunch today at Shapiro’s Deli on Meridian St. in Indianapolis.

Chose a corned beef/pastrami combo sandwich on rye so I could try both meats, also had a side of chopped chicken liver and marinated mushrooms.

The corned beef was good, the better of the two meats.

I wondered if they cook their own meats here. I ask the question because I went to the take out area afterwards to browse and buy a sesame bagel. In the deli case they had two rows of corned beef, one made from brisket and one from the flat. I used to sell deli meats and this is the first instance that I've seen corned beef offered from multiple beef cuts. They also had lots of Vienna products in the case (retail packs).

Bagel was good, but seeing as I just had some Montreal bagels a week ago, no place in the US would have come close to making the level bagel that Montreal does.

Pickles and mushrooms were up to par as was the chicken liver (perhaps a tad too much onion). Rye bread had caraway seeds and was crusty (the way I like it).

Shapiro's Deli Cafeteria

808 S. Meridian St, Indianapolis

(317) 631-4041.

Also 918 S. Rangeline Road in Carmel

open from 6:45 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily

Meridian location was very easy to get to off of the Interstates, important to me as I was traveling through.

http://www.shapiros.com

"I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be"
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Shapiro's would be a very good deli -- not the very top tier, but a strong second-tier -- if placed in the middle of New York City. For anywhere else in the US, it's a miracle how good it is. I have some photos on file but may not be able to retrieve them until next week.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Found 'em on the laptop. These are maybe 5-6 years old taken with a first-generation consumer digicam, so forgive the quality. I know the downtown store closed and reopened. Does it look the same?

shapin1.jpg

shapin2.jpg

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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  • 2 months later...

Thanks Willie...I remember reading this thread back when you first started it. This almost has me excited about visiting my MIL :biggrin:

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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  • 1 year later...

After nearly 10 years of being married to a Hoosier, I finally made it to Shapiro's this weekend! This cafeteria-style "deli" on Indianapolis' south side, serves a vast variety of hot, cold and bakery items -- everything from matzoh ball soup to macaroni and cheese. Shapiro's bills its fare as "Kosher style."

The place reminds me a lot of Manny's Coffee Shop in Chicago (1141 S. Jefferson St, Chicago). It's a vast 1940's-looking space with linoleum floors, painted wood trim, a drop panel ceiling and fluorescent lighting. Unlike Manny's, Shapiro's is divided into 2 sections; the larger section housing the actual restaurant, with the smaller area serving as a deli-bakery-carry-out shop.

We arrived at 12:30 on Saturday afternoon and were met with a line of customers about 25 deep, which moved very quickly. The cavernous seating area never even came close to filling up as I imagine it does during a typical weekday lunch rush. In total I took 3 runs through the line (one for my son, one for my wife and I and one for dessert) and each time the service was friendly (afterall, this is Indy, not NYC :wink:) and rapid.

Between my multiple trips through the line and the fact that there were 6 of us all willing to share, I got to sample many different items. Sadly, the item I was looking most forward to sampling -- the pastrami reuben -- was fairly disappointing. The meat was flavorful but oh-so-chewy and when I saw my wife's corned beef sandwich, I was struck with an instant case of sandwich envy.

Both sandwiches were about the same size but the reuben was also spoiled for me via the inclusion of way too much sauerkraut. On the other hand, the corned beef sandwich stood proudly on its own and was not "pumped up" by a ridiculously large mound of fermented cabbage. Instead, only an enormous pile of tender, moist, warm corned beef and some seriously delectable Shapiro's rye bread comprised it. Happily, my wife let me try it and it was everything anyone could ever want from a corned beef sandwich . . . a steaming pile of rich, salty, properly-fatty meat in between 2 hand-cut slices of near-perfect rye bread -- warm, tender in the inside and with a delightfully crusty exterior.

