Milktooth – Indianapolis, IN: The early bird gets the grub
They’ve barely been open twelve months, but the accolades keep coming for Milktooth in Indianapolis. When the restaurant welcomed their first guests in early October 2014, little could they anticipate all the prestigious awards they would win in their first year. In a few short months, Food & Wine Magazine named John Brooks as one of the nation’s Top 10 Chefs. Bon Appétit Magazine, meanwhile, gave them props for being one of their Top 10 New Restaurants and featuring a Top 10 Best Dessert of 2015.
What started as a way for owners John & Ashley Brooks to spend more evenings at home with their 3-year old – has blossomed into Indianapolis’ new Mecca for “creative morning fare”. Coffee and pastries are served from 7am-9am – with their ever-changing brunch-centric menu available from 9am-3pm. “From day one we were busy and we keep getting busier,” said General Manager Liz Foster. “Every single weekend is busier than the last.”
The eatery is located in Indy’s burgeoning Fountain Square neighborhood where everything old is suddenly new again – this was the genesis behind Milktooth’s locale. They found an old, abandoned auto repair shop near downtown that featured plenty of ambient light. They then proceeded to reinvent the wheel (pun intended). “John liked the space. It had been abandoned, closed for two years,” said Foster. Getting the space up to code was no small feat. “We were scrubbing oil and mopping the floor a million times.”
Well before the doors opened to the public, the owners scooped up a collective who’s-who of Indy’s premiere wait staff. “We’ve got a great little community of service professionals, musicians and artists working here,” said Foster. Now the staff caters to the whims of folks who can appreciate that a farm-to-table breakfast is the most important meal of the day. “The ingredients here are rare,” said server Natalie Myers. “We use as much locally-sourced food as humanly possible. It’s not as intimidating as people think.”
Try telling that to the everyday layman expecting a standard Denver omelet. “We’ve heard about this place for months,” said first-timer Josh Looney. “When we saw today’s menu – we had a ‘divide and conquer’ mentality about it. So many unique choices, so little time.”
Be warned: the wait for a table can be healthy on the weekends. If you want an opportunity to partake of their insane pastry menu, you better get their well before noon; since they switch up ingredients every day – when they’re out they’re out. By the time we visited, gone were the Indian Shrimp & Hot Lime Dutch Baby Pancakes. The Cranberry Walnut & Raclette Grilled Cheese was also MIA – not to mention a slew of fresh-baked scones and rolls. Never fear, though … the adults-only Peanut Butter Sandwich with roasted bluefoot mushrooms, Thai aioli, stilton, serranos and radish was still available and jaw-droppingly good.
“You can tell the restaurant painstakingly puts thought in to all the dishes,” said another newbie Jenna Frankfurt, who noshed on a lamb burger. “Plus, all the juices are fresh-squeezed right in front of you – and the coffee drinks appear not to be for the weak of heart.” (She’s right – as several patrons waiting in line warned, a few caffeinated selections have been known to give people “the shakes … but in a good way.”)
Since the menu changes early and often – sometimes by the hour – you’re always destined to find something inspired. And if you have questions … go for it. The seasoned staff can point you in the right direction. “We’re not pretentious,” said Myers. “We’re here to teach.”
Need recommendations? That’s the easiest part. “Whatever is ‘of the moment’ … or seasonal is my current favorite,” said Foster. “Whatever is the special … is special.”
You can find Milktooth located at 534 Virginia Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46203. For details on their ever-changing daily menu, visit www.milktoothindy.com. The restaurant is closed on Tuesdays.
Other nearby MyFavePlaces you may want to check out:
Children's Museum of Indianapolis: 3000 N Meridian Street - At nearly 1 million square feet, it wins the prize for being the largest children’s museum in the world. Lots to see and do – but once you spy the fully-restored antique carousel, it’s all over.
Henry’s Coffee Bistro, 627 East Street - Heaven forbid you still need a java jolt after Milktooth … but this local coffee Mecca is open until 7pm (and Tuesdays too). Plenty of cushy outdoor seating and superfast wireless to boot.