Long summer evenings seem the perfect time to slow down and treat yourself to a relaxed meal with good company, enjoyed in the open air. Whether you’re aiming for a casual meal or a fine dining experience, Geist boasts some great alfresco ambiance.
At the Marina
- Bella Vita Ristorante
11699 Fall Creek Road/317.598.9011
The Skinny: Geist’s only on-the-water restaurant, with a breathtaking view of the reservoir from its outdoor seating area. Bella Vita frequently features live musicians, and you can even feel the sand between your toes at the Beach Bar with the neon palm trees.
House Specialties: Misto alla Bella Vita ($31) features an array of fresh seafood; Vitello alla Bella Vita ($22) is a baked veal dish infused with flavor.
Price range: Appetizers – $8-13; Lunch Entrees – $9-18 (Fri-Sun); Dinner entrees – $11-33.
- Eddy’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill
11693 Fall Creek Road/317.849.0925
The Skinny: This hometown bar and grill has been labeled the “Cheers of Geist.” Large outdoor patio and friendly service. Good for a casual meal after a day on the lake.
House Specialties: Filet and Portabella Dip sandwich ($12.95) features seared filet medallions and portabella mushrooms; Dave’s Sloppy Joe Nachos ($14.95) is an ample appetizer that combines Mexican flavor with good, old fashioned sloppy joes.
Price Range: Appetizers – $7-$15; Salads & Sandwiches – $8-13; Entrees – $12-26.
- Puccini’s Smiling Teeth
11693 Fall Creek Road/317.842.2356
The Skinny: Pizza and Pasta chain started in Indianapolis featuring enticing pizza toppings and a casual, hip atmosphere.
House Specialties: Shrimp Santori pizza ($18.95, large) features shrimp, sesame chili oil and sun-dried tomatoes; Campfire pizza ($17.95, large) features smoked sausage, sweet onion marmalade and gorgonzola.
Price Range: Pasta – $9-12; Pizza – $11-19 (large).
- Mama Bear’s Bakery & Cafe
10110 Brooks School Road/317.598.9663
The Skinny: You’ll find much more than coffee at this locally owned cafe just west of the marina. The cozy lodge feel invites you to linger as you enjoy your favorite flavored drink or try their new Italian gelato ice cream. Breakfast is served until 3 p.m., and Mama Bears is now open until 9 p.m.
House Specialties: An assortment of tantalizing pies ($13-16), including chocolate pecan, sweet potato and carmel dutch apple; Italian-style, melt-in-your-mouth Gelato ($4-6).
Price Range: Breakfast – $1-6; Sandwiches – $6-9.
Hamilton Town Center
This new open-air mall just north of Geist has opened up a plethora of possibilities for alfresco dining. Below are the restaurants currently open, but several more are on the way, including Red Robin and Houlihan’s Restaurant &Bar (Grand opening July 20). The Food Court is located near the 146th Street entrance at the intersection of Harrell Parkway and Levinson Lane.
- Mo’s Irish Pub
The Skinny: This is the first Indiana location for the Wisconsin-based pub. The patio area sits alongside a grassy knoll and is near the children’s play area if you have to wait for a table. Live music Thursday through Saturday and an all-you-can-eat brunch on Sundays.
House Specialties: Mo’s Reuben Boxty ($12.99) features slow-cooked corned beef tucked into a seasoned potato pancake; Mo’s Shepherd’s Pie ($10.99).
Price Range: Appetizers – $5-13; Sandwiches & Burgers – $6-11; Dinner – $11-20.
Website: www.MosIrishPub.com /317.770.9020
- Paradise Bakery & Cafe
The Skinny: California-based franchise offering fresh baked goods, sandwiches and breads of all sorts. Plentiful sidewalk dining to “watch the world go by” and free WiFi.
House Specialties: The Paradise Club features ham, turkey and bacon on a butter croissant with marmalade; Big Paradise cookies and muffins in assorted flavors; and fresh-ground Paradise Estate Coffees.