I felt like by ordering a reuben, I had made some sort of sacrifice because of both the cabbage count and the chewiness of the pastrami. IMO, the sandwich would have probably been much better if I had simply ordered the corned beef reuben and specified "light kraut." I love sauerkraut, but this was just way to much of it. Who knew?

The rest of the items I sampled were, for the most part, outstanding. The latke was probably the best one I'd ever had outside of someone's home. Its exterior was crispy, golden-brown and delicious. Its interior was tender and savory. This was not made with shredded potatoes but a finely-ground meal, like my grandmother used to make. Other excellent items were the matzoh ball soup and blueberry cheesecake. The dill spear pickles were terrific as were gooey macaroni and cheese and the oniony potato salad.

Other than the sinewy but flavorful pastrami, the only food disappointments were the too mushy deviled eggs and the soft and puffy bagels. My only other minor complaint has to do with plate size. They are way too small -- as you can see in Steven's picture upthread -- the plate was barely big enough to hold the sandwich served upon it. These little plates made the eating experience a bit messier than it would have otherwise been. Oh well, at least they provided me with a convenient excuse. :smile:

Shapiro's Delicatessen

808 S. Meridian Street

Indianapolis, IN 46225

(317) 631-4041

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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As much as I enjoy Shapiro's CB and pastrami (I haven't had the experience others report on the pastrami) some of the hot platters off the steam table are pretty good. In particular, I enjoy the stuffed cabbage. And I agree with assessments of the matzoh ball soup and the latke. For dessert, I always go for the key lime pie: not the best I've ever had, but it just looks so damned good!

Even on weekdays, when the crowds from Eli Lilly pharmaceuticals (whose HQ is nearby) arrive for lunch, the line moves fairly quickly.

I discovered Shapiro's about a dozen years ago when I first started to visit Indianapollis on business; I saw an ad for it in the advertising magazine in my hotel room. My first thought was, "Jewish deli in India-noplace?" Nonetheless, I walked the three or four blocks from my hotel to Shapiro's and quickly had my East Coast bias skewered once again. As Fat Guy noted earlier in this thread, this deli may not be at the top of the class, but it's no embarassment, and far better than most of the delis I can find in Philadelphia.

Of course, when I'm in the Midwest and I want a large, filling, satisfying meal, I go to a steakhosue. In Indianapolis, the place to go is St. Elmo. Like any good steakhouse, it's not cheap, but it is very, very, good. And save room for the chocolate cake.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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I've only been to Shapiro's twice, but it feels like an old friend. I too first learned about it on a business trip: we were litigating the IPALCO v. PSI takeover case in maybe 1993, and our local counsel took us there. None of us jaded New Yorkers could believe how serious the place was. I've been to New York style delis all over the country, and except for a few in the places where you'd expect them to be good (LA, Miami, etc.), they usually suck. Then we went again in maybe 1998 or so, while on a cross-country drive. In both cases, I was feeling displaced and homesick, so Shapiro's was just what the doctor ordered. I can't think how I'm going to find an excuse to get back to Indianapolis any time soon, but I'd like to just to eat there. My wife, whose name is Shapiro, has been trying to figure out if she's related, but it seems the answer is no.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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My wife, whose name is Shapiro, has been trying to figure out if she's related, but it seems the answer is no.

My mother's maiden name was Shapiro... so I've been reading this thread wondering the same thing.... now I'm wondering if I'm related to your wife :blink:

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I've got half a loaf of that GOOOOOOD Shapiro's rye on my kitchen counter right now. One location is a block from DD's work, and the other is right off the interstate, so Hubby's daily treks can "take him right by there" at any time---a constantly reiterated mantra when he's in the mood to bring home a pound of CB and a loaf of rye for dinner.

The rye is a use-it-up staple for us, never discarded or sent out for the backyard birds, as are all loaves of other kinds. The other night at home, we had appetizer of chopped liver on very thin, buttery skillet-toasted sheets of it, then a corned beef sandwich, although we do not apply half as much of the beef as is doled out by those quick-slicing, mustard-spreading line people at the deli.

