Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v04n20)
Tammy's Take - By Tammy Leiber
posted: Oct. 05, 2007
A couple of columns ago, I wrote about the challenges of drawing national retailers to our part of the city because of the demographics.
The flip side is that we support a thriving community of small, locally owned businesses. A few weeks ago, I stopped by 56th and Illinois to drop off my tennis racquet for restringing at Reardon Tennis Co. I went next door to grab a cup of coffee to go from Illinois Street Food Emporium, then crossed the street to Safeway to pick up a few things for dinner.
That kind of walkability is what creates vibrant urban communities and we're fortunate to have several such corners in Meridian Kessler and Butler Tarkington. They house, in my completely biased opinion, the best locally owned businesses in the city. Happily, I find it's becoming increasingly possible to get more and more of what I need and want in my own neighborhood.
One of my favorite corners is 54th and College, home to gyros, flowers, horns, pianos, jazz, good food, army tents and $2.25 pints on Thursdays. It's also home to Northside News, the best (okay, only) newsstand/café in Meridian Kessler.
I stopped by recently and, true to its name, the shop had news to share. If you happen to stop by soon, check out the Emmy award and the art by Dutch artist Wilvoet. As I told co-owner Matt Elliott, they really class up the place.
The Emmy award is on loan from Gary Harrison, who won it for producing the episode of WFYI's "Communities Building Community," hosted by former First Lady Judy O'Bannon, that features a segment on the newsstand. If you haven't seen the segment, you can find it at www.wfyi.org under Local Programs, or at www.myspace.com/northsidenews.
The art is fresh off the boat (probably plane, I'd guess) from the Netherlands. Rae Wilvoet, who lived in Indianapolis for a time, starts with postcards and sort of expands the picture. Clearly, I'm no art critic-I recommend seeing it for yourself.
But the big news at the newsstand is the new menu, which will be fully rolled out by the café's 3rd birthday on October 11. "Expanded" would be the best word, because nothing was actually taken off (Miami Herald Cuban fans, no need to fret). There are eight new sandwiches, four new coffee drinks, two new salads and a small kids menu.
The new offerings represent a combination of brand-spanking new stuff, plus some daily specials and special requests that have become permanent fixtures, Elliott said.
Personally, I'm intrigued by the Le Monde Ham, which includes orange marmalade and gorgonzola cheese. The menu itself, still in newspaper layout format, has been busted out to two pages and includes snippets of reviews on the shop.
Of course, the news stand's windows offer a birds-eye view of the Fresh Market construction, which is ramping up. The coming months are going to be tough, I'd guess, for the small businesses dealing with the general chaos on the northwest corner of that intersection. Kudos to the guys at Northside News for drumming up a buzz and reminding people that there's more than heavy construction equipment at 54th and College.
Tammy Lieber is a freelance writer who lives in Meridian Kessler, otherwise known as SoBro. A former reporter at the Indianapolis Business Journal, she now writes journalism and marketing pieces when she's not fixing up her house or enjoying the company of friends over a pint of Guinness. Her favorite spectator sport is politics, except on Sundays during football season. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org