Website: www.paradisebakery.com /317.770.7200
- Qdoba Mexican Grill
The Skinny: Fast casual restaurant offering fresh, made-to-order Mexican food. Outdoor tables right next to the children’s play area.
House Specialties: Qdoba Signature Burritos start with cilantro lime rice and your choice of beans, topped with other fresh ingredients like shredded pork, tomatillos or grilled zucchini, along with an array of salsas and sauces.
Price Range: Almost every meal on the menu is $5-7, including breakfast items.
Website: www.qdoba.com /317.776.6231
- Noodles & Company
The Skinny: A hip, fast casual restaurant that is sure to please everyone in the family! Noodles of all types — Asian, Mediterranean and even good ol’ mac and cheese. Enjoy alfresco dining (although outdoor seating is limited) while watching the kids play in the children’s area.
House Specialties: Japanese pan noodles feature carmelized udon noodles in sweet soy sauce with Asian vegetables; Create a Trio of noodles, soup and salad for $7.25.
Price Range: Noodle dishes – $4-$7.25; Sides/Desserts – $1-5.
Website: www.noodles.com (very entertaining Flash site featuring “Noodleville”) 317.774-9950
- Goodfellas Restaurant & Bar
9641 Olio Road/317.336.6666
The Skinny: Relaxing, family-friendly atmosphere with a comfortable sitting area inside and some tables outside. Goodfella’s plans to open a larger patio area next month. “We’re going to have nice awnings, outside music and a TV outside,” says owner Abul Rahman.
House Specialties: Old World Brick Oven Pizza made with fresh mozzarella, imported Italian tomatoes and an array of standard and exotic toppings, such as fresh broccoli, meatballs and brick oven roasted peppers.
Price Range: Appetizers – $4-13; Pizza – $13-19 (large); Pastas – $8-19; Entrees – $13-26.
- Casler’s Kitchen & Bar
11501 Geist Pavilion Drive/317.596.9810
The Skinny: A place to unwind and enjoy good food and good company, this locally owned pub is dedicated to James Casler, who opened the first distillery in Fishers in the early 1800s. Poker and Team Trivia Tournaments on select nights.
House Specialties: Casler’s Grilled Cheese ($7.49) isn’t just American cheese; it’s three cheeses, topped with bacon and tomatoes and served on pumpernickel bread. Casler’s Crab Dip ($8.99) appetizer is loaded with crab meat and served with blue tortilla chips.
Price Range: Appetizers – $5-12; Sandwiches & Burgers – $8-11; Entrees – $9-24.
- The Fox Pub & Grill
11705 Fox Road/317.823.1000
The Skinny: In the heart of Geist, the Fox’s large patio dining area includes a mood-enhancing fire pit. “We’ve been working on the garden, so it’s a nice view,” says Executive Chef Suzanne Rockwell. The patio is available for large parties. Enjoy live music on Wednesdays and weekends.
House Specialties: Fox Chicken Salad ($11.95) includes grapes, walnuts and scallions; The Hoosier Burger ($12.95) is loaded, with bacon, prosciutto, three cheeses, BBQ sauce, guacamole and more!
Price Range: Appetizers – $6-12; Burgers & Sandwiches – $8-13; Steak & Seafood Entrees – $18-27.
East 96th Street
- C.R. Hero’s Family Pub
10570 E. 96th St./317.576-1070
The Skinny: A locally-owned pub with full bar for the adults and arcade room for the kids. Kids eat free Monday and Tuesday. Limited outdoor seating.
House Specialties: Italian Beef sandwich ($8.79) is served on an au jus-soaked lucchesi roll and topped with mozzarella; the Hoosier Daddy ($8.79) is a giant breaded pork tenderloin.
Price Range: Appetizers – $6-8; Sandwiches & Burgers – $7-9. Entrees – $9-17.