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The Northside Social’s Lowcountry Cuisine Is a Broad Ripple Favorite

Writer / Seth Johnson

Photographer / Amy Payne

There’s a reason why The Northside Social in Broad Ripple feels so comfortable.

“When we opened, it was very much a northside hangout spot, and that’s sort of what we were thinking of when we came up with the name,” says operating partner Nicole Harlan-Oprisu, who started the restaurant back in 2010 with partners Tim Oprisu (her husband) and Bill Ficca. “We just really wanted to build a place where people that lived and worked in the area would want to come and hang out at and get great food for a decent price.”

Located on the northern end of Broad Ripple Village at 6525 N. College Ave., The Northside Social is an inviting spot where family, friends and neighbors can relax while enjoying a delicious meal or tasty adult beverage. Known for their chic yet relaxing atmosphere, the restaurant specializes in Lowcountry cuisine, which comes from the South Carolina and Georgia coast.

With longstanding roots in the Broad Ripple neighborhood, Nicole and Tim are both also the owners of iconic sports bar Old Pro’s Table. This being said, they are certainly not strangers to the area.

“I used to drive by this building every single day, and I always thought, ‘This would be such a great place for a restaurant,’” Nicole says.

As one thing led to the next, the husband and wife decided to make this dream a reality with help from Ficca (who also owns 317 Burger).

“I think Bill, his wife Nancy, Tim and I all really wanted to build someplace where we wanted to go,” Nicole says. “We were like, ‘It’d be great to have a place that has great food, a great wine list and great beers.’”

Having always served southern style food, The Northside Social crew recently decided to revamp their menu a bit, narrowing their focus to Lowcountry cuisine.

“When we did our menu change in the spring, we really focused down on that coastal Lowcountry cuisine, which is still very French influenced and very Caribbean influenced,” Nicole says. “I think it’s just a better and easier way for us to tell people what we do.”

With strong parallels to New Orleans and Cajun cooking, Lowcountry food is characterized by bold flavors and careful preparation. With their menu, The Northside Social makes sure to use fresh ingredients too.

In looking through The Northside Social food menu, you will find all sorts of delightful dishes.

“We have a menu item called the Lowcountry Boil, which is about as Lowcountry as you can get,” Nicole says. “It’s completely relevant to everything else on our menu.” The Lowcountry Boil is one of many standouts on the menu.

“We are doing smoked peach butter ribs, which is a half rack of ribs,” Nicole says. “We smoke the peaches and make a peach butter. And then, we slow roast the ribs with a rub.”

Another favorite on the menu is the fried chicken confit.

“We treat the chicken three different ways,” Nicole says. “We brine it in pickle brine, we marinate it and then we confit it. So we roast it in duck fat and then we bread it and fry it to order. It’s delicious.”

As far as drinks are concerned, visitors can explore a vast selection of craft beers. “We keep as many local beers on as we can,” Nicole says. “There are so many to choose from now, which is fantastic. We try and keep up with that as much as we possibly can.”

The Northside Social has also evolved in its craft cocktail offerings as well.

“The cocktails have definitely changed as the craft cocktail movement became more popular,” Nicole adds. “Using fresher and more complex ingredients is definitely something that you see in the cocktails that we have now.”

Ultimately, though, Nicole and her Northside Social partners simply want to give back to the Broad Ripple community that has supported them so much over the years.

“It’s important to be able to support the people who support you,” Nicole says. “At the end of the day, the things that we’ve tried to do as a restaurant and as a restaurant group have been to try and have some sort of value added to the neighborhood.”

The Northside Social is located at 6525 N. College Ave. in Broad Ripple. You can visit them online at NorthsideSocial.com and give them a call at 317-253-0111.

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