Our Georgia daughter takes loaves of it home with her, as she became addicted to skillet-toast every morning for breakfast, and we slice and toast for days, right down to that last thin, melba-ed heel of the loaf.

My own favorite sandwich there is chicken salad on an onion roll. The salad is made with roasted chicken, grapes, and a very little bit of mayo. I scrape off half the salad for eating with a fork, (alongside that little bowl of PERFECT potato salad, made with the softest hunks of potato, boiled eggs, tiny bits of crisp onion, and mustardy mayo).

Hubby is a deli-platter man when we eat there---a huge platter of lox, bagels, tomato and onion slices, cream cheese, a mound of chopped liver, and a baseball bat pickle wedge.

The latkes are outstanding, but I've never tried any of the other hot foods on the steam table...though seeing a lot of the regulars tuck into an enormous plate/bowl of the rich yellow buttery-looking chicken noodles tells me that the noodles must be something really special.

And the desserts are wonderful; it's hard to decide, though the key lime anything and the tapioca cups are our usual choice, homey and just right to finish such a heavy meal.

The food and service are just the same as when we came up here 15 years ago, despite the closing and renovations which took quite some time...the staff must have been really loyal or really valuable to wait around that long. The one thing I do wish they'd replace---swap today's canned Coke for those wonderful little glass bottles with ICE in them, like I remember from our first visits. They crackled over the ice in the glass, sparkling up into the air, and were a perfect crisp taste counterpoint to the smooth, salty beef and hearty bread.

I see the yearning in your posts, and wish I could take you ALL downtown for a nosh RIGHT NOW!!!! :wub:

rachel

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Add me to the list of Shapiro lovers in eGullet land. I ate there this week. Had the corned beef on rye with mustard and cheese. A side order of a potato pancake, pickle, and an iced tea. YUM.

How do they make the potato pancake so good? Is it deep fried? It seemed very cake-y to me. I was expecting a mass of shredded potatoes bound by some egg. Very delicious with some applesauce on the side.

I even stopped by the next day for a dozen bagels for the office.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I finally made it to dinner at Shapiro's- I've had their stuff a couple of times but mainly as carry-out. My husband has never eaten there, period. So, I was quite excited, and we spent a long time reading the menu and contemplating the various items on the steam table. Fortunately the restaurant was not busy at all and we could take our time. I ended up with corned beef and swiss on an onion roll, and my husband got the brisket with a couple of side dishes. Not only did he get a piled upon plate, he got two slabs of rye and the monster pickle as well. We were now quite happy diners...The brisket was moist and had deep beefy flavor, and my corned beef was glistening,tender,salty. I think we will be going back soon- need to try their breakfast! Will also have to bring the laptop as they have wireless access too.

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  • 3 weeks later...
I think we will be going back soon- need to try their breakfast! Will also have to bring the laptop as they have wireless access too.

which one did you go to? The one in downtown Indy is a bit devoid of any atmosphere, but I've never been to the Carmel one...

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I think we will be going back soon- need to try their breakfast! Will also have to bring the laptop as they have wireless access too.

which one did you go to? The one in downtown Indy is a bit devoid of any atmosphere, but I've never been to the Carmel one...

We went to the one downtown. No, not much atmosphere, just a straightforward deli/cafeteria line. I can always forgive lack of atmosphere if the food is wonderful.

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  • 1 month later...
The one in downtown Indy...

gallery_15603_1614_6555.jpg

Does it look the same?

shapin1.jpg

They upgraded the chairs.

gallery_15603_1614_44849.jpg

On my third trip to Shapiro's Deli, I finally had the New York Reuben (substitute cole slaw for sauerkraut) with corned beef on rye. The sweetness of the cole slaw made a great tasting sandwich ready better, IMHO. I have had Shapiro's regular reuben with CB and kraut, and I find the New York style more to my liking.

gallery_15603_1614_25389.jpg

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